What is the maximum amount of time a child in your school accesses interventions for their SLCN? This is always a stressful issue to get right! Too little and it may not be effective, but too much time in interventions means time out of the classroom.
And what happens during those hours in the classroom? Is the child equipped to manage their own communication needs during this time? Can they access class discussions and tasks? Who supports the child to apply the skills they have learned in their 1:1 time?
We know that around 10% of children in any given class have SLCN that will be long-term ( and I suspect it is more than this in many of our classrooms, based on my experience in schools). Children’s language difficulties don’t wait at the classroom door to be picked up on the way home. They impact everything about their learning:
- Attention and listening
- Ability to understand verbal instruction
- Ability to respond verbally
- Ability to process and use the written word
- Ability to understand longer verbal passages and written texts
- Ability to organise themselves and their learning
- How they feel about their learning and themselves
Effective differentiation of learning, and embedding of strategies to support learning and promote self-help for what will be long-term needs, is essential- we need interventions that happen in every place the child goes during the school day. In Speech and Language Therapy, we use an approach called 'Total Communication'. This essentially means embedding multiple ways of communicating in a child's everyday environments, and letting them find the unique blend of communication methods that suit them. Intervention requires much the same approach- a Total Intervention Environment :
- A great physical environment that supports communication
- Opportunities for good quality conversations and interactions
- Robust small group and 1:1 interventions
- Great general teaching practise in the classroom
Does that feel like a tall order? It might do, but the reality is that with a good plan, support and access to ongoing training that focusses on the core teaching strategies that make a difference to children with all types of SLCN, we can make a huge impact for these children.
Let me help you get there! Come on over to my Facebook group, to join the discussion on developing resources and training for your school that support the development of a Total Intervention Environment.