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Children with SLCN and link with behavioural, emotional and social disorders26

A specific area of investigation was the potential link between SLCN and behavioural, emotional and social disorders (BESD).  There were a number of drivers for this investigation:

  • Increasing evidence of relatively high incidence of SLCN in populations of children and young people described as having BESD. 
  • Increasing work by speech and language therapists in the youth justice system confirming high levels of SLCN in this population, many of whom would have had a classification of BESD as part of an SEN profile.
  • The observation of the decrease in the use of SLCN as a primary category of need at the end of KS2 alongside an increase in the category of BESD in KS3

There was a growing assumption that the same cohort identified as SLCN in EY and KS1 was being re-categorised as BESD at KS3.

 The evidence from analysis of the national dataset showed a different picture


This evidence regarding change over time should in no way be interpreted as suggesting that BESD and SLCN (and ASD) do not have a significant interface.