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Individual Programmes

After identifying individual children and young people with additional support needs, the SENCo is likely to plan interventions to develop speaking and listening skills at the universal, targeted and enhanced levels across the school. If an individual programme is being developed it is likely that the pupil will have a higher level of need which has been assessed by an external professional. This specialist will probably be a speech and language therapist or specialist advisory teacher: SLCN and will have provided guidance on the aims, strategies and specific resources/programmes.  Individual programmes are likely to be different for primary and secondary schools, but there may be some overlaps depending upon the degree and nature of difficulty .The programme should be monitored by parents, child/young person and school in conjunction with external professional(s) in terms of the effectiveness and impact upon the child/young person's progress and curriculum access. There is usually no individual commercial programme or materials, but individual strategies have to be tailor -made to address the individual need and learning objectives.

The foundation for all language learning is the ability to attend and actively listen.

What you might see
 Difficulty sitting still for long lengths of time during whole class teaching
 Can only focus attention for short lengths of time
 May not respond to whole class instructions
 Relies on peers and copies their actions
 Gets lost within an activity

What to do
 Make it visual
 Give short instructions using simple language
 Break down instructions to allow all students to complete a task one step at a time
 Ensure whole school instructions are delivered using a consistent approach - explicit, displayed and reinforced
 Be consistent
 Gain attention of whole class/ individual student before giving instructions
 Use task plans which include pictures, symbols and diagrams
 Repeat instructions step by step allowing time to process what to do
 Pre-tutor and regularly review key vocabulary
 Ask children and young peoples to repeat what they have to do
 Play auditory memory games with students
 Use of memory aids to support sequencing of a task (bullet points, visual plan, list, and notebook)

Linked Resources
 McLachlan. H and Elks (2008) -  "Language Builders"  ELKLAN
 Inclusion Development Programme: SLCN Department for Education, 2011
 Hayden S. & Jordan E. (2012) Language for Learning: a practical guide for supporting students with speech, language and communication needs. David Fulton"
 iPad apps such as notebook
 Speaking and Listening Through Narrative: Reception and KS1 , Black Sheep Press

Some children appear to listen and attend to spoken language, but still struggle to understand spoken instructions and explanations

What you might see
 Does not follow spoken instructions
 Difficulty sequencing stories and numbers
 May struggle to learn new vocabulary
 May be aware of difficulty
 Reading comprehension maybe weak
 Unable to keep up with classroom tasks
 May copy their peers in order to complete tasks successfully
 Limited ability to understand narrative - both orally and written
 All areas of the curriculum affected
 Slow to join in conversations and take part in class discussion
 Low self-esteem and lack of confidence
What to do
 Make it visual
 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.  Programme such as Black Sheep Speaking and Listening Through Narrative could be used.
 Encourage active listening skills

 Speaking and Listening Through Narrative (KS1 and KS2) - Black Sheep Press
 Language Builders - Elklan
 Language for Learning - Sue Hayden and Emma Jordan
 Barrier Games - Black Sheep Press

A pupil with expressive language difficulties understands but struggles to put their thoughts into spoken language.

What you may see
 Difficulty sequencing stories and numbers
 Struggles to formulate complete oral sentences
 Unable to use grammar appropriately e.g., verb tenses
 Struggles to recall specific words
 Unable to write sentences to teacher direction
 Sentences may not demonstrate correct grammar and word order
 Reluctant to participate in class discussion
 All areas of the curriculum affected
 Unable to prove understanding
 Unable to join in social conversations in playground
 Low self-esteem and lack of confidence

What you may do
 Make it visual
 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 pupil'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

 Targeted resources relating to aspects of speaking, for example, vocabulary, grammar, morphology and syntax published by Black Sheep Press
 Speaking and Listening through Narrative - Black Sheep Press
 Barrier Games - Black Sheep Press
 Language Steps - STASS

Children may experience difficulty in saying particular sounds in words.  They may demonstrate good understanding and sentence structure however the unfamiliar listener may struggle to understand their speech.

What you may see
 Unaware of his degree of difficulty
 Limited phonic awareness
 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

What should you do
 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
 Model correct words in sentences
 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

Follow the advice of a Speech and Language Therapist
Letters and Sounds - DFE
Soundaround - David Fulton
Phonology - Smith and Walton - SEND: TST: Speech and Language( see resources section)

Social interaction skills
The child has the basics and structure of language however he does not always know when and how to apply them (pragmatics)

What you might see
 He learns social rules but does not always apply them appropriately
 Weak verbal reasoning skills- tends to interpret information literally
 Struggles to be successfully involved in group activities
 Struggles at playtimes and unstructured times
 Sometimes misinterprets non-verbal signals
 Can react aggressively
 Unable to follow instructions and start tasks without support
 Difficulty in learning new complex and abstract vocabulary
 Unable to select key information
 Struggles with inference and prediction
 Difficulty to form and sustain friendships and relationships

What to do
 Make is Visual
 Be clear about the rules of interaction within the classroom e.g. waiting turns, put your hand up, sit quietly, line up.
 Have the rules written on a sign in the classroom - they can also be in pictorial form.
 Refer to the rules every time they are broken.
 Use a credits point system to reward children for adhering to the rules.
 Use task plans 
 Encourage organisation, tidying up and categorisation.
 Teach social awareness, friendship skills, language of emotion, and recognition of facial expressions.
 Use concrete literal language when possible.
 Be alert to signals from the child that they are becoming frustrated.
 Accept gesture or eye contact as a 'turn' in social interaction
 Encourage the class group to be aware of social needs
 Use a buddy scheme at playtimes
 Remind children about playground rules each day.
 Avoid 'why?' Better to focus on what would have been a good thing to do?

 Time to Talk (LDA)
 Socially Speaking (LDA)
 Social use of Language Programme (SULP), Wendy Rinaldi
 Working with Pragmatics - Andersen-Wood, L. and Rae Smith, B. (1997), Winslow Press
 Comic Strip Conversations - Gray, C. (1994), Future Education, Arlington
 The New Social Story Book - Gray, C. (2000), Future Education, Arlington
 BT Education resources. - 
 Circle time - Jenny Mosley Publications at:

Secondary individual programmes may be related to:
 Attention and Listening
 Following instructions
 Vocabulary- Understanding and Use
 Verbal reasoning
 Understanding /use of language structure

For possible specific strategies , activities and resources please  see the secondary classroom strategies (section 5  of the SLCN part of this website) in conjunction with group interventions (section 6) and resources ( section 14).The young person will also need some individual tutoring, additional classroom support  alongside a framework of support within the school.
Also refer to the Inclusion Development programme: SLCN (2011) - Key strategies for supporting SLCN in class: developing Independent learning and individual aids.

*If a young person has on-going unclear speech at key stage 3 and beyond their needs should be addressed /advice sought from a speech and language therapist"

Useful links