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Case Studies

The primary and secondary case studies in the key documents below are examples of children and young people who experience difficulties within the 4 key areas of speech, language and communication needs and the possible impact upon learning.

These examples and format may support teachers in understanding and identifying individual children and young people's needs and the difficulties that they may face in accessing the curriculum.

Further examples may be found in the Inclusion Development Programme: SLCN (2011)

Useful links

www.gov.uk

Name: Megan      Age: 8 years     Setting: Mainstream Primary School Y3

Strengths:
 Good at drawing
 Enjoys physical activity but not rules of games
 She enjoys TV and playing on the computer
 Her speech is clear even to the unfamiliar listener
 Follows visual prompts from peers
 Can decode written words

 Areas of Need
 Does not follow spoken instructions
 Difficulty sequencing stories and numbers
 Easily confused
 Is aware of difficulty
 Poor attention and listening skills
 Reading comprehension is weak

Impact on Learning:
 Limited experience of active involvement in groups
 Unable to keep up with classroom tasks
 Limited ability to understand narrative - both orally and written
 All areas of the curriculum affected


Impact on social development:
 Slow to join in conversations and take part in class discussion

Emotional behaviour
 Low self-esteem and lack of confidence

Organisational
 Needs additional prompts - visual and practical demonstration

Classroom Strategies
 Provide visual support - visual time tables, task plans, pictures etc.
 Always get attention before giving instructions
 Pre-tutor and review key vocabulary - New word targets should be identified which are linked to ongoing classroom topics and activities
 Teachers monitoring their own level of language with regard to length, speed and complexity. 
 Break down instructions into short chunks of information.  It is often helpful to use the cues first, next and last - with gestures if possible.
 Praise good listening behaviours
 Encourage active listening skills

Name: Luke         Age: 7 years        Setting; Mainstream Primary School Y2

Strengths:
 Good at drawing
 Good at physical activity but not with the rules of games
 He enjoys TV and playing on the computer
 His speech is now clear even to the unfamiliar listener
 Follows visual prompts from peers
 Can decode individual written words
 Is able follow spoken instructions

 Areas of Need
 Difficulty sequencing stories and numbers
 Struggles to formulate complete oral sentences
 Unable to use grammar appropriately e.g., verb tenses
 Is very frustrated and sometimes physically lashes out
 Is aware of difficulty
 Struggles to recall specific words
 Unable to write sentences to teacher direction

Impact on Learning:
 Unable to access literacy curriculum
 Reluctant to participate in class discussion
 Limited ability to understand narrative - both orally and written
 All areas of the curriculum affected
 Unable to prove understanding

Impact on social development:
 Unable to join in social conversations in playground

Emotional behaviour
 Low self-esteem and lack of confidence
 Frustrated with occasional outburst of aggression

Organisational
 Needs additional prompts - visual and practical demonstration

Classroom Strategies
 Introduce visual support to help pupils understand which elements are needed within a sentence - incorporating colour coding
 Provide models of sentences that include identified target
 Use a variety of story plans to support both sentence construction skills and the development of early narrative skills.  Include beginning, middle, end, key questions (who, when, where, what) and character's feelings.
 Model sentences and work on key phrases to help express opinions
 Do not correct a child's poor grammar; rather use the correct form when replying.
 Pre-tutor and review key vocabulary - new word targets should be identified which are linked to on-going classroom topics and activities
 Teachers monitoring their own level of language with regard to length, speed and complexity to reinforce simple sentence constructions

Name: Aiden      Age: 6 years   Setting; Mainstream Primary School Y1

Strengths:
 Enjoys being with friends and is popular
 Enjoys physical activity and has good gross and fine motor skills
 Enjoys building with Lego
 Has lots to say
 Mother can interpret his vocal expressions - due to his good intonation and familiarity
 Age appropriate receptive vocabulary

Areas of Need
 Completely unintelligible to an unfamiliar listener
 May be unaware of his degree of difficulty
 Limited phonic awareness

Impact on Learning:
 Unable to express himself appropriately to his peers and class teachers
 Reduced access to basic literacy skills
 Limited ability to prove his understanding of the curriculum
 All areas of the curriculum affected

Indirect Interventions
 Don't pretend to understand but encourage him to express himself using gesture
 Help your understanding by having a context/home school diary
 Value his strengths to maintain his self esteem


Direct Intervention
 Check that his hearing is within normal limits
 Refer to Speech and Language Therapy
 Work on listening skills - i.e. Letters and Sound - to increase auditory awareness and discrimination

Name: Harry       Age 11     Setting; Mainstream Primary School

Strengths:
 He likes PE
 He is fluent at reading
 He can be interested in specific topics and learns factual information by rote.
 He learns social rules
 He enjoys IT and is proficient

Areas of Need
 Attention control and auditory memory is limited
 Slow to process language
 Reading comprehension is significantly lower than reading accuracy skills
 Can formulate complex sentences but the content and use is at times inappropriate
 Weak verbal reasoning skills- tends to interpret information literally
 Struggles to be successfully involved in group activities
 Struggles at playtimes and unstructured times
 Often interprets language literally
 Sometimes misinterprets non-verbal signals
 Can react aggressively

Impact on Learning:
 Unable to follow instructions and start tasks without support
 Difficulty in learning new complex and abstract vocabulary
 Unable to select key information
 Difficulty with group tasks
 Struggles with inference and prediction

Impact on social development:
 Difficulty to form and sustain friendships and relationships
 Misinterpretation of communication intent - can lead to frustration and aggression

Emotional behaviour
 Some understanding and expression of emotions and feelings but can misinterpret subtleties

Organisational
 Easily loses equipment

Classroom Strategies
 Use plain English
 Provide task organisers
 May need step by step instructions
 Check comprehension regularly
 Prioritise understanding and use of key vocabulary
 Forewarn of changes to staff, room and timetable
 Avoid idiom and use of sarcasm
 Teach social rules and expectations- may require small group social skills opportunities
 Support generalisation across the school and support collaborative work
 May require support for less structured times of the day

Name: Bradley       Age 11    Setting; Mainstream Secondary School

Strengths:
 Enjoys physical activity and takes part in a number of sports
 Enjoys being with friends and is popular with his peers
 Enjoys practical lessons and can copy demonstrations

Areas of Need
 Poor listening memory
 Slow to process and often looks confused
 Has a limited vocabulary
 Difficulties following instructions and learning new concepts

Impact on Learning:
 Unable to follow instructions and complete any work unaided
 Difficulty understanding mathematical language and processes
 Difficulty generalising and delays in reading skills
 All areas of the curriculum affected

Impact on social development:
 Slow to join in conversations and take part in class discussion

Emotional behaviour
 Low self-esteem and lack of confidence

Organisational
 Needs additional prompts - visual and practical demonstration

Key strategies:
 Gain attention and provide clear, concise instructions using plain English
 Repeat and rephrase as necessary and support visually and practically
 Provide task organisers to support memory and independence
 Check understanding of key concepts and vocabulary
 Explicitly teach prioritised key vocabulary
 Slow down the pace of delivery

Name: Charlotte      Age 15    Setting; Mainstream Secondary School

Strengths:
 Has sporting ability and represents her school in running and netball competitions
 Enjoys practical based subjects- has chosen Art and Technology as KS4 options
 Sociable and polite
 Recognised for her maturity and ability to take on responsibilities

Areas of Need
 Weak working memory and sequencing skills
 Difficulties talking in detail and providing specific information
 Word finding difficulties
 History of speech clarity and processing difficulties
 Weak phonological skills affecting the development of literacy (reading, spelling and writing)

Impact on Learning:
 Delayed literacy skills - reading age approximately 7-8 years
 Delayed basic numeracy skills- unable to remember mathematical facts such as multiplication
 Difficulty organising and recording ideas

Impact on social development:
 Usually quiet and reluctant to join in discussions or conversations other than with familiar people
 Can be chatty when talking about soaps, gossiping with friends


Emotional behaviour
 Lacks confidence in learning situations
 Can be reluctant in new situations

Organisational
 Often needs rehearsal in small groups before talking at whole class level

Key strategies:
 Provide planning and rehearsal opportunities to support group discussion
 Provide additional opportunities to talk with adults and support small group speaking and listening
 Pre-teach and support recall of specific vocabulary and use of words in sentences
 Provide visual planning frameworks to support spoken and written language
 Provide alternative recording methods
 Simultaneously provide a specific literacy programme to maintain progress

Name: Kayleigh     Age 12    Setting; Mainstream Secondary School

Strengths:
 Average attainment in core subjects
 Good readings skills - tends to learn through a "whole word" approach
 Good observational skills

Areas of Need
 History of speech clarity and processing difficulties
 Anxiety when put on the spot to answer questions or explain ideas
 Finds hand writing skills difficult - prefers to use word processing
 Avoids saying words with the specific sounds that she finds difficult to produce
 Hesitant and difficulty formulating full sentences
 Evidence of stammering especially when under pressure

Impact on Learning:
 Difficulty expressing ideas and talking about learning
 Finds written recording difficult
 Difficulties sharing ideas with others and joining in some lessons - e.g. drama

Impact on social development:
 Tends to be quiet and has a restricted yet trusted group of friends
 Over-reliance on friends to speak on her behalf


Emotional behaviour
 Can be easily frustrated when others ask her to repeat or don't understand immediately
 Lacks confidence in learning situations
 Can be reluctant in new situations

Organisational
 Often needs rehearsal in small groups before talking at whole class level

Key strategies:
 Follow specific advice of a speech and language therapist
 Positive recognition of verbal contribution including constructive verbal feedback from others essential - being sensitive to the pupil's need, for example speaking multisyllabic words
 Opportunities to speak in less pressurised situations and/or with familiar adults and trusted peers
 Use of visual and practical ways of contributing
 Allow additional thinking time to formulate spoken language
 Provide additional time to rehearse oral contributions
  Provide visual planning frameworks to support spoken and written language
 Provide alternative recording methods
 Simultaneously provide a specific literacy programme to maintain progress
 Be aware and take advice on the teaching of phonics from the speech and language therapist

Name: Simon       Age 14    Setting; Mainstream Secondary School

Strengths:
 He likes Geography and ICT.
 He is fluent at reading
 He can be interested in specific topics and learns factual information by rote.
 He learns social rules and has a strong understanding of right and wrong.

Areas of Need
 Attention control and auditory memory is limited
 Slow to process language
 Reading comprehension is lower than reading accuracy skills
 Can formulate complex sentences but the content is confused
 Weak verbal reasoning skills - tends to interpret information literally
 Speaks to a few selected friends in the learning support base at break-time but prefers computer games

Impact on Learning:
 Unable to follow instructions and start tasks without support
 Difficulty in learning new complex and abstract vocabulary
 Unable to select key information for revision purposes and complete written work
 Difficulty with collaborative work and negotiation

Impact on social development:
 Difficulty forming and sustaining friendships and relationships
 Misinterpretation of communication intent - can lead to frustration and disagreements with others

Emotional behaviour
 Difficulty understanding and expressing emotions and feelings
 Can be distant and aloof
 Low self-esteem.
 Has been referred to CAMHS

Organisational
 Easily loses equipment and forgets to bring/use planner in school

Key strategies:
 Clear and consistent instructions
 Use plain English
 Provide task organisers and teach how to use
 May need step by step instructions
 Check comprehension regularly
 Prioritise understanding and use of key vocabulary
 Forewarn of changes to staff, room and timetable
 Avoid idiom and use of sarcasm
 Teach social rules and expectations- may require small group social skills opportunities
 Support generalisation across the school and support collaborative work
 May require support for less structured times of the day