Communication and interaction difficulties

Communication and interaction difficulties describe a range of needs and abilities, including autism and speech, language and communications needs.

Communication and interaction needs look very different from person to person and will change over time as they develop. These difficulties fall into two categories:

  • autism; and
  • speech, language and communication needs.

Children and young people with needs in these areas may have issues around:

  • expressive communication, including choosing words, building sentences and making themselves understood;
  • speech and clarity, including pronunciation difficulties, stammers and problems with the sound or quality of their speaking voice;
  • understanding language, including decoding and processing what is being said to them and being able to follow requests, answer questions and keep up with a conversation; or
  • social rules, including understanding and using facial expression, tone of voice, sarcasm, humour and 'unwritten rules' like eye contact and how close to stand to other people.

Some children and young people who have communication and interaction needs will catch up with their peers with the right support, whilst others will have lifelong needs.

Inclusive education service specialist team

The inclusive education service's specialist team helps to improve teaching and learning for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. In North Yorkshire, the NHS provides speech and language therapy, so referrals for specific assessments of a child or young person's communication and interaction needs will usually be sent directly to the local NHS team.

The inclusive education service offers:

  • assessments and advice on the impact of communication and interaction needs in school;
  • assessments and target setting around other areas of need, such as sensory sensitivities, self-esteem, friendship skills and developing self-advocacy;
  • training to schools, families and others on helping children and young people with communication and interaction difficulties; and
  • specialist interventions as required for children and young people who have a high level of need.

In particular we offer Cygnet parent training for families of children and young people with autism. We also offer training to parents on speech, language and communication needs as well as training for schools, children’s centres and early years settings in how to deliver specialist interventions.