Soundswell Speech and Language Therapy: Language Link as part of a whole-school approach for SLCN support
Approximate reading time: 2 mins.
At Timberley Academy we have been using Language Link as part of our whole-school approach to supporting pupils with SLCN for several years.
In KS1 all reception pupils are screened and intervention packages set up: rescreens take place at 6 monthly intervals.
In KS2 screening takes place for SEN pupils, children who are new to the school and those where staff have concerns.
Kyle joined year 3 in the third week of September 2014, with no accompanying information from his previous school, he was clearly distressed by the suddenness of his arrival.
Observations indicated that he didn’t always understand instructions and struggled to use grammatically correct sentences in speech and writing. Screening took place in early October resulting in a standard score of 72, (percentile 3). This indicated a moderate to severe delay in understanding spoken language.
The support plan highlighted the following areas:
- Verb tenses
- Verb tenses
Support for Kyle had a three tier approach:-
1. Weekly 1:1 with the school Speech and Language Therapist (verb tenses focus) allowing the SLT to monitor Kyle’s response to intervention whilst simultaneously targeting one of the problem areas.
2. Using the ‘groups’ facility on Language Link: twice weekly small group work delivered by SLT TA Karen (concept development focus). The materials provided were supplemented with ideas and materials to capture the particular interests of the children involved.
3. On-going class-based support from Y3 staff.
All Timberley staff receive training in universal strategies to support SLCN in the classroom. Language Link screening allowed staff to tailor the support to meet Kyle’s specific needs. However, following whole cohort screening, it became apparent that concept development posed a problem for a number of children. Staff were able to deploy a range of strategies which supported every pupil.
Following rescreen in the Spring Term, Kyle's standard score had increased to 84 (percentile 15) indicating a moderate difficulty in understanding spoken language. Class-work was judged to be only just below age-related expectations, with a significant increase in confidence to communicate with both peers and teaching staff.
At rescreen, Kyle’s problem areas were:
· Complex sentences
The Speech and Language Team reduced the support that Kyle received. Typically, Timberley pupils scoring in the ‘blue’ range do not receive specialist intervention from the therapist, but do receive small group or individual support from the SLT TAs. Kyle continued to be involved in small group work to support those areas still causing him difficulties.
Kyle flourished in the small group setting. When screened again at the beginning of year 4 his standard score was 105, (percentile 62), i.e. within the normal limits for his age.
Language Link played a crucial role in supporting the school to meet Kyle’s needs in a targeted way, until he no longer needed anything over and above the support all pupils at Timberley get through the in class strategies used every day.