Two specialist, evidence-based approaches for supporting children with diagnosed speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) that early years practitioners have found the principles and philosophies of helpful during the Sound Communities project include:

  • For children with delayed language development, The Hanen Centre’s “It Takes Two to Talk” programme advises adults to “OWL” (“observe, wait, listen”) to let children lead the interaction.
  • Intensive Interaction is often used with children who are at early stages of communication, such as those who are non-verbal, and/or have severe and complex special educational needs. It involves joining the child’s play by following their lead, imitating/mirroring their actions and sounds, and waiting/pausing often.

See The Communication Trust’s “What Works” website for a review of the above approaches and the evidence behind them. You can find the “What Works” website, as well as the websites for the above two approaches, linked in the References and Further Reading page.

It is important to seek advice from a qualified speech and language therapist if you have concerns about children who are not reaching expected speech and language milestones. You can find information on typical speech and language development in I CAN’s Talking Point website, linked in the references and further reading section.