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What to do if you are worried about your child’s speech, language and communication

A toddler walking in the rain wearing a waterproof coat and wellies

If you are slightly worried about your child’s communication skills and whether or not they are about right for their age, there are a number of different guides you can use to check their progress.  To see a full list, take a look at the general information about speech, language and communication page.

Remember…Whilst children usually develop language by going through the same stages, they will do so at different rates.  Therefore, it isn’t always helpful to compare your child with other children of the same age, but understanding what is typical, can then help you identify any speech and language problems early on.

If you are worried that your child isn’t understanding you or isn’t using a lot of spoken language, there are different professionals and organisations you can talk to for information and advice, which you may find useful.  You can also take a look at the information on the what you can do to support your child page.

Local support

The Health Visiting Service can help you to understand children’s speech and language development and whether your child would benefit from extra support.  You don’t have to wait for a developmental check, before you contact your Health Visitor about your child’s communication or any other area of their development.

Herefordshire’s Children’s Centres often hold informal drop-in sessions, where you can talk with a Health Visitor.

Wye Valley NHS Trust provides a Speech and Language Therapy Service in Herefordshire, to which you can refer your child, using the relevant online forms.

If your child goes to an early years setting, such as a childminder, day care nursery or pre-school, speak to their key worker about how they are progressing with their communication skills within the setting.  The key worker may recommend speaking to the setting’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) and / or your Health Visitor.

National support

The Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice, can help you find an independent / private therapist, whilst you are waiting for local NHS services.

CBeebies has a useful speech and language difficulties section, which is full of helpful information, advice and strategies to support your child.

I CAN provides a free Enquiry Service for parents and carers, where you can speak to a Speech and Language Therapist about any concerns you may have about your child’s communication development.

Top tip 5

Listen and respond to all attempts at communication from your child, whether it is words, sounds, gestures or facial expressions.  The more you respond, the more your child will try!