South East Metropolitan Language Development Centre is a Western Australian Department of Education school and forms part of the Statewide Speech and Language Service. The Centre provides an intensive early intervention program for children with severe language learning difficulties. Students work on an Individual Language Plan that is driven by data collected by class teachers and speech pathologists. Whilst the overall focus for our school is the development of the child’s language skills, we do this through the Australian Curriculum. Staff across the school have been actively involved in developing pathways for all areas of the curriculum with specific links to language learning structures.

Our planning for students is driven by the following language areas:

  • Semantics
  • Narrative
  • Phonological Awareness
  • Comprehension
  • Syntax
  • Pragmatics: Social Skills

The school has developed extensive planning documents for the following Australian Curriculum areas:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • History

Our Priority Areas are:

Emergent Literacy: Emergent literacy is the developmental process that begins at birth whereby children acquire the foundation for reading and writing (literacy). Children with language difficulties often have fewer opportunities to acquire emergent literacy skills that are related to later success in reading and writing. This priority involves the systematic, explicit and implicit teaching of letter-sound correspondence, blending & segmenting, decoding, handwriting, sight words and supported reading and writing.

Grammar/Syntax: Research has shown a clear link between language difficulties and the normal development of grammar and syntax. Testing has indicated that this is a continuing difficulty for many children at the Language Centre. Goals in grammar and syntax are identified through testing and these form the basis of individual, group and whole class work for the students. Identified grammar & syntax goals are explicitly taught through focused games and direct teaching.

Vocabulary/Semantics: Vocabulary development assists children to know words in order to use and understand them. Through classroom themes and semantic organisation activities, the children are given a meaningful context on which to build their vocabulary. Children are taught how to link the new words to knowledge previously gained. In order to develop a comprehensive vocabulary, children need to be taught all types of words including prepositions, verbs and adverbs as well as nouns. The knowledge of synonyms, antonyms and homonyms is also an essential component of vocabulary building programs.

Text Structure & Comprehension: The ability to understand and use a variety of oral and written text genres enables children to develop from informal texts to the more formal literate text necessary for learning. This priority focuses on explicitly teaching the structure and components of a variety of genres. Understanding the structure of oral and written text is an important link to the development of comprehension.

Social Communication: The ability to communicate effectively is a skill that is essential for all aspects health and well being. Children with language difficulties frequently require assistance in developing appropriate social communication skills. By identifying and understanding feelings in themselves and others, children are better able to read body language in others and modify their own behaviour. Many social communication skills can be taught explicitly using scaffolds and prompts.