Skip navigation

How many children have SLCN?

Many children struggle to communicate; the significant numbers of children with speech, language and communication needs make this a major issue.

One in ten children have SLCN that need long-term support. This includes children whose main difficulty is with language – they have specific language impairment (SLI). 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.

In some parts of the UK, particularly in areas of poverty over half of children start school with speech, language and communication needs. They have immature language, which means their speech may be unclear, vocabulary is smaller, sentences are shorter and they are able to understand only simple instructions.  Some of 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 SLCN. These children may need a high level of interventions and support, such as that provided in I CAN’s special schools.

If these children 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 SLI on Talking Point.

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