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This page last updated: 29th February 2012
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equalitytalk.org.uk

How Equality Act 2010 applies to adult communication impairments in Britain

  1. Introduction
  2. Disability
  3. Discrimination
  4. Employment
  5. Services
  6. Education
  7. Advice & links

Introduction menu:

This website has been produced by the
Communications Forum.
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What are speech, language and communication needs (SLCN)?

This page gives and introduction to SLCN. For some individual conditions dealt with on this website, and links on them, see Links on SLCN.

'Speech, language and communication needs' image

Try to imagine...

  • being unable to read this.
  • being unable to tell someone else about it.
  • being unable to find the words you wanted to say.
  • opening your mouth and no sound coming out.
  • words coming out jumbled up.
  • not getting the sounds right.
  • words getting stuck, someone jumping in, saying words for you.
  • not hearing the questions.
  • not being able to see, or not being able to understand, the signs and symbols around you.
  • not understanding the words or phrases.
  • not being able to write down your ideas.
  • being unable to join a conversation.
  • people ignoring what you are trying to say; feeling embarrassed; and moving away...

Why does it happen?

Communication is one of the most complicated skills we learn. Effective communication (speech, language, reading, writing and social skills) needs many parts of the brain to be working together. It needs the 'equipment' (hearing, vision, lips, tongue, roof of the mouth, voicebox) to be in full working order. We need the right opportunities at the right time for communication to develop along normal lines. For some 7% of children this does not happen and their communication skills are delayed or disrupted. Both children and adults may have illnesses or accidents, which cause them to lose these learned skills. Sometimes, we misuse or damage the 'equipment'.

What is the effect?

Communication impairment is a hidden disability which is isolating and distressing. People often cannot explain the pain and frustration they feel. The loss of confidence and self-esteem can affect their personal and social relationships. Their disability can reduce their opportunities in education and employment.

Individual conditions

For some individual conditions and links on them, see Links on SLCN.