Support for schools

Children need good speech and language skills to help them learn and thrive at school. Many children start school with delayed speech and language.

It is important to identify those pupils with difficulties so that they may receive the help they need.

With quality teaching and early intervention children can catch up. 1 in 10 children will have more persistent difficulties.

These may include:

  • speech difficulties
  • language disorders associated with other conditions such as autism, intellectual disabilities, hearing impairments, or genetic conditions
  • Developmental Language Disorder

On this page you will find information on:

Classroom strategies

Classroom strategies to help children to understand language

  • Keep your instructions short.
  • Give clear explanations, repeating as necessary.
  • Check for understanding often.
  • Use visual supports.

Classroom strategies to help children develop spoken language

  • Make comments more than questions.
  • Model words and sentences often.
  • Expand or add to what a pupil may say.
  • Give plenty of time to respond.
  • Encourage and use non-verbal communication such as gestures and facial expression.

Classroom strategies to help older children who stammer

  • Don’t hurry. Model an easy, relaxed speaking style.
  • Reduce verbal interruptions in the classroom.
  • Allow children plenty of time to talk and answer questions.
  • Keep natural eye contact.
  • Stay focused on the message and remain calm no matter how much stammering occurs.
  • Create a classroom environment that accepts and accommodates stammering.
  • Remember the degree of stammering is likely to be variable. A child may stammer more if anxious about stammering.
  • Acknowledge the stammering in a matter of fact way. You might say something like, ‘that was a hard word to say’ or ‘that was a bit bumpy’.
  • Avoid asking a child to ‘take a deep breath’ or 'take your time’. While well meant, this is rarely helpful and may impact self-confidence.
  • Talk to the child’s parents and discuss your concerns as soon as possible.
  • Discuss referral to speech and language therapy with parents. An early referral can prevent development of a long term difficulty.

The websites below provide further useful information about stammering.

Language Link

LanguageLink is a teacher led package for children’s language development. It provides language assessment, lesson plans, resources and activities. Primary Care Speech and Language Therapy provide support to schools that use LanguageLink.

Learn more about LanguageLink

Oral Language Cluster Groups

Oral language cluster groups are for teachers working in Cavan and Monaghan.

National Educational Psychologists and Primary Care Speech and Language Therapists facilitate the groups. Participants chose the topics for discussion. Previous topics included speech and language assessment process, supports and programmes.

For more information contact your National Educational Psychologist or Speech and Language Therapist.

Other speech and language topics relevant to the children in your classroom include: 

  • stammering 
  • voice 
  • bilingualism
  • FEDS 
  • selective or elective mutism

Website resources

Websites about Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)

DLD is when children have substantial difficulties understanding and using spoken language. DLD is not caused by a medical condition, hearing impairment, general learning difficulty or social emotional difficulty. DLD is likely to carry on into adulthood and have an impact on the child’s social and academic attainments (IASLT, 2017). Useful websites about DLD:

Websites for supporting children’s speech, language and communication