What are Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) ?

I often find myself explaining the difference between Language ( the code we use to share our message – e.g. the words we choose and how we order them into sentences) and Speech (the medium we often use to send our message – e.g. the sounds we use).To explain this to older children I often talk about this in relation to a computer programme and a printer.  The computer programme being the language element where we encode what we want to say  (the words and the sentence order) with the printer being the speech element as it interprets the programme and creates and coordinates a series of movements (using our voice , tongue and lips)  so we can communicate our information, news, ideas and feelings with others .

Speech, Language and Communication difficulties vary from child to child and can impact each child differently in their ability to communicate their ideas and thoughts with others effectively.  It can also impact on their ability to access education, their ability to interact in social situations and also impact on their self-esteem and confidence.

AFASIC and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists have  useful factsheets which explains SLCN, the impact of having SLCN and the prevalence of SLCN in children in more detail.