This information is purely to allow a reader to identify or empathise with a child’s communication challenges they may want to know a little more about.  It is not intended to replace a consultation with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner.  

Communication is an essential part of life and is fundamental to children’s development.  Children need to be able to understand and be understood – it is the foundation of relationships and is essential for learning, play and social interaction.

Communication is not always verbal in nature.  Look at how your child communicates.  Your child’s communication will depend on their ability to interact with you.  Their communication will depend on HOW they communicate and why they are communicating.  It will also depend on your child’s level of understanding so it is important to know what your child can and cannot do.


There are a number of warning signs to look out for in your child. These include:

  • A delay in learning to speak or difficulties ‘getting the words out’
  • Difficulties expressing needs and wants
  • Difficulties understanding what people are saying
  • Inappropriate attention seeking behaviour such as whining, hitting or throwing
  • The use of gestural cues or sounds instead of words to communicate
  • A lack of motivation to play with items or other people
  • Problems with concentration or distractability school
  • High levels of frustration or anger
  • Problems making friends or maintaining friends

Language is how we get to know each other and build relationships. As parents we talk and listen to our child, which helps them develop and learn as well as forging close connections.

Language is the vehicle for learning. It is the means by which teachers teach and children learn. Imagine trying to learn and understand new information without the ability to listen, understand and talk…

If children can’t say words, they will be more likely to have difficulties in ‘sounding out’ words for reading and spelling, or writing them down. If children can’t understand the words they hear, they will struggle to understand what they have read.


Children who are struggling with their communication are more likely to have behaviour difficulties. Many children with identified behaviour needs have previously unidentified speech, language and communication needs. Imagine the frustration of not getting your message across.

Friendships are incredibly important for children. Making and keeping friends is difficult if you have poor communication skills. Children often choose friends who are good at communicating, so children with difficulties are doubly disadvantaged.

Self-esteem and confidence is affected. Children with communication needs often see themselves as less able and less popular than their friends. Young people identify good communication skills as important for feeling confident.

Do these Sunflower stories resonate with you?

Here are just a handful of stories to give you a flavour of how we have supported children, young people and their families. Supporting children to thrive is what Sunflower is good at.

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