Diane Backhouse, speech and language teacher, describes her experience of using Language Link in her school.

As a school we have been using the Infant Language Link and Speech Link packages for the last seven years and last September we added Junior Language Link. I assess the children in September and then organise groups which change each half term after prioritisation by myself and the SENCo. In Reception I find the Language Link assessment extremely useful for highlighting children needing extra support through group work and also to discuss pupils with the local SaLT service.

Fun Factor

I use the Language Link groups and all children have thoroughly enjoyed the activities, appearing more relaxed and more confident to express themselves. They take the form of fun games, quite different to their classroom work and evaluations show that the majority of the children make good progress with their language skills. I am often greeted with “When’s it my turn to come and work with you?” from both children that have been in earlier groups and those that have only undergone the assessment and don’t need further input. The children have obviously enjoyed the activities and most have managed to enhance their language skills above the magic 80% accuracy needed!

Range of Resources

Each Language Link package comes with a wide range of resources for the classroom as well as for small group and individual work and I have found using some of the resources from the groups useful for classroom consolidation work. For example, I have used the positional language cards during sand, water and playdough activities.

I have found that what works best is to use the resources consistently across all the year groups. The good listening cards and tokens are a good example of this. Each classroom, from Nursery to Year 2, displays the ‘Good Listening’ cards as visual cues enhancing attention and listening skills. All teaching staff carry smaller copies on key fobs to use with individuals or small groups. In Year 2 a TA made a chart (similar to a bingo board) with the ‘Good Listening’ cards and tokens to use with an individual child struggling with attention and listening in the classroom. When he showed good skills he could stick the corresponding token on the chart. This proved to have a positive effect on his behaviour.

We also use the Language Link visual timetables throughout school which helps all children and especially those with ASD to focus and feel secure. Our teachers use many of the classroom strategies advocated in Language Link to enable children to access more of the curriculum.

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