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Tips and advice for professionals
working with children

I have concerns about a child's development, when should I refer them to Speech and Language Therapy?

Refer to the Stoke Speaks Out Staged Pathway to help you decide whether a child needs a referral. The flowchart will guide you through questions to ask and things to try first.

What information can I share with parents to support their child's language development?

You can direct parents to the Parents & Carers area of this website where there are lots of tips for families. If parents are on Facebook, they can follow us on Facebook for regular tips and information. The Stoke Speaks Out YouTube channel has short videos for each key message. We’ve also compiled a list of useful links for parents and carers here.

Do I need parental consent to seek professional advice?

Yes, before you can seek professional support about a child's development, you must get permission from parents. The only time that you can proceed without parental consent is if you have any safeguarding concerns and you feel that the child would be at more risk if you did nothing.

A Girl in a Classroom
How do I assess a bilingual  child or a child learning EAL?

EAL means English as an Additional Language. It’s important to find out as much as you can about how the child’s speech and language is developing in their first or home language. You can do this by observing the child talking to their parents/carers and by asking parents how much the child is speaking in their home language. If a child who is new to English is picking up English steadily, this is a good sign that their home language is developing well.

How do I support a child learning EAL/bilingual child/family?

Children who are new to English need to be immersed in language through everyday interactions and a language rich environment.

  • Use visuals as well as verbal language to support the child’s understanding

  • Support the child to join in with activities through demonstration

  • Teach some useful words that will help the child to request and make their needs known

  • Respond positively to any attempt the child makes to communicate

  • Display some key words in the child’s home language. Parents are a good source of information to ask for key words as they can model how they are pronounced

  • Dual language books are useful and are available at your local library

  • Encourage parents to continue to use their most confident language at home. Research shows that continuing to develop their home language will support children to develop English


NALDIC and the National Literacy Trust have some great information and resources about bilingualism, including advice for parents in other languages.

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