17th February 2018



“With 1 in 10 children under 5 years of age experiencing some degree of difficulty in learning language and communication skills, early identification is crucial.”

“All schools should have a clear approach to identifying and responding to SEN. The benefits of early identification are widely recognised – identifying need at the earliest point then making effective provision improves long-term outcomes for the child and young person.” Taken from SEND Code of Practice 2014


The Code of Practice highlights the importance of EARLY INDENTIFICATION and makes clear schools’ responsibility to have clear policies and strategies in place for identifying and responding to SEN.

Here’s what WMSLT Service have been doing to support this……..
At The Oaks Primary School we have been focusing on early intervention, using The Commenting Approach – a child-led intervention to support language development.
The Commenting approach uses modelling techniques, repetition and expansion of a child’s own language to scaffold vocabulary and sentence structure during play-based activities.

The nursery team have used the WellComm screening assessment to identify children, measure progress and set specific language targets. Children were identified and grouped according to their language level. Language based activities were taken from the WellComm ‘Big Book of Ideas’ and included in weekly planning, with target vocabulary provided so all staff knew what to work on during commenting activities.

West Midlands Speech and Language Therapy Services have been able to provide training and support for staff, directly within the nursery setting, to enable them to implement these approaches. The Oaks have seen fantastic progress in their nursery pupils since adopting this approach, xx months progress in xx months.

Parent workshop sessions have also been provided, facilitated by WMSLT, to empower and support parents to develop their children’s language at home. These have been informal sessions, providing parents with information about speech, language and communication development and also hands on, play-based sessions, where nursery staff and the Speech and Language Therapist demonstrate the commenting approach. The workshops last for about 1 – 1.5 hours and have been well attended by parents. Due to the success of these approaches in nursery, The Oaks have now started to use this model of working within Reception.

If you would like more speech and language support for children in your Early Years setting e-mail office@wmspeechtherapy.co.uk and we would be happy to discuss how we can support you.

What is The Wellcomm Screening assessment?

WellComm: A Speech and Language Toolkit for Screening and Intervention in the Early Years: Plays a crucial role in identifying children with potential language difficulties and offers a range of customised intervention activities to help support their language development.

Easy to administer and score, the screening tool uses a unique traffic light system to help practitioners understand the child’s current level of speech and language and to provide a pathway for action, ensuring every child gets the support they need.

  • Consider referral to a specialist service for further advice/assessment
  • Extra support and intervention requiredspan>
  • No intervention currently requiredspan>

Over 150 photocopiable intervention activities are available, all designed to be fun, friendly and engaging to help improve language skills, whatever the age or ability of the child. These, as well as the Supporting Language at Home CD can also be shared with parents to increase parental engagement.

Why use WellComm?

  • Identify children in need of referral or support
  • Provide tailored intervention strategies for all children
  • Assess children’s communication skills on entry to nursery and school
  • Measure progress throughout

For more information on the Wellcomm assessment please go to https://www.gl-assessment.co.uk/products/wellcomm/ for more information


Research shows that children’s language and communication development can significantly improve when they have access to adults who provide them with high quality language rich interactions.
During the autumn term, WMSLT delivered a programme of Adult Child Interaction Therapy (ACIT) to an education setting in Sandwell. The objective was to improve the interaction style of key adults working with children with SEN.

ACIT in a nutshell, is an evidenced based intervention that focuses on the adults as the agent for change. We record videos of the adult playing or talking with a child then together watch it back. Through video analysis and reflection the adult is supported to identify positive communication strategies and to identify any areas of improvement.

Feedback and outcomes have been positive. Staff reported an increase in self-confidence, a reduction in the amount of direct closed questions they were asking, an increase in commenting and labelling and most importantly everybody was having more fun and learning language.

Observations of the child showed that he was now making attempts to interact more, making requests for his wants and needs. He developed choice making, improved his attention and listening skills and began copying spoken words and Makaton signs.
At home parents also reported seeing significant improvements at home particularly with turn taking and his attempts at talking.
Overall a successful project!!

SLCF – ‘Evidencing Good Practice’
What is the SLCF?

The Communication Trust’s Speech, Language and Communication Framework (SLCF) is a free online professional development tool which sets out the skills and knowledge needed to support children and young people’s speech, language and communication.

This year The Communication Trust has created a new section: ‘Evidencing Good Practice,’ which showcases a series of case studies from SLCF users demonstrating how using it can lead to positive changes in practice. The case studies are intended to inspire readers to consider how they could use the SLCF to make positive changes to their own practice.

Visit www.slcframework.org.uk and read about how the WMSLT service at a Nursery in Wednesbury used the SLCF to empower the workforce and provide bespoke training for staff in their setting.
Register for the SLCF for free today at www.slcframework.org.uk.

Our New Parent Service

WMSLT are now accepting referrals from parents. Over the past few months we have seen an increase in the number of enquires we receive direct from families. In response we have decided to offer families a clinic service that they can bring their child along to. We are happy to be working with the staff at the Deanery Children Centre in Walmley Sutton Coldfield.

If you know of any families who may benefit or would be interested in our parent service then they can contact us on parents@wmspeechtherapy.co.uk or 0121 6473566 07808527878.

© West Midlands Speech & Language Therapy 2018

Website By: BeMoreROAR