How do early years practitioners identify children with speech language and communication needs and what is the subsequent action taken?
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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According to Law, Garrett and Nye (2010), a speech and language delay / disorder is thought to be the most common developmental difficulty of early childhood. Early identification of such difficulties is becoming of vital importance and an increasing amount of responsibility has fallen on to the early years practitioner to successfully carry out this task. This paper reports the findings of a questionnaire study that was carried out in the Cardiff and surrounding areas. It reports that the majority of early years practitioners had received a form of Speech and Language training, however the type and amount of training received was found to be inconsistent. This was reflected in the large variability of responses amongst the participants. Nevertheless, participants were found most likely to identify and initiate referral of children with Speech Language and Communication Needs when they had received a certain level of training. No relationships were found in terms of amount of years qualified. Referring to Speech and Language Therapy services was found to be a complex procedure where professional barriers existed and parental permission was required. Good SLT provision in nursery settings was considered to involve direct contact with a Speech and Language Therapist and participants called for the development of structured pathways and more access to outside agencies.
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