The Importance of Speech, Language, and Communication

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[EYMP 5.1] Understand the importance of speech, language and communication for children’s overall development.

1.1 Explain each of the terms:

1.1a Speech
The word speech when used in relation to children and young people’s development literally means the act of speaking, verbal communication, or to express thoughts, feelings, or ideas.

1.1b Language
The term language refers to an understood, systematic arrangement of signs, symbols and gestures used to communicate.

1.1c Communication
To communicate is to ably convey thoughts, information or feelings using signals, speech, body language, or by the written word.

1.1d Speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

A child who is diagnosed with a SLCN is experiencing a communication breakdown due to a difficulty with one or more of the different elements of speech, language or communication. This may be a minor, temporary or a long-term difficulty, which requires extra assistance to support the child’s development needs.

1.2 Explain how speech, language and communication skills support each of the following areas in children’s development:

1.2a Learning
An ability to communicate effectively and understand the language being spoken allows a child to participate, understand and develop ideas and opinions.

1.2b Emotional
Children use speech, language and communication in order to express emotion freely, for their own social development and to look after themselves. Children also need to be able to convey their thoughts and feelings in a way that is socially acceptable.

1.2c Behaviour
Understanding language and communication play a major role in the ability to effectively set boundaries and limits that encourage children to behave in appropriate and acceptable ways.

1.2d Social
Children use language to talk to themselves, give themselves instruction, organise ideas, understand something puzzling, express a feeling, or understand the concept of an idea. This kind of speech is helpful for a child developing the ability to put themselves in someone else’s position and think like that of another. These kinds of thoughts and use of language allow the child to move from having a ‘self centred’ approach in life, to developing consideration for others.

1.3 Describe the potential impact of speech, language and communication difficulties on the overall development of a child, both currently and in the longer term.

The potential short and long term implications of a child who has difficulties with speech, language and communication are:

Short term
* Difficulty to make friends
* Inability to produce sound
* Slow speech
* Unsocial behaviour
* Difficulties understanding and using language
* Complications learning to read and write
* Frustration and anger
* Easily distracted and inability to concentrate

Long term
* Unfulfilled potential
* Reliance on others
* Low self-esteem and feelings of self worth
* Depression, isolation and exclusion
* Reduced life chances
* Difficulty to develop and maintain relationships
* Development of antisocial behaviour

A child that is unable to speak, understand language or communicate is easily isolated, lacks confidence, and lacks the necessary skills to develop and thrive to their full potential.

2.1 Explain the ways in which adults can effectively support and extend the speech, language and communication development of children during the early years.

We communicate in many different ways. Sometimes we use multiple types of communication to get a point across and be understood. The types of communication skills we use can be listed as:

* Writing
* Reading
* Speaking
* Listening
* Thinking
* Non-verbal communication

As an early years practitioners we need to ensure that we are providing ample opportunities for the children in our care to develop their speech, language, and communication skills to their...
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