Communication skills are vital for learning, play, friendships, and well-being. Children will develop at different rates, but there are typical stages of communication development from birth – age 14+ across a number of key areas.
These key areas are represented in the pyramid below with the skills at the bottom acting as the foundations for the skills at the top. When working on communication skills, we therefore need to ensure the areas at the bottom are solid before focusing on the ones further up. Conversation and interaction skills are important at every level in the pyramid.
The Communication Carousel discusses children’s communication development in each of these areas by age or stage of development. It also includes activities and resources linked to each area and stage of development. Start off focusing on the foundation skills further down the pyramid and working up to the higher-levels.
If you would like to check the progress of a child’s communication skills, you can use the Progress Checker on the Talking Point website. Once you have done this, you can come back to our website and look at activities for the suggested areas using our Communication Carousel.
Parents of young children may find the following tips from ICan helpful:
The Speech and Language Therapy Service in Buckinghamshire
The Children’s Speech and Language Therapy Service works with children and young people from birth to 25 years old. We work in partnership with families and staff at schools and Early Years settings. We can provide training, liaison and advice to families and staff working directly with the child or young person.
If you have attempted some of the activities on our Communication Carousel, and have concerns about your child’s communication development, speak to your child’s school or Early Years setting about your concerns in the first instance. They will be able to access support from a Speech and Language Therapist at their termly Link Meeting, who may be able to provide initial advice.
Screening clinic sessions are available for pre-school children, and for children of all ages with suspected speech sound difficulties. At these sessions, a Speech and Language Therapist will offer a 15-20 minute appointment to discuss concerns, assess your child and offer advice.
We have an open referral system. Anyone can refer a child to our service if they have concerns about a child or young person’s communication and/or eating/drinking. Parental consent is obligatory. Please click on the link below to access the SLT referral form. Please note that for all school aged children, a SLT Settings Questionnaire must also be completed and returned to our service before your child can be seen.
You may also be interested in information about some of the following areas that Speech and Language Therapists are commonly involved with. Click on the boxes below to find out more:
Information and advice for parents of bilingual children is available in our handout ‘Your Bilingual Child‘.
DLD stands for Developmental Language Disorder.
For more information about DLD go to: www.naplic.org.uk/dld
Complex Communication Needs
We may see a variety of children and young people who may have complex communication needs due to conditions such as cerebral palsy, genetic conditions, severe epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, ABI (acquired brain injury) (e.g. head injuries) including RTAs and degenerative neurological conditions.
Eating, drinking and swallowing
Speech and Language therapists work with children and young people who have difficulties with eating, drinking or swallowing (which are referred to as dysphagia). The signs of eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties may include:
- Difficulty with oro-motor movements of eating, such as biting, sucking and chewing
- Frequent chest infections
- Coughing and choking whilst eating or drinking
- Failure to thrive
If you are concerned about any of the above signs, please contact your GP or Consultant to discuss making a referral, as we are only able to accept referrals from medical professionals for this area of input
We assess and support children and young people in their homes, Early Years settings, schools and Further Education (FE) colleges to maximise opportunities to develop effective communication within the context of their hearing difficulties. We use a range of communication approaches including spoken language, Sign Supported English, and/or BSL as appropriate.
Social Communication Difficulties and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
Stammering (also known as 'Dysfluency')
Voice refers to the way we produce sounds for talking using our lungs and vocal cords (or vocal folds). We can provide advice to help children and young people look after their voices. Disorders of the voice involve problems with volume and quality.