My drive to work with this complex group of people started from meeting a girl on my Uni course who has Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN);
SLCN can look differently person to person. Some may have poor attention, others may have poor social skills or some may have difficulties understanding language; there is rarely just one area of difficulty, which is why having SLCN can make daily life difficult.
To be able to communicate well, you need to develop proficient skills in a number of areas. Each step of the Pyramid is needed for communication, the stronger and more solid your “foundation” steps are, the more you are ready to take on the next steps; it will be harder to develop your talking skills, if you have poor attention and listening skills.
90% of children with severe SLCN will continue to have life long communication difficulties; this can mean difficulties with making and maintaining friendships, sitting and doing well in exams, finding employment and developing independence.
Back to my friend; most people know how frustrating and time-consuming Uni is – imagine having SLCN and navigating the world of Uni: freshers, halls, meeting new people and making your way around a foreign place. The amount of skills you need – paying attention and listening to hundreds of people around you, understanding what all those words mean, using the “right” words and saying it all in the “right way” to fit in with your new family in the halls, keeping on top of your schedule and so on; this is many times harder for someone with SLCN. It is with support from her family, Speech and Language Therapists, learning support officers and preparation from the University which helped her to succeed and get a 2:1 degree.
SLCN can be a life long difficulty and AFASIC supports them at every life stage. AFASIC produces free and low cost resources for families trying to navigate the complex system, provides free to call helplines for struggling families and signpost them to services the families may not know about, and campaigns hard for changes to legislation to protect the rights of children with SLCN, to receive the help they need.
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