If you are worried about your child’s speech and language, you should raise this with your health visitor or your early years setting. They may then complete an assessment called WellComm and/or offer support to your child through the I CAN Early Talk programme.
WellComm is a speech and language toolkit for assessing children in the early years, from 6 months old. It plays a crucial role in identifying children with potential language difficulties. It offers a range of customised intervention activities to help support language development, known as the Big Book of Ideas. The activities are all designed to be fun, friendly and engaging to help improve language skills, whatever the age or ability of the child.
The toolkit uses a traffic light system that clearly identifies children requiring immediate intervention, as well as those who show potential language difficulties. If your child is assessed as red, this is likely to result in a referral being made to the speech and language team, as well as intervention activities. For amber, intervention activities will be suggested in the first instance.
In Trafford, Health Visitors and Community Nursery Nurses have been trained in WellComm and it is currently being rolled out to Children’s Centre Workers and early years practitioners in schools and settings.
Early Talk is a training and accreditation programme aimed at the early years workforce in partnership with parents to support the communication needs of children from birth to age 5. Over 200 practitioners have been trained in this programme and 2 early years settings have gone ahead and achieved accreditation.
If there are significant concerns or your child is not making progress following these interventions your health visitor, community nursery nurse or early years practitioner will make a referral to the speech and language therapy service. Parents can also self-refer to this service.