Speech, learning and movement

Speech and communication

Is your child slow to understand simple words, do they use few words, or have difficulty making certain sounds compared with other children of their age?

A doctor or health visitor might refer you to:

  • An audiologist who works with children who have hearing difficulties and can advise on aids to improve hearing.
  • A speech and language therapist who can work with you and your child to develop communication skills. If a child cannot talk they can help them find other ways to communicate.

If your child is under five, a doctor or health visitor might suggest:

  • A pre-school home visiting service which helps children with early communication and pre-school learning skills.
  • A nursery or play school/group that has people trained to help your child develop social skills.

You can find more support at I CAN, the children's communication charity.

Difficulties learning or poor attention skills

Does your child have problems remembering information, learning early education skills, or responding to requests?

A doctor or health visitor might refer you to:

  • A nursery or play school/group for children under five that has people trained to help your child learn new skills.
  • A pre-school home visiting service to help your child with early communication and learning skills, long before they start school.
  • A special educational needs coordinator (SENCO), a teacher responsible for coordinating any extra support a child needs in England and Wales. In Scotland the home visiting teacher, the child's class teacher or another member of school staff takes on this role.
  • An educational psychologist might observe your child and advise on which teaching or behaviour programmes will be of most benefit.

 Find out more about educational support in the early years.

Movement and coordination

Does your child have difficulty sitting up, walking, handling objects, or using certain parts of their body compared with other children of their age?

A doctor or health visitor might refer you to:

  • A physiotherapist who can advise you and help with exercises to improve your child's mobility and coordination.
  • An occupational therapist to assess your child's coordination and mobility, provide advice and recommend aids/equipment to help with everyday activities.