What is SLCN?

The term ‘speech, language and communication needs’ (SLCN) is often used in relation to children and young people who have difficulty with some aspects of communication. This difficulty may be minor and temporary, or more complex and long term. The term ‘needs’ refers both to the child’s or young person’s needs and to what society can do to support them, by looking at the child and the environments in which they play, learn, communicate and live.


Speech, language and communication disorders

A speech, language or communication disorder arises when a child does not follow the typical pattern of development. All areas may be affected, or there can be one area of language which has been more severely affected than the others. Children and young people with these disorders need specialist help to support their speech, language and communication development.

Delayed speech, language and communication

A child or young person with delays in either speech or language, and has difficulties with communication does not follow the typical pattern for developing speech and language. Difficulties may arise in one or more areas of speech, language or communication. A child or young person continues to learn skills but at a slower rate.