Speech, language and communication for primary school children (4 – 11 years old)

Talking is one of the most important life skills your child will learn. Everyone’s journey is different but if you’re a parent in Oldham, there’s plenty of support and information available to help you and your child on their way to great communication.

What should my child be able to do?

At 4-5 years:

  • Your child will be able to multi-task, they can listen to you and understand what you are saying without stopping what they are doing
  • They will understand longer and more complex instructions
  • Their language use and speech will becoming more mature however there still may be some errors with grammar and tenses e.g. “goed” instead of “went”, “sheeps” instead of “sheep”
  • They will have a good range of speech sounds and will mostly be able to make themselves understood. They may still have some difficulty with sounds such as l (yike instead of like), r (wed instead of red), ch (tair instead of chair), j (doke instead of joke) and sounds in blends e.g. br – bed instead of bread.

At 5-7 years:

  • Your child will be able to focus on tasks for a longer period of time without needing reminding.
  • They will understand longer and more complex instructions containing several parts e.g. “go upstairs, take your football kit off and put it in the basket.”
  • Your child’s vocabulary will continue to grow as they learn new things. They will tell stories that are full of detail using their skills.
  • Your child will have clear speech and by 6;00 all speech sounds will be mature.

At 7-11 years:

  • Your child’s speech, language and communication skills will continue to develop as they experience new things every day
  • They will have good reasoning and problem solving skills and use their language to express their thoughts, ideas, negotiating etc.
  • Their grammar and narrative skills will be generally mature with complete sentences, stories and clarity.

How can I help develop my child’s communication?

Key messages:

School is a big milestone and an exciting step in your child’s life. It’s where their learning journey, which you have built with them, continues. It’s a new place for them to learn and have experiences.

  • It is important we link home and school so we can strengthen their new skills and learning but also learn about them and their interests and how these things move and change as our children grow.
  • Sometimes it can feel a little overwhelming for children when we ask them lots of questions at school pick up, we are so keen to know what they have done, who they have played with, are they happy? Give your child some thinking space, you can tell them about your day and then ask about theirs, give them time to respond.
  • Get involved in their learning, work with your child’s school so you are aware of the things they are learning about, there could be fun things you can duplicate or replicate at home that you can enjoy together.
  • BBC’s Tiny Happy People – have an abundance of videos, resources and ideas around supporting your child’s early development – take a look below:
  • Parent Portal – this website is run by Speech Link. There are videos and activities for parents, as well as information about what skills to expect for different ages.
  • Check out the timetables in the Activities and Events section. There are lots of activities for parents and young children which will support you in your child’s development but also lots of opportunities for fun!

When should I seek further help and how?

Child playing with dough

Remember no two children are alike and will develop at slightly different rates.

Some key things to look out for:

  • Difficulty understanding simple instructions and meanings of words
  • Difficulty in telling stories e.g. what has happened, what they have done, this may appear jumbled and disjointed and difficult to make sense of
  • Difficulty making and maintaining friendships with peers and those around them, they may find it difficult to follow rules of games in the playground and struggle to join in conversations/discussions
  • Difficulty with speech sounds which may mean they are sometimes difficult to understand or they are becoming frustrated.

If you are concerned with any of the above:

  • Speak with your child’s teacher or school SENCo (Special Educational Needs Coordinator).
  • POINT – For children and young people with additional needs