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Good language at age five correlates with better academic attainment, good mental health in later years, improved social interaction and relationship building and better employment outcomes.

Communication is an umbrella term for a large range of skills that allow us to interact with people and the world around us. Speech and Language Therapists work with people on all areas of communication. Some key areas include:

A child/young person may experience difficulties in one or more of these areas. These might be associated with another diagnosis such as Autism, learning difficulties, hearing impairment or be a primary difficulty. 

Language & communication under pin nearly everything we do, from our education, building/maintaining relationships, work life and our emotional well being. Difficulties have a significant impact on a person and addressing difficulties early is vital for making a difference. 

Please keep reading for further information about these areas of communication and some useful websites for further information...

Attention and Listening 

This is the skill of being able to focus on an activity, task and what is being said. Being able to engage in joint attention (attend to the same thing as someone else) and listen to others is a vital skill in being able to learn words, langugae and how to communicate with others. Difficulties with attention and listening can cause a child to miss out on learning opportunities and make it challenging for them to play with others. Speech therapy can help progress a child's attention/listening and provide adults with strategies to support this skill across the child's day.


Understanding of language, also called comprehension and receptive language, defines the ability to understand words, sentences, instructions and questions. Understanding comes before expressive language so difficulties here have an onward impact. In addition to finding it hard to follow what others are saying it can be difficult for a child to build their vocabulary, express themselves and access the curriculum. Speech therapy can help identify what the difficulties are and how to over come these.

Expressive language 

Expressive language covers all the different ways we use to give a message and communicate with those around us, including; gestures, facial expressions, pictures/symbols and spoken words. Being able to share your wants, needs, thoughts and ideas with others is vital to being able to function in day to day life and build relationships with others. Expressive language is a prerequisite skill for later literacy learning. Speech therapy can support your child to develop their ability to express themselves more fully, via whatever way is best for them.


The sounds we use to make spoken words. Children who are experiencing difficulties with their sounds may: - Miss out syllables - Miss out sounds from their words - Replace sounds with others - Use sounds and words inconsistently These diffiuclties can make a child difficult to understand when they are talking. This is often frustrating for them and can impact on their confidence with talking. Speech is a skill needed for learning to read and write, so difficulties with speech can have an impact on later literacy learning. Speech therapy can help your child impove their speech intelligibilty.


A disruption in the ability to speak fluently is what you might know as stammering or stuttering. This is when a person repeats words, parts of words or gets stuck when trying to speak. A child's experience of stammeirng can range from being mild to very severe. Around 1 in 12 children experience a stammer during their development. Most (2/3) do not go onto stammer into adulthood. This is known as a developmental stammer. Speech therapy can help identify which children are more likely to continue to stammer and provide support to reduce the impact of this.

Social communication 

Social communication refers to how we engage with others e.g., play skills, using greetings, engaging in conversations, taking turns, staying on topic, understanding jokes and many more. Some children experience challenges in this area of communication and benefit from support to help them develop their skills.


Misuse of the voice can change the way someone's voice sounds. It may become weak, croaky, husky etc. Sometimes the voice may be lost completly for periods of times. Continuous misuse of the voice can lead to the development of vocal nodules. Speech therapy can support people to identify poor vocal habits and make plans to change these.

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