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General information about speech, language and communication

A photo of a mother kissing her baby

One of the most important tools children can possess, is the ability to effectively communicate. 

Communication skills begin to develop at birth and depend on frequent and appropriate interaction between babies and those looking after them.  This helps to build a bond or attachment and means babies can get what they need, which at first is mostly food and comfort.

As babies grow, they also need interaction to help them express their emotions, build social relationships with other people and to stimulate learning.

Local information and support

Wye Valley NHS Trust offers a range of useful leaflets, covering advice on talking to your baby at different stages from pregnancy to three years old, the use of screens and television, using dummies and what to do if you’re having difficulty understanding your child's speech.  You can download the leaflets from the Talk Community Directory's your child’s communication page.

National information and support

Foundation Years provides an online version of Action for Children’s what to expect, when? guide, which covers your child’s learning and development from birth to five years old.  It highlights what you might notice your child doing at each stage and provides tips on how you can help.

I CAN is a national charity, which supports children to communicate.  They offer a free Enquiry Service for parents and carers, where you can speak to a Speech and Language Therapist, if you’re concerned about your child’s communication development.  You can access the service by booking an appointment online or by e-mailing or calling 0207 843 2544.

Talking Point is run by I CAN and provides the information and advice parents need to help support their child’s speech, language and communication skills.  They also offer a progress checker and a range of questions to ask your child’s school.

Words for Life is a fantastic website from the National Literacy Trust, which is packed with information, tips and videos to help parents chat, play and read with their young child every day.  It covers newborns to five year olds.

Top tip 1

Be there and be present!  Play and talk with your baby or child, with no other distractions, so turn off the TV and put your phone out of reach.

Just a few minutes each day, can really help to make a difference!