Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 3.5: Develop emergent literacy skills of children
Learning outcome: Understand the language and communication needs of children
Assessment criteria: Describe factors which affect language and communication needs
Several factors can affect the language and communication of children. It is important that Early Years Practitioners are able to recognise these, so that they can ensure the needs of all children are met.
Background noise (such as TV or radio) and too much screen time can make it more difficult for children to develop language and communication skills because they are distracting and deprives them of quality interaction with adults.
Strong relationships with adults (e.g. parents, carers, Key Worker etc.) are important because children will feel comfortable and reassured around the person and are more likely to want to talk with them. Similarly, it is crucial that a child’s main carers spend quality time interacting with them to develop both communication skills and the bond between them.
Medical conditions can also affect a child’s language and communication needs. It is important for Early Years Practitioners to observe children and identify areas that seem unusual for their age and stage of development. Discussions should be had with parents/carers to make them aware of any concerns and health professionals should be involved.
It is important that Early Years Practitioners do not try to diagnose a child themselves and that they leave this task to health professionals. However, they should record their observations and any other information that the health professional may find useful.
Typical medical conditions that can affect a child’s communication development can include a learning disability, autism and hearing loss. We will discuss working with children with additional needs in Unit 3.13.