Does your child understand what you say to them?

Can they follow instructions in school or nursery?

Can you ask them to do more than one thing e.g. go upstairs, brush your teeth and get your school bag?

Children need to understand what is said to them before they can start using words and sentences accurately.  Following instructions is a vital skill for learning and keeping safe.  Children who have difficulties understanding can be labelled as naughty but it could be that they don’t know what they are supposed to be doing.

Some instructions are easy to follow e.g. go get your shoes- your child may know that before they go out they need their shoes; they will have done this many times and can see the other people around them putting their shoes on.  As they get older, children are expected to follow longer, more complex instructions e.g.  Put your books in the red box, wash your hands then sit down on the carpet.  They need to remember lots of information, know the vocabulary used (box, wash, hands, red) and understand the smaller grammatical words (in, then).

Speech and Language Therapists are highly skilled at assessing comprehension (understanding language) and highlighting where any problems may lie.

If you are concerned about your child understanding language there are lots of strategies you can use to help them:

  • Break instructions into smaller chunks e.g. brush your teeth; get your school bag
  • Repeat instructions multiple times
  • Get your child to repeat back what they have been asked to do
  • Encourage your child to ask for help e.g. putting their hand up in class
  • Contact us to arrange a full assessment
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The Language Pyramid Series- Wk 3- Attention and Listening

Attention and Listening

Does your child find it hard to sit still?

Do they appear to ignore you?

Do they talk when they should be listening?

Do they have difficulty following instructions?

Are they easily distracted?

Can they only concentrate on one thing at a time?

Do they move quickly from one toy to another?

Do they find it very hard to complete a game or activity?


Lots of children have difficulties with their attention (concentration) and listening skills.  Children’s attention develops and matures as they get older.

Concentration difficulties impact on all areas of communication:

  • following instructions
  • learning and using new words
  • forming sentences
  • listening to and using the correct sounds in words

Children with attention and listening difficulties often end up in trouble in school or nursery.  They are not being naughty; they need someone to help develop their attention and listening skills.


How can you help?

  • say your child’s name before giving an instruction so they know to listen e.g. “Tyler put your coat on”
  • keep activities short and interesting
  • praise them when they are listening well e.g. “great listening Evie”
  • talk about how to be a good listener e.g. sit still, look at the person who is talking, only talk when it’s your turn
  • go on a listening walk, talk about what you can hear e.g. birds, cars, a helicopter
  • get in touch with us for more Attention and Listening game ideas and further support
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The Language Pyramid Series- wk 1- An Introduction

Language Pyramid Explained

Successful communication is made up of many components. Language can develop naturally for lots of children, however for around 1 in 10 children extra support is needed to help them become confident communicators.

Language can be thought of as a pyramid, each layer needs to be securely in place to support the next block. Without a good solid base, further development can be shaky. Children can have difficulties at each level and specialist input is needed to provide the correct support.

Over the coming weeks we will explain each layer in more detail and what you can do to help your child become a confident happy communicator.


Beth Atkinson, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

Chatter Independent Speech Therapy Ltd

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Who can help?


My Child’s talking is delayed….Who can help?

Do you have a concern about your child’s talking?  There are lots of places to go for help.

  • Have you spoken to a Speech and Language therapist? We are a friendly bunch and very approachable.  It can be difficult to find someone to speak to but at Chatter we always offer a free telephone consultation at a time that suits you.  We can talk through your concerns however big or small and if you want further support we can arrange assessment, therapy and support tailored to your child and family.


  • NHS Speech and Language Therapy– Most NHS SLT services accept referrals directly from parents and carers, if in doubt give them a call to check, they will probably send you a copy of their referral form to fill in.  Your child can have support from a Chatter therapist alongside their NHS therapy.  All Chatter therapists also work for the NHS so are experts in working with their NHS colleagues.  Often parents feel they don’t get enough contact with the NHS SLT and opt for additional support.  Alternatively some families feel they would prefer to seek all of their child’s therapy privately.  When referring to the NHS SLT service it is worth bearing in mind that they have clear referral guidelines which include what referrals they can and cannot accept.


  • Don’t get bogged down in a Google Search, here are some very helpful websites dedicated to language development and communication difficulties: The Children’s Communication Charity has free resources for parents and lots of information about children’s communication The British Stammering Association is the place to go for sensible advice on stammering/stuttering supporting the communication needs of all children The leading charity for people with autism The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists


Don’t worry about your child’s talking, we are all happy to talk about it with you!  Seeking support from a therapist is the first step.

Written by Beth Atkinson, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

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