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Thursday 4 July 2019

Communication and Interaction Difficulties - Mike Marsh explains!

Speech and language needs do not always involve students struggling to say words or phrases correctly. The majority of our students have difficulties with their expressive language - their ability to use language to communicate effectively, to find the rights words to convey meaning, or receptive language- their ability to understand spoken language. 

Although I will go through more detail the key phrase is ‘Say less, show, slow, stress.’ 

I’m always struck by how fast we all talk and the range of instructions we give out, ‘Sit down, coats off, write the driving question, today's date is…’ students struggling to process this information will get lost. 

So, what to do? 

· Slow down
· Repeat important phrases or instructions
· Break instruction down into chunks
· Cue the student in by giving advanced notice of a question, use their name before asking them something.
· Back up instruction of key sections with written re enforcement. (Write on the board the key instructions)
· Key words lists and knowledge organisers are vital here- they allow students to process the words at their own pace, they provide clarity for the key words used in lessons and they are an opportunity for students to pre learn key terms before a lesson.
· Think about the clarity of you language; say things you want to happen as an instruction not as a question- eg ‘Sit Down’ rather than ‘ When are you going to sit down’.
· Pause and then check for understanding- ‘Tell me what you need to do please.’ 

Further reading, the IDP document below has several simple strategies to try. 

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