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Speech, language and communication


The term speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) describes difficulties across one or many aspects of communication including:

  • problems with producing speech sounds accurately
  • stammering
  • voice problems, such as hoarseness and loss of voice
  • problems understanding language (making sense of what people say)
  • problems using language (words and sentences)
  • problems interacting with others. For example, difficulties understanding the non-verbal rules of good communication or using language in different ways to question, clarify or describe things

Children develop their talking and understanding of words at different rates. However, knowing what is typical can help to identify speech and language problems early.  


Sometime speech, language and communication skills are more than just delayed.  If a child continues to have severe language and communication needs following targeted intervention, a Speech therapist may diagnose Developmental Language Disorder.