Thank you to everyone for their participation in the Oral Language /Speech Team’s DLD Day Colouring-In Competition. We have enjoyed looking at all the creative work produced. There was lots of discussion about the use of colour (particularly the DLD colours of purple and yellow) the addition of creative elements, the care taken with colouring inside the lines without leaving white showing through and the effort demonstrated. The judging was very challenging but we have selected our winners and the list is below.
This week is a very exciting week for Fremantle Language Development Centre and the Oral Language (Speech) Team. On Friday the 16th of October the Oral Language Team will be supporting DLD Awareness Day by running a colouring in competition for students and sharing information with the wider community about DLD. DLD stands for Developmental Language Disorders. Fremantle Language Development Centre was established specifically to support students with DLD which is why all students are assessed by a speech pathologist before being offered a place in our centre.
Children with DLD have difficulty talking and understanding language and this cannot be explained by another diagnosis such as hearing impairment. DLD can impact on children’s day-to-day communication and their ability to access information in a classroom. It can also make it more difficult to learn to read and write. At Fremantle LDC we support our students to develop both language and literacy skills by using a very explicit approaches to teaching. We explicitly teach things such as vocabulary, sentence structure and sound and letter pattern correspondences. Among many other strategies we also use visual cues and short simple sentences when presenting information to support students’ understanding. We give children plenty of time to respond to questions to help them organise their ideas before speaking.
In the last two weeks the speech pathology team have begun doing some detailed assessment of children who are leaving us at the end of the year. We have also taken some time to review the language goals in preparation for I.E.P. reviews and establishing goals for the next block. One of the areas we typically focus on during intervention is semantic organisation. Semantic organisation is about the relationship between words, sentences and meaning. Semantic organisation skills include being able to:
Label and name objects and actions
Identify associations between words e.g. knife/fork go together because we eat with them
Describe items by colour, shape, size and function
Describe how items are the same and different
Sort items into groups
Understand opposites and synonyms
Know words with multiple meanings e.g. blew/blue
Give definitions for words
At home you can support your child’s semantic skills by involving them in activities around the home like cooking, preparing meals, doing the washing, setting the table and gardening. As you do these tasks talk about the objects you use and what they do, what they are made from and what group they belong to. For example, “We need to set the table. We will need knives to cut our food and forks to hold it. A knife and fork go together because we use them for eating. Knives and forks go in a group called cutlery.” How much information you provide will depend on your child’s skill and interest. As children learn more about the items needed you can turn tasks into a game by giving them clues for the items needed and then your child can find and name the items. For example, “Find some cutlery we use for cutting” (knife). The key to building the skills is lots of repetition of the activities and the words so your child becomes very familiar with them.
You may sometimes hear your child talking about someone in their class called Braidy. Braidy is not a student who suddenly arrived in your child’s class, Braidy is a tool used as part of our narrative program. Each part of the Braidy puppet represents part of a story.
Being able to tell stories is really important for sharing and recounting life events and provides a foundation for written stories. You can support your child with stories at home by using the Braidy language to talk about the stories you read. For example, in your think alouds you could say something like “I think the setting in this story is a billabong because I can see the water and lots of Australian animals around it.” Or “I wonder what the CHARACTER’S PLAN might be.” You can also ask questions about the story using Braidy language for example “WHO are the characters in this story?” or “What was the KICK OFF in this story?” By using the language of Braidy you will be reinforcing what your child is learning at school and helping them to develop an internal structure for stories which will support their talking and writing.