How can I help my child with speech and language difficulties?


There are lots of different ways you can support your child with their communication difficulties. Below are some links and basic information on how to support and develop specific areas of speech and language skills.

  • Autism

Autism is a developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with others and sees the world. Children and adults who are on the autistic spectrum often have difficulties with social understanding and interaction. It is important to remember one child with autism may have completely different strengths and needs to another child with autism.

  • Language delay/disorder

Some children may have difficulty developing their language and this can be referred to as a language delay or disorder. A language delay is when a child's language follows normal developmental pattern but takes a little longer  than other children their age. A language disorder is when language development does not follow the usual pattern or stages of development.

  • Stammer

Stammering is when a person has difficulty speaking in a fluent or 'smooth' manner and varies in severity from person to person. It is estimated that roughly 1 in 20 children will go through a phase of stammering. Stammering or 'dysfluency' may often present in different ways such as repeating sounds, syllables or words. A person with a stammer may have difficulty actually producing sounds and the frequency of the stammer may vary on a day to day basis. Some people may not even know that they have a stammer.

  • Speech production

It is completely normal for children to have trouble with their speech production as it is a tricky learning process. However, some children are a bit slower at acquiring sounds and some will not follow a typical pattern. Speech production relies on a number of skills which includes listening, sound awareness, complex muscle movement etc. It is important to develop appropriate speech production as it is closely linked to literacy development and can impact on a child's confidence. A speech and language therapist will provide specific activities and advice to develop speech production.

  • Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a combination of behavioural symptoms that can lead to impulsiveness and hyperactive behaviour. This can lead to difficulties with focusing and and attending in a number of situations and environments. ADHD can be effectively supported within education settings and with relevant information and strategies. Medication can also be used if appropriate.

Further information on a wide range of speech and language difficulties can be found on the following websites:

HANEN supports parent, carers and schools in general language and literacy development.

Giving Voice Campaign promotes the importance of speech and language therapy and provides recent and heart warming stories on the impact interventions and support has had on children and families. 

  • Mumsnet also has great parental advice on their threads on a range of communication difficulties. It also a lovely place to chat and share ideas.

Speech and Language Therapists may often work with a range of different professionals. This often includes Occupational Therapists (OTs). OTs typically provides a range of interventions, support and advice to help improve a persons ability to carry out every day activities. Seirrah Occupational Therapy are a team of skilled professionals who can offer advice and information regarding all Occupational Therapy questions.