Research indicates that the impact of having difficulties with talking and understanding others can change over time and varies according to a number of factors. These factors include the following:
The type and severity of a child’s needs:
Children and young people who have difficulty understanding what others say and children with severe difficulties with talking and understanding that do not resolve, are at a particularly higher risk of experiencing challenges with literacy, educational attainment, self esteem, social relationships, behaviour and developing independence.
When those needs were identified:
Overall, children who experience early difficulties with talking and understanding that resolve by the age of five, appear to do better than children with persisting needs. The Bercow Review (2008) emphasised the importance of early identification and prompt intervention. Children, whose needs resolve or are less severe, are more likely to form better quality friendships, sit more exams and gain better results, find employment and develop greater independence.
The support a child receives:
Early and effective support and intervention is crucial to maximising a child’s chances to develop listening, understanding and confident talking. Effective support also includes helping key adults to learn strategies that may reduce the impact of a child’s needs in everyday situations. Although early intervention is preferable, it is never to late to make a difference with the right help.
Speech and language therapists are key professionals in the team that may support a child and family. A Speech and language therapist can assess, treat and support listening, understanding, talking and interacting to help an individual of any age to communicate better. Find out more about what speech and language therapists do.
A child’s confidence:
Research shows that developing positive friendships are possible for most children. However, finding it difficult to talk and to understand what others say may chip away at a child’s feelings of self-esteem, cause anxiety and lead to avoidance of social interactions and feelings of frustration and anger. Effective support needs to include supporting your child’s confidence in social situations and supporting your child to make and sustain social relationships.
The demands in a child’s environment:
An individual’s need for support may change as the demands in their environment change and/or increase. The transition between primary and secondary school is a particularly crucial time for an individual’s needs to be thoroughly assessed and evaluated.
Young people with SLCN talking about their lives: