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Speech and Language in the Classroom

The Blog

Friday, 10 June 2016

Narrowing the Gap: Part 1: Ben’s Story: An Opportunity Missed, by Derry Patterson, SaLT

We are all teachers of SEN. How we can make the difference.

Ben’s Story: An Opportunity Missed

SLCN, communication, child development, language, speech and language

0-2 years

Ben is a happy friendly baby. He is never any trouble and sleeps and eats well. He is a bit late to talk but so were his father and brother.

3-5 years

Ben is lively physical boy. At nursery he sometimes gets frustrated when he doesn’t get his own way. He flits between activities and takes a while to settle. He talks to adults but it can be hard to understand him. Staff have noticed that his vocabulary is slow to develop.

6–11 years

Ben is struggling to learn to read. He has had some additional support for literacy but has made limited progress. He often gets frustrated and can be very disruptive in class. He has had a couple of day suspensions. He has a few friends but is constantly falling out with them.

11-14 years

Ben found transition to secondary school difficult. School is ‘boring’ (apart from DT with Mr Jay who is ‘cool’). He refuses to attend additional support - he’s not a ‘geek’. His teachers are frustrated by his disruption in lessons and he has a growing record of internal exclusions. He is alone at break and lunch times.

14–16 years

Ben is not scared by a ‘dare’ but the last one ended with a police interview. He said he just did it ‘cuz my mate dared me’. Ben spent some time in a PRU and is now back in his mainstream school. He’s doing well in DT. Work experience in a café was a failure because he ‘messed up customer orders’ and ‘couldn’t work as a team’. At weekends he games in his bedroom. He’s met ‘mates’ online.

Leaving School

Ben didn’t get on the car mechanic course at college. He’s doing Functional Skills and ‘it’s boring’. His ‘all-nighters’ gaming make getting up for college difficult. He’s on a warning about his attendance.


SLCN, communication, child development, language, speech and language, dissociated, narrowing the gap, SENCO,

On Friday 24th June, find out how Ben’s story can be changed...



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