Frequently Asked Questions

What are Language Development Centres (LDCs)?

  • LDCs are Department of Education schools that cater for children with an identified Language Disorder. The LDCs provide specialised language intervention on an intensive basis. The program is for an identified population of children with average intelligence whose academic and social performance is limited by seriously delayed / disordered language development.
  • Within the Perth metropolitan area there are five LDC’s that each have a specific catchment area, and together cover the whole metropolitan area. At present there are no LDC’s located outside the metropolitan area.
  • The LDC’s are all located on the site of a mainstream school. This enables the children to receive a specialised program in a regular school environment.
  • South East Language Development Centre (SELDC) is one school with three campuses to allow children to attend a campus close to their home.
  • Our Cloverdale Campus (including the Administration) is situated on the same site as Belmay Primary School and has classes from Kindergarten to Year 3. Children from these metropolitan suburbs attend the indicated campus

Cloverdale (based at Belmay Primary School)

Ascot

Lathlain

Beckenham

Lesmurdie

Belmont

Maida Vale

Bentley

Manning

Bickley

Paulls Valley

Burswood

Perth Airport

Canning Mills**

Pickering Brook

Cannington

Piesse Brook

Carlisle

Queens Park

Carmel

Redcliffe

Cloverdale

Rivervale

Como

Salter Point

East Cannington

South Guildford**

East Victoria Park

South Perth

Forrestfield

St James

Gooseberry Hill

Victoria Park

Hazelmere**

Walliston

High Wycombe

Waterford

Kalamunda

Wattle Grove

Karawara

Welshpool

Kensington

Wilson

Kenwick**

Kewdale

Maddington (based at East Maddington Primary School)

Champion Lakes**

Maddington**

Gosnells**

Martin**

Harrisdale

Orange Grove

Huntingdale

Southern River

Jandakot**

Thornlie

Leeming**

Armadale (based at Kingsley Primary School)

Anketell**

Jarrahdale

Armadale

Karrakup

Banjup**

Kelmscott

Bedfordale

Mt Nasura

Brookdale

Mt Richon

Byford

Oakford

Cardup

Piara Waters

Camillo

Roleystone

Darling Downs

Seville Grove

Forrestdale**

Wandi

Harrisdale

Wungong

Haynes

Hilbert

** split boundaries

What type of children attend a Language Development Centre(LDC)?

  • LDCs cater for a population of children who have significant language disorders but who have intelligence within the normal range and have sound adaptive behaviour skills.
  • There are some other groups of children who have language difficulties for whom the LDC may not be the most appropriate placement. For some children their difficulties in learning are not confined to the area of language but fall across many areas. For other children their difficulty is in acquiring English as a Second Language. For children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds differential diagnosis is often very difficult, and may involve collaboration between a number of professionals (e.g. Speech Pathologists, Psychologists, ESL Specialist Staff) provided by the Department of Education WA.
  • Children who do not meet the LDC criteria will not be offered a place. Although a LDC may not be the most appropriate placement for these children, the Department of Education WA has a range of services and placements that may better meet these children’s needs. These options are best explored through discussion with the child’s local school Principal.

Can I visit the LDC before referral?

  • At South East LDC this year we will run an Information Session in Term 2. This provides an opportunity to see where the school is and what it looks like, how the classes are set up and to ask questions. It is important to note that attendance at the information session has no bearing on a child’s chances at placement – all children are considered equally, regardless of whether Parents/Caregivers have attended the information session. It is just a chance to help Parents/Caregivers in their decision making and thinking about LDC referral.
  • Appointments can be arranged through the school administration if parents/caregivers or professionals would like to view one of our off-site campuses.

How much does it cost?

  • The LDC is a government funded education facility and as such school fees are set by the Department of Education and are voluntary. At South East LDC the school fees are currently set at $60 for the whole year. Excursions and incursions require additional payment throughout the school year. Fees set for these events are very reasonable, and none of these events are compulsory.

Can a child attend part time

  • Generally the answer to this is no. In order for a child to gain maximum benefit from the placement they need to attend the full program.

    • Pre-Primary to Year 3 students attend five full days a week
    • Kindergarten students attend 15 hours a week. We use a fortnightly timetable of 2 days one week 3 days in the second week.

If my child does not get in to the LDC are there any other options for support?

  • The Department of Education is committed to providing the best learning environment for every child and thus a range of interventions and services are available in main-stream schools for children who have learning difficulties.
  • Each Language Development Centre has an Outreach service which provides training and consultative support to staff and teachers working with students who have identified speech and language difficulties in mainstream schools. The Outreach service consists of a team of Support Officers for Speech and Language. Services include consultation, professional development, network group support and resource links dependent upon student need. Requests for services must come via the school administration.

How many places are available at the LDC?

  • There is no way of providing an exact answer to this question – as each year the number of available places and the number of children referred vary. The mix of children and classes at each LDC changes from year to year – it is dependent on the numbers of children that exit each year and this information is not usually available until mid Term 4. The LDCs are usually in the position of having more appropriate children referred than we have places to offer.

What classes are there at the LDC?

  • Emphasis is given to early intervention with enrolments concentrated on Kindergarten, Pre-Primary and Year 1. Children are able to enter the Language Centre in Kindergarten, Pre-Primary and Year 1. Children continue into Year 3 at the Language Centre on a needs basis. Within the Language Development Centre’s Outreach Service there is provision across both metropolitan and country districts with opportunities for students with speech and language difficulties to receive support in their local communities.

When do children enter the LDC?

  • Most children start at the LDC at the beginning of the following school year after referral.

Is an LDC like a mainstream school?

  • Whilst the LDC has many similarities to a mainstream school the overall focus tends to be somewhat more specific. However, as the aim of the program is to exit children back into their mainstream school the curriculum must be similar enough to allow this transition to occur. The classroom curriculum is an adapted mainstream curriculum with a major emphasis on oral language and literacy development. Specific oral language sessions are held during the week to promote particular language areas (e.g. narrative, phonological awareness, semantics, social skills, and syntax).
  • A wide range of teaching techniques and resources are used. These include individual and small group work, and specific language activities. Children are encouraged to learn through ‘hands on experiences’ and outings as well as very explicit teaching of language skills.

How big are the classes at the LDC?

  • The class sizes at South East LDC are small – only 10 or 12 children per Kindergarten class and usually 12 to 14 children per Pre-Primary and Primary class. This allows for significantly more adult – child interaction and teaching time. Often additional adults are present in the classroom for a particular lesson (e.g. Support Teachers, Teacher Assistants, Speech Pathologist), which increases this ratio.

Are the Teachers at the LDC specially trained?

  • Although there is no special qualification for Teachers at LDCs, Teachers receive an intensive professional development program at the LDC ensuring they have current knowledge and skills in the areas of language development and language disorders. Teaching positions within the LDCs are highly sought after and thus the selection procedure is highly competitive. This ensures a high calibre of teaching staff at the LDC.

Do the LDC children integrate with mainstream children?

  • At the South East LDC the LDC children integrate with the mainstream school children during playtime and lunchtime, at some sporting events (e.g. swimming, athletics), assemblies and any special joint functions.

How will my child’s progress be reviewed at the LDC?

At South East LDC each child’s progress is monitored closely through a number of means. These include:

  • Oral Language Testing – each child receives individual oral language testing by the Speech Pathologist and Teachers. This information is used to set individual (and group) goals for the children.
  • Progress Reviews – this consists of a meeting between the child’s Teacher and Speech Pathologist. Oral language and speech profiles are discussed and goals set for each child. An ongoing profile of all testing and comments about language areas is filled in and kept in the child’s file. This information then forms the basis of an Individual Language Plan (ILP) for each child. The ILP is discussed with the parents.
  • School Reports or Portfolios (end of Terms 2 & 4) – these provide a means of informing Parents of their child’s progress within oral language and other curriculum areas.
  • Any input from the Speech Pathologist is recorded. The Speech Pathologist is always available and willing to make a time to meet with parents to discuss any concerns/issues.
  • Case Conferences (when requested/required) – this consists of a meeting between the child’s Parent, Teacher, Speech Pathologist and the LDC Principal or Deputy. This meeting provides a verbal summary of the child’s progress over the year and also a chance to discuss future placement (i.e. whether the child will stay at the LDC next year or exit to another school).
  • Exit testing (Terms 3 & 4) – if it is felt that the child may be ready to leave the LDC then a battery of standardised oral language tests are completed to determine the child’s current language skills. Profiles and ILP’s are discussed by the teacher, speech pathologists and principal. This is compared to their past language performance and their current literacy skills. Decisions regarding the child’s readiness to exit are made on this information. This information is discussed with Parents/Caregivers at a Case Conference.

How long will my child stay at the LDC?

  • At South East LDC children generally stay at the Centre anywhere between 1 to 5 years
    (K – Year 3). The amount of time a child stays is highly variable between individual children and depends on a number of factors – such as the severity of the language / literacy problem, the age of entry into the LDC, the child’s progress whilst at the LDC, and the Parents’ wishes.

Can I be involved in the LDC Program?

  • The staff at South East  LDC believe that children cannot achieve their potential without the support and involvement of parents, thus parental involvement is actively encouraged. Classroom Teachers all encourage parent help in the classroom and there is a very active School Board and P&C in which parents can become involved. The school encourages parents to make contact with each other in order to provide support and friendship to each other.

Do I have to transport my child to the LDC?

  • School Bus Services (operated by Public Transport Authority) provides transport assistance to eligible parents who have a child attending a Language Development Centre. This may be a free bus service or conveyance allowance; an amount per kilometre paid to help meet the cost of transporting eligible students to and from school in a private vehicle. The children are picked up from home in the morning and dropped off at home in the afternoon. The children are supervised on the bus journey by a Bus Aide. For more information or to submit an application for transport assistance, visit the School Bus Services website.

  • Whilst every attempt is made to place children on buses, this cannot always be guaranteed. The best way to get a child on a bus is for Parents to apply as soon as they accept a place at the LDC. An application for bus transport must be made online through  School Bus Services. The LDC school officer can assist parents with this application. Time spent traveling on the bus is variable for each child and depends on a number of factors such as distance from the centre and the number of children on that bus run. Transportation is generally not provided for students attending Kindergarten as it is felt that they are too young to travel safely on the bus, but applications for Kindergarten children may be successful.

Do they wear a uniform at the LDC?

  • All LDCs are located on the site of a mainstream primary school. The students of this school have a uniform and the LDC children are encouraged to also wear the uniform.

Who provides the Therapy at the LDC?

  • Speech Pathology services at the South East LDC are provided by the Department of Education WA. Kindergarten and Pre-primary LDC children who require individual therapy for speech sound disorders, fluency or voice issues will continue to be seen by their referring Speech Pathologist during their Kindergarten and Pre-Primary years. From Year 1 onwards, children are managed by the LDC Speech Pathologists for speech sound disorders (programs written by the Speech Pathologist are implemented by an Education Assistant). Any children still requiring fluency/voice therapy will continue to see their referring Speech Pathologist. It is important to note that our speech pathologists DO NOT give individual therapy sessions to children.

What type of Speech Pathology services are provided at the LDC?

  • Each LDC has the services of Speech Pathologists, who are responsible for assessing the children’s language, setting language objectives for the children’s programs, inservicing LDC Teachers, running Parent workshops, and providing class based intervention in collaboration with Teachers. Children are usually not withdrawn for individual ‘therapy’ at the Centre – they receive ongoing group language work in their classrooms through the Teachers. Some children, however, will require individual therapy (usually for speech sound disorders) and our speech therapists will speak to parents about accessing this. Other children with individual needs may work with a Teacher or Education Assistant carrying out a program set and supervised by the Speech Pathologist. Children receiving individual therapy are expected to complete home activities (with an adult) on a daily basis. At South East LDC Speech Pathologists work on a collaborative model. A significant amount of their time is spent inservicing teachers and being involved in joint planning to ensure that the children’s language needs are met in the classroom program. Therapists also spend time in classrooms working alongside the teacher focussing on specific language goals.

Will my child receive other therapy at the LDC (e.g. Occupational Therapy / Physiotherapy)?

  • No. Children who require other therapy services (e.g. Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy) will need to access these services through Private or Local Community Therapists. This should be negotiated directly by the Parent (e.g. with current service providers).

Will my child still have to attend outside therapy whilst attending the LDC?

  • Children who are in the Kindergarten and Pre-Primary programs receive ‘language’ intervention from the LDC but continue to attend their local Speech Pathologist (e.g. at their local Government Speech Pathology Clinic or Private Speech Pathology Service) if they require work on their ‘speech’ skills (i.e. if they are having trouble pronouncing speech sounds – e.g. articulation difficulties/phonological disorder/Childhood Apraxia of Speech).
  • Children in the Primary level program (i.e. Year 1 – 3) have their ‘language’ needs met through the LDC, and in fact often become ineligible for outside Government Speech Pathology services. Most children attending the LDC do not need to access outside Speech Pathology however occasionally supplementary Private Speech Pathology may be suggested. Parents are encouraged to discuss this with the LDC Speech Pathologist so that this can be coordinated appropriately.
  • Children who require Occupational Therapy or Physiotherapy will need to access these services outside of the LDC Program. With all outside therapy appointments we ask that Parents attempt to book children in at times that are outside of LDC hours (e.g. after school or on the weekend). This ensures that children do not miss out on crucial programs and lessons at the LDC.

How will I know when my child is ready to leave?

  • There are a number of factors that determine when an individual child is ready to leave the LDC but they have the option to remain until the end of Year 3 having had two or three years of intensive intervention. Some children make pleasing progress and thus it may be decided that they will be able to learn in a mainstream classroom environment at an earlier age. For other children there may come a time when their language difficulty may no longer be the primary difficulty and thus an alternative placement may be sought.

Will my child be “cured” of their language difficulties?

  • Research suggests that language disorders are present throughout life, but that the way they present varies. Therefore children with language disorders will not be ‘cured’ of their language difficulties. Rather, the aim of the LDC placement is to teach the child strategies to enable them to better deal with the language difficulties they experience. LDC placement also provides the child with a supportive early educational experience, with direct support for literacy development and social skills, plus the appropriate speech and language intervention. Therefore the impact of the child’s language difficulties can be minimised.

What will happen to my child after they leave the LDC – where will they go?

  • At the time a decision to exit the child is made, the placement committee will make recommendations about the most appropriate placement for the child. This varies, however the most common recommendation is for the child to attend their local mainstream school with support negotiated for the child if necessary.

Will my child get support when they leave?

At South East LDC there is a supported exit process involving

  • A visit prior to exit when the child attends their new school for one day then comes back to the LDC so that any immediate problems and worries the child has can be ironed out. More visits may occur if a child requires a more gradual exit from the Centre.
  • An exit report is written by the LDC Speech Pathologist. Any strategies that have been found to be helpful for that particular child will be included in a handover package.
  • Opportunity for the child’s new mainstream teacher to attend a Transition Workshop hosted by South East  Language Development Centre and Outreach Service.
  • After children leave the LDC, their mainstream school will be offered support from the Outreach Team. The nature and amount of support varies for each individual according to the student needs and the needs of the mainstream school, and therefore is individually negotiated.