Skip navigation

How many children have SLCN?

A significant number of children have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) meaning that they struggle to communicate, making this a major issue.

One in ten children have long term, persistent SLCN; in other words, they won’t ‘grow out of it’. This equates to 1.4 million children in the UK. It includes children whose main difficulty is with language – they have developmental language disorder (DLD). It also includes children who have communication difficulties as part of another condition such as autism, cerebral palsy or general learning difficulties.

That means 2 to 3 students in every classroom have significant communication difficulties.

As many as 50% of children in some areas of deprivation have delayed language meaning their speech may be unclear, vocabulary is smaller, sentences are shorter and they are able to understand only simple instructions.  These children may catch up with the rest of their class given the right support.

1% of all children have the most severe and complex language disorder. These children may need a high level of interventions and support, such as that provided in I CAN’s special schools.

If children’s SLCN are not identified and supported, they can become frustrated and angry. They can misbehave in school, which in turn can lead to social exclusion and for some, involvement in criminal activity.

With the right help, children with SLCN can learn, enjoy school, make friends and reach their full potential.

I CAN is here to ensure that no child is left out or left behind because of a difficulty speaking or understanding.

Read more about SLCN and DLD on Talking Point.

Find out what services I CAN has to support children with SLCN.