Speech & Language

These pupils cover the whole ability range. They may have a specific language impairment which is not typical of their other abilities. Linguistic difficulties may also be associated with developmental delay or learning difficulties. Characteristics include difficulty in understanding and/or making others understand information conveyed through spoken language. They may have poor articulation. They find it hard to understand or use words in context. Words and grammatical patterns may be used incorrectly. They have difficulty in recalling words and therefore have reduced vocabulary.


  • Difficulty in verbalisation.
  • A tendency to give one-word answers.
  • Muddling or simplifying words/phrases.
  • Difficulty with recall.
  • Needs instructions repeated or modified.
  • Poor comprehension, vocabulary, reading and writing skills.
  • Competence in some practical aspects of development (e.g. sport or graphics), but less competent in other areas.
  • Disorganisation in time and possible difficulties in understanding timetables, locations etc.
  • Disorganised and untidy with possessions.
  • Difficulty in structuring work.
  • Difficulty in applying skills they have learned and processed from one situation to another e.g. difficulty in making connections.
  • Difficulty in processing information.
  • Easily distracted.

General Strategies

  • Make sure you face the child when speaking. Don't turn your face away until you've finished speaking.
  • Give instructions in small, bite-size amounts, and if necessary, one bit at a time.
  • Make sure that important places, equipment and displays are clearly marked with pictures or symbols as well as labels.
  • Try not to use very adult language - keep it at a pupil's level.
  • Slow down your rate of talking to enable the pupil to speak back more slowly.
  • Repeat directions using different words.
  • Laminate and display any common directions.
  • Use gestures.
  • Give instructions one at a time.
  • If possible, provide a visual clue.
  • Ask basic questions that have the answer in a picture or hands-on activity.
  • Allow adequate time for the pupil to process the information and provide the answer.
  • Reduce the number of questions you ask and allow the pupil plenty of time to answer.
  • Use several modalities when teaching (speaking, reading , writing , listening etc)
  • Use visual schedules where possible to provide pupils with visual explanations.
  • Stop periodically when teaching to check full understanding of lesson.
  • Encourage the child to ask for help.
  • Never be tempted to complete the pupil's sentences for him/her, or fill in what you think he/she is trying to say.
  • Never force a pupil with a stammer to read aloud in front of others.
  • Reciting rhymes and singing may help a pupil to achieve fluency - many children do not stammer when they sing.
  • Find time to do entertaining activities with the pupil that do not require a great deal of speech and will help him/her to relax. Spontaneous, easy talking may then emerge.
  • Avoid communication breakdown by providing choices, e.g. ‘Is it in the kitchen?’ or ‘Is it in the bathroom?’
  • Arrange group work so that the child with limited speech has the least to contribute. However, he will be able to hear other children model what has to be said and others can attempt to predict what he is trying to say.