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Speech and Language

At Courthill we offer a variety of therapy groups or work 1:1 with children, depending on their needs. We work with the teaching team to promote functional communication and ensure that children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) can learn what is being taught, can remember the information given and can express themselves clearly.


We work with children that need additional support in developing their;

• Comprehension skills (understanding of language)

• Expressive skills (using language to express themselves)

• Speech (sounds and articulation)

• Communication (Verbal and non-verbal exchanges)


Speech, Language and communication needs are supported by our SALT Leads, Mrs Katie Larman and Mrs Natalie Stride who have dedicated time to work with pupils with speech, language and communication needs.  These staff members are trained to both assess and identify SLCN and work closely with speech and language therapists, and other professionals, to find the best approach and type of therapy for the individual need. Being qualified in a variety of communication aids we are able to improve the communication of our pupils, and offer other means of communication when verbal skills are limited. E.g. PECs, signalong, PECID.


Our aim here at Courthill is to support children with speech, language and communication needs and give them the skills needed to understand, discover and enjoy the benefits of communicating well with others.


Here are some rough guidelines to help you understand what you can expect form your child’s developing speech and language skills.


Most children aged 4 can…


• Pay attention to short stories and answer simple questions about them.


• Carry out 3 level commands e.g. ‘put the lid on the pen’


• Understand 1500 – 2500 words


• Use 12 syllable/9 word sentences


• Repeat/remember 4 numbers or colours heard.


• Understand conditions ‘if’ and ‘when’


Most children aged 5 can…


• Understand tiem wors/concepts e.g. before, after, first last


• Understand and use pronouns correctly.


• Have 2300 – 13000 words in their vocabulary.


• Use 14 syllable sentences.


• Remember and repeat 5 numbers or colours heard.


Most children aged 6 can…


• Have 20000+ words in their vocabulary.


• Use 16 syllable sentences.


Most children can produce all their speech sounds by age 6, but for ‘r’ and ‘th’ which tend to take longer to develop. If your child has trouble with any of their speech sounds please inform us.


Here are some activities you can do to encourage your child’s speech, language and communication development:


• Be a good speech model – if your child has trouble with their speech (which is common in the early years, especially with longer words) model the correct speech formation. E.g Child ‘I like the lellow elphant’ Adult ‘ I like the yellow elephant too’. This way the child will begin to hear the correct speech sounds and/or syllable to use with out being pressured to use them.


• If your child has pronunciation problems – you can strengthen their oral motor muscles with fun activities like bubble blowing, wind instruments, blow pens, drinking straws etc. Activities are available via Mrs Larman.


• Include time words in your activities – It’s a great way to model their proper use of meaning. E.g. ‘we need to whisk the eggs before we add the flour’. ‘Cinderella ran home after she’d lost her slipper.


• Improve your child’s auditory memory – give them verbal shopping lists to remember. Play memory games in the car. Give instructions to follow. These activities stretch your child’s auditory memory, understanding and listening skills.


• Help develop their vocabulary – make listing items in a category in to a game, e.g. name five farm animals. You could link the theme to their current topic. A fun travel game is ‘I’m thinking of …’ which involves a series of clues as to what some one is thinking of. E.g. ‘its an animal…it has 3 syllables/claps…it begins with a k…it bounces…it is from Australia…’ ‘A kangaroo’. By the end of the round your child will have learnt several facts and words to link with a kangaroo.


• Be a good grammar model – If your child’s grammar skills aren’t always consistent, model the correct grammar and sentence structure. This way the child will begin to hear the correct grammar without being pressured to use it.


If you have any questions or concerns about your child/children please contact Mrs Larman or Mrs Stride via the school office.