& Professionals

Speech is difficult to understand


What to do 

If you are unsure what a child is saying you can:

Ask questions to help narrow down the topic. Keep the questions short and specific, for example:

“Inside school or at home?”

“With mum or with dad?”

“Were you on holiday?”

“Yesterday or today?”

“Were you driving or walking?”

These make it easier to understand what the child is trying to say rather than broad questions such as “Where did you go?”


Check you have understood, by repeating back the words you think you have heard.

For example:

“So, you went to Spain?”


Ask the child to slow down. Slowing down your own rate of speech will encourage them to do the same, and will help to make it easier for you to understand them.


Show interest in what they are saying. Keep your face and voice lively and let the child know you are interested in what they have to say. This will encourage them to explain. Try to keep normal eye contact and posture.


Encourage the child to use normal cues to supplement their speech (your child may not do this automatically and may need frequent and gentle prompting). Some examples of this are:

  • Pointing
  • Gesturing/signing
  • Facial expressions
  • Drawing/writing
  • Say what the first sound of the word is

Take time to tune in. Spend some time getting used to the child’s speech in situations where you might be able to predict what he is going to say e.g. sharing a book together. This will help to build the child’s confidence.


A home/school book where parents can write down family and pet names and what they did at the weekend, as this will give you some clues as to likely topics of conversation


Try and work out what sounds the child says instead of the correct sound (what sounds they substitute) – this will help you understand the child. For example:

‘ k ’ always said as ‘ t ’, so coat toat

‘d’ always said as ‘g’, so dad gag



What to avoid 

Making the child repeat the words after you and never say ‘say it properly’.


Asking the child to repeat what they have said more than once, as this will be frustrating and embarrassing for them.






Ask the Speech and Language Therapist for more information.

Local Initiatives

Early Years Initiatives

Our Early years team are currently working together with the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, this includes a rollout of language screening of children using Wellcomm tool.

School Age Initiatives

This is an area currently under development. There are a number of exciting developments to look forward to in the upcoming months in regards to how we work in schools.


 Enhanced Services initiatives

The Enhanced Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) Service offer bought-in input in schools. This might involve universal input, individual or group interventions. The Enhanced Team also support schools and staff to develop communication friendly environments and deliver training. For further information, please contact Fiona Taylor –


I have found working with the speech therapist very beneficial. She helps me to set achievable goals for the children by coming into the nursery and interacting with the children and getting to know them. She talks to us on a regular basis and updates us on what targets she would like the children to achieve next. She teaches us new strategies to use with the children which we find really useful, we try to incorporate this into everyday activities. Parent’s often comment on how much they appreciate the advice from our therapist. They also comment on how much progress their children have made since visiting her. We don’t know what we would do without her!

Anneka Williamson, Children’s Centre Practitioner

“It brought different activities to his usual routine which he enjoyed and encouraged him to participate”


“I have two children who are supported by the speech and language therapy service. The therapists have lots of patience with my children. Both Christipher and Marcus have come on a lot. Marcus now has lots more confidence and he talks much more in the classroom. Christipher isn’t as stressed anymore, his therapist has taught me exactly what to do. If I need any help, she is very easy to approach. Before I try new things with Christipher I can check with her first. The therapist knows him very well. She has worked wonders with him. Without her, I wouldn’t know what to do.”

Nicola, Mum of Christipher and Marcus

"My son Lewis has been attending speech and language for a few years. He has come on briliantly and is more confident. His speech is so much clearer now. He also enjoys the sessions. Jean gives me loads of ideas about how to continue helping him at home. He gets work sheets to take home which also he enjoys doing. Lewis has a short attention span and can find it difficult to concentrate for long, but Jean makes it very interesting for Lewis and different every session."

Tracy, Lewis

"I am Megan’s mum. Megan was identified as having speech and language difficulties when she was at primary school. Since this time she has been supported by the Education Inclusion Service Speech and Language team. This has made a huge difference to the development of Megan’s speech and language. Not only do they support Meg, they also support the staff at the school in delivering the programmes that Megan needs. The team are also there to answer any questions that I may have and will send us regular information on Megan’s target’s, what they are and if she has achieved them. Megan enjoys the sessions that she attends at school and they are delivered at times that try not to impact too greatly on her daily school life."

Hayley Robinson, Megan

EPs and SALT frequently work together during Multi agency meetings to Clarify individual concerns and strengths. We develop joint objectives, that are regularly reviewed And evaluated to improve outcomes for children and YP. Parents and teachers comment that this work is effective and helps to increase their Understanding and knowledge. Jointly we increase schools capacity, through conversations and training, to meet the needs of their pupils.

Joanne Snee- Educational Psychologist

“I couldn't be happier Grayson has come on so much in these 6 weeks. It has helped 100%. Thank you so much”

Parent of Grayson

“The service has been really helpful, the staff also been very kind and experienced. My child has learnt and developed some new communication skills and I also as the mom have known new ways to help my child through. Thanks”

Anonymous Parent

“I have not tried to phone as I am deaf. I felt like I was listened to with the use of a BSL interpreter. My son enjoyed coming into the room and playing with the toys.”

Anonymous Parent