ADMISSION OF CHILDREN TO SPEECH AND LANGUAGE
HSS Trust Senior Clinical Medical
HSS Trust Speech and Language Therapy
SPEECH AND LANGUAGE UNITSREFERRAL
Children with severe speech and language problems
whose intellectual ability is within the average range (as measured
by a non-verbal intelligence scale) are likely to need more support
than is ordinarily available to children in mainstream schools.
They may require a structured language learning environment with
highly specialized teaching and speech and language therapy support
until such time as they become confident and competent in their
understanding and use of language.
A diagnosis of developmental speech and language
disorder refers to those children who are not acquiring language
skills in accordance with an age-appropriate development pattern.
This will include children with difficulties in comprehension
and production of language at all levels.
In framing these criteria, it is recognised
that substantial numbers of young children will have difficulty
with the development of speech and language skills which are of
concern to their parents and, possibly, to nursery school teachers,
speech and language therapists, class teachers etc. Because of
the limited number of places available, it is suggested that Speech
and Language Unit provision should be targeted at children who
have a language disorder or a language delay of such severity
that it is clearly predicted that it will prevent him/her having
full and meaningful access to the NI Curriculum and to the social
and cultural life of a mainstream school.
We would propose that consideration of children
for placement in a Speech and Language Unit should take place
in two stages.
(a) The child's measured non-verbal IQ must
be 85 or above.
(b) There must be a statistically significant
discrepancy (P= 0.05) between the verbal IQ and the Performance
If the child satisfies the criteria at Stage
1, Stage 2 criteria should be applied.
(a) The child will not be considered his/her
standard score on a Language test* is above -1 Standard Deviation
for his/her age group. Alternatively, a child will not be considered
if his/her score on a suitable language test* is less than one
year below his/her chronological age.
* Scores obtained in the course of an assessment
by an educational psychologist or a speech and language therapist
will be acceptable providing that they were obtained within a
period of three months prior to the statutory assessment.
(b) The child will be considered if it is
predicted that his/her speech and language difficulties will prevent
meaningful communication with teachers to such a degree that he/she
will not be able to understand, or to demonstrate understanding
of key educational concepts, word recognition, comprehension of
(c) The child will be considered if it is
predicted that his/her speech and language difficulties will impair
his/her ability to:
communicate socially with adults
and peers; and/or
participate meaningfully in,
or example, talking and listening activities; and/or
participate fully and meaningfully
in the wider aspects of class and school life.
It is suggested that, to be referred for placement
in a Speech and Language Unit, a child must meet all criteria
at Stage 1 and two of the three criteria at Stage 2.
Placement in a Speech and Language Unit is not
generally appropriate when a child's difficulties are primarily
primary sensori-neural hearing impairment;
severe physical disability;
lack of familiarity with English
as a first language.
28 May 1998