Communication Pathway

A communication pathway is a way we can make sure that everybody in Halton understands the importance of communication. Our pathway aims to inform everyone  involved about how we can support a young person’s speech, language and communication. This will ensure that; 

  • All children have the best chance to grow up talking so that they can access learning, develop social skills, experience emotional wellbeing and participate in their community
  • Children’s communication needs can be identified as early as possible
  • Children can get the support they need at the right time from the right people
  • Information, training and resources about children’s communication is available to everyone in one place 

Children don’t learn to communicate all by themselves, they need all of the adults in their environment to help and support this crucial process. Communication is everybody’s business.  

Why do we need a pathway?

Developing speech, language and communication skills is vital for all areas of life. Speech, language and communication skills at an early age can predict later school achievements and life chances. Communication is an essential foundation life skill that supports many other areas of development such as; behaviour, emotional wellbeing and lifelong learning.

We know that the first 1001 days of a child’s life are critical for language development. Children are born with billions of neurons that are waiting to be connected; the experiences that they have in the first months of life shape how those neurons connect and strengthen. The more experiences and interaction children have, the more brain connections they make. For example, singing and reading with children in these early months can help to boost brain development, increase vocabulary, and promote future academic success.

Up to 50% of children in Halton are at risk of starting school with a Speech, Language or Communication Need (SLCN). Some of these needs (about 10%) are due to an underlying speech and language difficulty that make it hard to learn to talk. These children may need support from specialist speech and language services. However, many of these early communication needs can actually be preventable with access to high quality ‘talking environments’ and adults using simple talking strategies in every day routines in the earliest years. 

Anyone in Halton can use this pathway to find out more about;

What is speech, language and communication? 

Speech is:

  • Being able to say words so that others understand what you mean
  • Speaking clearly by being able to make different sounds 

Language is:

  • Understanding what words mean
  • Understanding and answering questions
  • Understanding words in social contexts by taking in to consideration the listener’s perspective
  • Using a variety of words e.g. vocabulary development
  • Putting words together in sentences, stories and conversations

Communication is:

  • Sending and receiving ‘messages’ to another person
  • Communicating for a variety of purposes e.g. to request, to direct, to comment on something.
  • Understanding and using non-verbal communication e.g. facial expression, gestures, tone of voice, posture and eye contact.

Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) refers to a difficulty with any of the above. These difficulties can occur on their own, or be part of another condition such as learning difficulties, autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  Some difficulties can resolve when a child is given an appropriate ‘language diet’ within their environment. Others will need a little extra support from you, while others may need longer-term support from specialist services.