Unit title: Understand child and young person development Unit number: CYP Core 3 Question 4 4. 1 Analyse the importance of early identification of speech, language and communication delays and disorders and the potential risks of late recognition. It is essential that speech, language and communication delays and disorders are noticed early so the relevant interventions can be used to support the child or young person. Answer the questions below. 1. How can observation be used to identify speech, language and communication delays? 2.
What should you do if you have concerns about a child’s development of speech, language and communication skills? 3. What would be the risks if these delays were not identified? Use your answers to help you analyse the importance of early identification of speech, language and communication delays and disorders and the potential risks in late recognition. The early years are a time for rapid learning and development in a child’s life. Language is very important to learning since it helps the child to store information in an organized way and to express the child’s thoughts.
If a child has difficulty in communicating with others due to a speech and language delay or disorder the child will be at a disadvantage. The child will have many problems. The child may fail to understand instructions given by the adult and this may be interpreted as misbehaviour. For example the child has been instructed to put away the task and line up to go for the music lesson to another room at school. However the child has not understood what has to be done because of his inability to process the information.
Instead the child goes and has a drink of water and takes out his lunch box. Teaching in schools is usually done through verbal description and instruction. The adult presents learning situations with the use of language or speech. Failure to understand means the child will be unable to store or use information provided. For example the child has to play a board game with three other children and so has to follow specific instructions shown by the adult according to the rules of the game.
A child with language delay has limited resources for demonstrating knowledge and explaining their reasoning. For example the child wants to explain to the teacher the properties of a three dimension solid but finds it difficult to do so because of language delay. Oral language serves as a precursor to literary skills. For example the child first has to be a good communicator and then uses this skill to interact with others. Then the child uses vocabulary to understand and experience stories, songs, poems and rhymes. The child begins to enjoy reading and writing.
Language ability is central to the ability to establish friendship with other children. The child has to be able to communicate and talk to his peers and form social relationships with them. For example the children use language to imagine at role play and develop social skills. There are a number of reasons why children experience difficulties and delays in speech, language and communication development. The causes may be due to ear infection where the child is unable to hear words or hear distorted sounds, or find it confusing and tiring to focus on verbal communication.
The ear fluid may pose a problem for the child and sounds are muffled and not clear to the child’s hearing. The child may be experiencing specific difficulty in using their oral muscles effectively and this may affect speech. For example a child with cerebral palsy does not have much control over the mouth and the muscles
Problem’s during pregnancy and birth can also affect the child’s developing brain and contribute to speech and language difficulties as part of a wider developmental delay. For example a mother may experience bleeding of the placenta during pregnancy and this may affect the unborn child. The child born thus may be able to say certain sounds but not be able to speak clearly as the vocal chords may be affected or due to damage in the brain that controls language. There may be a recognised syndrome or disorder that causes language difficulty for the child and is not able to communicate with others.
The child may have a lack of stimulation and support to provide the rich language experience necessary to develop speech, language and communication skills. For example at school, the setting may not have an enabling environment to stimulate the child’s different interests necessary for acquiring language. The books, music, songs and so on may not stimulate and interest the child. For most children there is no clear reason as to why there is a delay in the development of speech, language and communication skills.
Therefore, an adult should never assume that the child’s speech, language and communication problems are due to hearing loss. It may be that the child is experiencing communicating difficulties that are unrelated to their hearing problems because the child may not have acquired the vocabulary necessary to express his thoughts and actions. It is important to observe the child carefully, closely and to listen to them in different situations to ensure that the teacher is clear about what their needs are, their strengths and difficulties.
It is important to observe the child in a range of settings and in both structured and unstructured situations. For example the child can be observed in the classroom; playground or lunch hall and the assessor can identify the child’s needs and plan the next step for the child’s development in speech, language and communication skills. Some children who begin settings with an apparent delay in their skills quickly progress as the child experiences language rich activities. Other children who are shy take a while to develop confidence to speak and express themselves because the child may be shy or reserved by nature.
The most reliable assessor will take into account the child’s views, parents’ knowledge of the child and observations from all professionals who are involved with the development of the child. Assessment should be a continuous process and over a period of time so that one can gather evidence to inform and enable appropriate and timely support and provision for the child. The assessor should never be tempted to “wait and see”. There is a “window of opportunity”: if a child’s speech, language and communication skills are similar to his peers by age 5 12years then the child is making good progress.
If it is not, then the child needs support at an early stage over a period of 2 years so that the child can progress and be at the same level as his peers so it is always better to start now when the problem has been identified. The assessor will enquire about the child’s hearing and request a test if necessary. The assessor will check physiological factors affecting development like vision, cleft palate, motor difficulties. The assessor will show particular awareness and sensitivity to, the needs of a child learning English as an additional language.
To encourage and develop the child’s speech, language and communication skills most effectively, the adult needs to position herself face to face as the adult plays and talks to the children. The adult needs to shift her gaze between the activity the child does and the child. For example when the child sees the face of the adult it allows the child to understand the facial expressions and the lip pattern help the child to understand words. The adult must make sure that the child is paying attention each time the adult talks to the child. For example at circle time the teacher must ensure that the child is facing her and not be distracted.
The child must be able to concentrate and not play with a piece of string found on the mat. The adult must keep language simple and avoid long and complicated sentences when talking and giving instructions to the child. Long winded sentences confuse and distract the child and the child may not be able to follow. At group time the adult must make sure that the child is seeing the adult’s face. This will help the child to understand emotions and facial expressions when the child is being read a story. The adult must use gestures since this will help and encourage the child to become good communicators.
Learning to listen and speak emerges out of non-verbal communication like eye contact, facial expressions and hand gestures. The adult must ensure that there is no background noise that will affect the ability of the child to hear what the adult is saying. If there is noise the child will distracted and lose interest in the lesson. The adult should have knowledge of the child’s use of a dummy at home and should discourage parents to use it because problems arise in speech and the child may not be able to speak and pronounce words clearly.
Sucking habits impede progress in speech, language and communication skills since the child interacts less socially with his peers and people around the child. The movement of the tongue is restricted and the child does not talk as much if the child did not have the dummy in the mouth. The dummy should be given to the child at bedtime or when really required and not to keep the child quiet. The adult should talk at a natural pace. If the adult speaks too fast the child will not understand what is being spoken.
If the adult speaks very slowly the child loses interest and attention gets diverted since the child has a short attention span. If a child is shouted at and given commands then the child’s speech gets hampered. Shouting, by the child is viewed as unpleasant and jarring to the ear and the lip pattern gets distorted. The child may develop a fear and become withdrawn and afraid in the adult’s presence. If an adult in the school setting is concerned about the speech, language and communication skills of a child then the adult must discuss it with the parents.
The adult can approach the parents in a sensitive manner and say the child has a problem with these particular speech sounds and not say that they cannot understand what the child says. With permission the school can seek specialist help so that the child’s needs can be supported appropriately at the right time and right age keeping all the other factors that help towards the building of good speech, language and communication skills. If the child has a delay in speech development, the child will not understand language spoken to them.
The child will develop a range of sound speech inappropriate for their age. The child will not develop use of words and sentences appropriate to their age. The child may use language inappropriately. For example saying phrases that do not make sense in context or repeating chunks of language without any meaning. The child may find it unusually difficult to follow rules or join in conversation by looking, taking turns, sharing, interest in a subject and so on. The child may show frustration and be upset and may withdraw from conversation due to non-fluency in language.
Sometimes the parents are very anxious about the child’s speech and then this reflects on the child’s behaviour and development. If an adult observes that the child is non-fluent that continues more than 6 months then the adult have to take serious action and appropriate measures should be adopted because it has been seen that with extra support, the child makes good progress. Speech, language and communication difficulties are common among children. Early identification therefore prevents difficulties later on especially in talking, listening, literacy and making friends.