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What is SLCN?

Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN)

The term SLCN stands for Speech, Language and Communication Needs. It is estimated that around 10% of children experience some form of SLCN. Children with SLCN have difficulties in one or more of the following areas:

  • Speech sound delays/disorders (pronunciation)
  • Comprehension difficulties (understanding of language)
  • Expressive difficulties (spoken language)
  • Social interaction skills
  • Attention and listening
  • Stammering
  • Selective Mutism

Children with diagnosed conditions such as Down’s SyndromeCerebral PalsyHearing ImpairmentLearning Difficulties, and Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) account for around 3% of children with SLCN. SLCN in children without a diagnosed condition is often under-identified – one of the roles of a Speech and Language Therapist is to support schools and families to identify if a child may have a  communication need.

Take a look at our quick questions below:


Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for answers to some common questions

Useful Links

If you are concerned about your child’s communication skills, you can check their progress using this tool:

National Autistic Society: