Identification of SLCN
Identification of SLCN can be problematic for many reasons:
children may have other difficulties as well as SLCN, they may have
a wide and complex range of needs and there can be co-occurrence
with other labels and diagnoses as seen in the diagram:
Taken from 'Don't Get Me wrong' published
by the Communication Trust.
SLCN is often considered to be a “hidden disability”. Some
aspects of SLCN are more visible than others, particularly those
associated with speech and sound. Others are less so, for example,
the child who is experiencing difficulty in understanding or using
language may appear to be inattentive, passive or even rude.
There are children who become very skilled at hiding their
difficulties e.g. by watching other people so they know what to do
or by pretending they know when they don't. The SLC needs may be
missed altogether or masked by these other characteristics.
Social, emotional or behavioural difficulty or speech, language
and communication need?
The Department for Education PLASC (Pupil Level Annual School
Census) data suggests that as children get older there is a
declining proportion of children identified by their schools as
having SLCN as their primary need.
SLCN in Key Stage 1 becomes a literacy difficulty in
Key Stage 2 and a behaviour difficulty in Key Stage 3. What is
At the same time, the numbers of children identified as having a
behavioural difficulty as their primary need increases with age.
(DFE, 2010: Schools, Pupils and their Characteristics:
Statistical First Release)
Many children with SLCN go through life without their needs
being identified. 65% of young offenders, for example, were found
to have SLCN but in only 5% of cases had these been previously
identified. (Bryan , Freer and Furlong, 2007).
Always look 'beyond the behaviour' and consider SLCN
if there are concerns about any aspect of the child's development
© Worcestershire County
Council and Worcestershire PCT 2011.
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speech, language and communication needs.
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This page was last reviewed 17 May 2013 at 13:41.
The page is next due for review 13 November 2014.