We received a WellComm toolkit and training in its use through the Ipswich Opportunity Area. As SENDCo for the setting, WellComm is something that I had wanted to use for some years to effectively assess, support and monitor the progress of children with speech and language delays, but the cost was prohibitive. Since starting to fully utilise WellComm in September, I have been able to provide very specific support and interventions for those children that need it and identify areas of concern amongst the whole cohort. This early, targeted support means that the children will stand a better chance of reaching their Early Learning Goals for Speech, Language and Communication and, hopefully, have better long-term outcomes.
One mum is full of praise for the extra support that we are now able to provide for her and her son. An older sibling had speech delays and we found it very difficult to access early help through the community speech and language service based on the assessments that we had at the time. Health care professionals view WellComm assessments more positively, as they are very specific and norm-referenced, meaning that applications for early professional support are more likely to be successful. Mum has also found the suggestions that I have shared with her from the Big Book of Ideas simple to follow and incorporate into their day, accelerating her son’s progress.
Summary of impact
As well as being able to provide targeted support to the children that need it, we have also been able to provide more general support to the rest of the cohort. WellComm screening revealed that many of the children struggled with understanding prepositions (such as under, behind, on and in) and the language of size (biggest, smallest, longest, shortest). We have now invested in additional resources to support these particular areas of language development and are hoping to see improvements when the children are rescreened. This greater understanding of the language acquisition of the children that attend our setting is not only enabling us to more effectively support their language development but also the development of their mathematical thinking.
As over half of the children who attend our setting speak a language other than English at home with their families, it was not feasible to screen all children in September. Many had very little or no English and would not have been able to access even the first level of assessment. Instead, I initially focused on the children who we perceived to have speech and language delays. Once assessed, the results and ideas to support development are shared with the child’s Key Person and parents so that they can work together to support the child’s developmental progress
What would we do differently
We received the WellComm toolkit quite a while before the training and although I dived in and started using the toolkit straight away I was not using it quite as effectively as I do now. To get the maximum benefit you really need to have access to the training as soon as you receive the toolkit.
We received a WellComm toolkit and training in its use through the Ipswich Opportunity Area. We would not have been able to buy the toolkit ourselves due to our very limited financial resources. The toolkit will benefit the children who attend our setting for many years to come.
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