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Play and Communication: helping your little one learn

Health Visitors can  support pre-school children with difficulties they are having with speech, language, and communication. Giving children this early help ensures that they have the full ability to participate in all aspects of daily life. We work in partnership with children, families, and other professionals to ensure they get the best outcome. There are many ways in which we can support you however if further support is required then a referral to Speech and Language Specialists can be made.

As part of the universal Health visiting service every child is offered two development reviews: the first at age 9-11months and the second at 27 months.  Before the review Parents/Carers are asked to complete questionnaires which are focused on key areas of development in a child. One of these areas focuses on speech, language, and communication, and this is an opportunity for the health visitor to understand if there are any delays but also for parents to discuss any concerns they have. Advice and support can be given on ways in which you can help your child in the home, out and about, or at another setting such as nursery or childminders. Therefore attending your development reviews with your child is really important.

There are lots of useful websites to support you all the way including the start for life ‘learning to talk’ website here.

If we pick up any parental concern or find that the child may need additional support we will start with a ‘Speech, Language and Communication’ Bundle delivered by the Early Years Community Practitioners or we may signpost to other services such as the websites below, or your local Children’s Centre. Sometimes we may refer your child for a hearing test, or to Speech and Language therapy, or other Specialist services, but this would always be a decision made in partnership with Parents/Carers.


Learning to talk– Babies and young children love it when you chat, play and read with them.

ICAN talk– Communication support.

Hungry Little Minds– Fun activities for children 0-5.

Tiny Happy People– Fun activities and play ideas.

Libraries– Find your local library.

Bookstart– Free book pack for every baby.

Baby and Toddler Play ideas– Lots of ideas to enjoy.

Our Speech and Language therapists also have useful advice pages here

What if I am worried about my child’s speech?

In the first instance you could look at the links above, some of which give details of what language development to expect and when.

You can also contact your local children’s centre as they often have groups running which give parents useful information to support their child’s learning through play.

If you are concerned you can contact us on our single point of access number: 0300247 0055 and talk to a Health visitor or Early Years Community Practitioner or just drop in to your local Baby and Toddler Hub.