Speech, Language & Communication Guidance for Parents / Carers

If you have concerns about your child’s understanding and / or talking:

  • Talk to your health visitor or local Children’s Centre about your concerns. They will be able to give you advice and talk to you about whether further support is needed.
  • If your child accesses an Early Years setting or childminder, talk to your child’s keyworker. They are experienced professionals and can work with you to support your child’s development.
  • Have a look at the ‘developmental stages’ and ‘getting started tool’.
  • You can also look at the ‘activities’ pages, for links to local groups that support speech, language and communication.

Speech, Language & Communication Guidance for Professionals

Some children pick up language easily. Others need more encouragement to notice words and realise the importance of using words to communicate with others. Children learn best from familiar people and environments, so you are best placed to support the children in your care where possible.  

Possible reasons to refer to Speech and Language Therapy include if a child: 

  • Is stammering (dysfluent) or if parent reports hearing stammering
  • Has difficulty with eating or drinking in terms of chewing and swallowing
  • Has a hoarse voice or abnormal voice quality
  • Has difficulty understanding simple words and instructions
  • Has unclear speech, including difficulties forming age appropriate speech sounds
  • Has difficulties putting words in the correct order to form sentences

I work in an Early Years setting, Childminder setting or Family and Children’s Centre

Click below to jump to the relevant guidance:

Child already has an identified SLC need

In the first instance, you should liaise with the child’s parents and the Speech and Language Therapist (SALT) if they are already involved. You should have received a report with advice and activities to support the child if they have already had an appointment. Please follow the recommendations given.

If they are not yet involved, speak with the child’s parents, your SENDCo/Manager and you may wish to speak to the child’s Health Visitor. You need parental consent before you can proceed with a referral and this is given by parents completing and signing the referral form.

You have identified a child who would benefit from further support

The Early identification of a child needing extra support must include the following:

  1. Discussion with parents
  2. Observations of the child
  3. Your knowledge of child development and language acquisition
  4. Reference to any EYFS or alternative non-statutory guides the setting is using.

It is important to consider progress or lack of progress – this may be evidenced by your knowledge of the child, and any non-statutory assessment tools that your provision may use.

Don’t forget that at all times you need to follow your settings Inclusion policy and procedures. The child’s key person would be best placed to speak with the SENDCo, and then to the parents.

You can contact the Early Years Inclusion team for professional advice and support by emailing FIS@rotherham.gov.uk.

For more information about speech and language development please visit Universally Speaking (ican.org.uk).

ASQ health development checks and 2 Year Progress Check 

ASQ assessments are carried out by health with parents at 6 months and 2 years. These assessments include assessing children’s communication and language development and are central to early identification of need. Your child may have an Integrated progress check aged 2 if they attend a Rotherham Early Years Setting, and your Health Visitor will inform you at the time of booking the appointment if a single or Integrated Progress Check will be carried out. For more information please speak to your child’s Key Worker or contact their Health Visitor.


With parental consent you could:

  1. Contact the Early Years Inclusion Team for advice and support for staff in relation to supporting a child. The team can be contacted at Earlyeducation@rotherham.gov.uk
  2. Make a referral for Speech and Language Therapy using the attached form Appendix 1.