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Language Delay


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I wonder if you can help.

A little girl who is going to be starting with me soon has very little spoken words. She manages to communicate her needs through gestures very well and her immediate needs are met by parents.


She is two and says na na and Da - the first for no and the second for Dad.

Parents are not worried at the moment. I will work on little activities with her when she comes and show mum how she is doing - improvement wise - but what happens next if there is no improvement. Once I have documented evidence in the learning journey how do I present it to her so that she can take the next steps.


I have not dealt with anything like this before- ( I am a childminder) and would appreciate some knowledge beforehand with regards to the SEN code of practice and the steps to follow to get her some extra help if needed.


Thanks very much


happy 4

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Hopefully you will be able to identify some speech and language drop in sessions locally to you, the ones near us are excellent. They will send you away (or mum, if she'll take her) with useful exercises and ideas to push on with. We've found (we're a day nursery) that the follow up work is very useful and once we feel we have made progress we ask the parents to go to another drop in and we get some more 'homework' to do!!


pw xxx

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we have a little boy with us who has very limited words - we had our early years support teacher in and she said that we just need to talk to him constantly - a commentary on what we are doing etc - also to give him choices that he needs to answer eg milk or water . x

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We have several children with speech issues and despite our best efforts can't get the agreement of the parents to refer to speech and language therapy. So, The SALT came to us at our staff meeting and gave us great training just last week. Here are some key points which you might find helpful!





 Know the norms……. Be realistic


 Tune in to what is said rather than how


 Repeat back the words correctly (modelling)


 Don’t ask the child to repeat or correct


 Don’t pretend to understand …… exploit things…..


 Build self-esteem


 ‘Special’ time, for listening and talking ….. and everyday situations




By 2½ years not understood by main carer? Refer

By 3½ years only understood by main carer? Refer


Oops, the first bit didn't work too well so I'll attach it as a word doc.

Edited by Guest
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LJW That's a brilliant set of notes - thanks for sharing.



We sometimes find that picture cards are a useful way of ensuring two way conversation like the ones in a visual timetable and depending on where you are you might be able to access Makaton or Sign Along training. If the little girl is already "in the system" as far as speech therapy or early intervention is concerned it's worth checking out if she is already using some signing system alongside spoken english.

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Wow amazing notes! Thanks for those, will be sharing them with my team and thinking through some of those children I've had nagging doubts about.

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Here are the whole of my notes!


I'd love to look at these notes LJW, are they in a newer version of word though as I can't seem to open them with my very old version?

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I'm a childminder too and I've had a challenging few years with assessing a child for SL needs. I picked up additional needs very early on and it took nearly 9mths to convince the parents to acknowledge this and get the help she needed and I could do very little without their consent. It was another challenge to get the relevant professionals to take my concerns on board but I battled on believing that I was doing the best for the child, I managed to get her a statement shortly after she started school and she now has the 1:1 support she needs and is making great progress.

A word of caution though - I've cared for other children who spoke very little at 2, I had concerns but they all had sudden bursts of language between 2 and a half and three, you don't want to worry parents unneccesarily.

I think it's really important to look at the whole picture of the child - their social interaction, imaginative play, understanding of instructions - with the first child there were significant delays in all these areas but the other children it was just the language that was delayed

best of luck

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