Like speech development, language also develops in stages. Click here to see language development in the first five years. When we look at language skills we are seeing how a child understands language (receptive language) and how a child produces language (expressive language). We may also look at how a child uses language to communicate in different language contexts (pragmatic and social language).
For very young children like toddlers, we sometimes need to look at how a child interacts with parents and caregivers before we can work on developing language skills.
For pre-schoolers and children starting school, the following are examples of language intervention:
- help with improving their listening comprehension and attention skills;
- improving grammar and sentences;
- improving vocabulary and word retrieval skills;
- helping with sequencing their ideas and thoughts;
For primary school children we continue with grammar, vocabulary, listening skills (auditory processing) and skills that help with literacy development and learning in the classroom. We also look at written expression and writing.
ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE
If your child was/is a late talker in your home or first language, he or she may struggle to learn English. It is very important for a therapist to understand your child’s home or first language ability. Most parents, especially of first born children, sometimes find it challenging to give an accurate account of their child’s language development in the home or first language. It is therefore important that an objective translator or bilingual speech therapist of that home language is able to assess your child’s first language skills.
Translation services, part of NSW Health, are available to speech pathologists working in community health centres. We strongly recommend that if you have any concerns about your child’s home or first language skills that you contact your local community health centre straight away. Wait-lists for younger children can be long so the sooner you contact your local community health centre, the sooner your child will be assessed.
Ryde Community Health Centre (on Blaxland Rd) Speech Pathology intake number is 9448 6877. School aged children between 5 to 7 years of age are offered assessments only not therapy. You will need a medicare card to access the service.