Speech and language difficulties in young children are not unusual. As many as one child in 10 under five years of age experiences some degree of difficulty. This booklet explains how children normally develop communication, language and speech and how adults can help in these processes.

This publication also explains how to set about getting professional help. It also explains about speech and language therapy – what it is, who provides it, how to get it and what to do with it, once you have it.

The document points to ways in which parents can help their child, but also points to support and services that can help. There is an extensive list of support information, which includes websites, telephone numbers and email addresses.

Visit the Early Support website for more information


  • Introduction
  • Understanding normal development
  • Helping children develop communication,
  • language and speech – what normally happens
  • Recognising there may be a problem
  • Making the most of speech and language therapy
  • Multi-disciplinary assessments
  • Ongoing difficulty
  • Looking ahead – education
  • What can go wrong – different types of speech
  • and language difficulty
  • Speech and language difficulties associated
  • with other conditions
  • Useful contacts and organisations
  • Additional reading
  • Other information