/* Menu include for elciss-introduction */

Images from our projects:

random image of ELCISS project

ELCISS aims to enhance language and communication in secondary school children with primary language and communication impairment through narrative/storytelling and vocabulary enrichment.

The Development of Speech, Language and Communication

Children typically acquire and develop language effortlessly without any formal instruction. However, there are a minority of children who experience difficulties learning language without any obvious reasons for these difficulties. It is estimated that around 7-10% of children experience specific difficulties with speech, language and communication.

These difficulties have been shown to impact adversely on their academic and school performance as well as on their behaviour and social and emotional development. What we mean by specific difficulties with language and communication is that these children manifest these difficulties without any obvious cause or reason, so they do not show any major problem with hearing, learning in a non-verbal manner, behaviour; or show any other difficulty which would explain their language and communication problems.

Let us consider for a moment what we mean by language. Language is a complex system of signs, governed by rules, and its primary use is communication. Language is only one of the available means for communication. Humans use systems other than language to relate to each other and to communicate, for example, body language.

By looking at someone with a certain facial expression, one can easily communicate a number of different feelings; anger, happiness etc.  Communication refers to the appropriate use of language to facilitate effective interaction between people. It is estimated that as much as 80% of human interaction is non-verbal, involving gestures, facial expressions etc.

Language is a rule governed organised system which uses a finite set of arbitrary symbols which are combined to form meaningful elements or words which can themselves be combined to form an infinite set of possible utterances to convey/share meaning.

The symbols can take the form of sounds (speech), written symbols (text), hand movements (sign language) or raised dots (Braille). Speech refers to the ability to articulate the sounds that make up language (for example: /b/, /w/, /sh/ etc.) clearly and accurately.

All languages have four main components:

  • phonology  - sounds
  • morphology (morphemes and words) and syntax (sentences) - grammar (rules)
  • semantics - meaning and vocabulary
  • pragmatics - use and social function of language