Speech Pathology News: Concepts

The speech pathology team have almost complete the oral language assessments for all students with the support of classroom teachers and education assistant. We are now in the process of analysing the information. In the next couple of weeks we will work with teachers to establish some key oral language goals for classes and individual students.

As discussed in our previous newsletter, we look at each students’ understanding of language (receptive language) and their use of language (expressive language). One of the key areas we look at when exploring our students’ understanding of language is their understanding of concepts. These concepts are critical for understanding and following instructions in the classroom and to understanding content in many curriculum areas such as maths.

These concepts include:

  • Location concepts (For example, Point to the star in the top row. Circle the bee that is next to the flower. Colour the boy that is behind the sandcastle). Other location concepts include – bottom, in front, between, above, below, furthest from, closest to, right and left.
  • Sequence concepts (For example, Put a cross on the boat at the beginning of the line. Circle the last bird. Point to the middle kite. Other sequence concepts include – first, second, third.
  • Inclusion / exclusion concepts. (For example, Circle the socks that are underlined. Colour all the pictures except the rabbits. Point to all but one pen. Circle the picture that is neither a frog nor a turtle). Other inclusion / exclusion concepts include – all in one row, either/or. Working on instructions including ‘and’ helps the children to recall three items e.g. Circle the tiger, the lion and the cheetah).
  • Time concepts (For example, Before you point to the fish, point to the shark. After you point to the ladybird, point to the butterfly.)
  • Conditional concepts. (For example: If the doll is in the box, put the box on the truck)
  • Negatives. (For example, Circle the square but not the one that is black)

You can support your child with these concepts at home by:

Emphasising key concepts as you talk about daily routines and activities.  For example: “You put the toothpaste on the toothbrush.”; “You put the toothbrush in the cup”, “The red car came first and the black car came last”.

Giving your child instructions using the key concepts as they complete daily routines or help with tasks around the home. For example the washing – “Find all the t-shirts but not the black ones.” Or setting the table “Put the knife next to the plate”, “Put the glass above the plate.”

Play Games such as Twister, Connect Four and Pop Up Pirate where you can modify the game and include different concepts. As your child becomes comfortable you can take turns giving instructions using the concepts. Twister -“Put your right foot on a blue dot.”, “ Put your hand above a green dot.”.  “Stand next to a red dot.”  Connect Four – “Put a yellow counter above the red counter,” “Put a red counter next to a yellow counter.” “Put the red counter on the left.” Pop Up Pirate – “Put a sword in but not a blue one”, “Put all but one yellow sword in.” “Put a red one in before a green one.

Keep the interactions fun and enjoyable. You are not testing your child, but just exposing them to language and helping them to tune into words. Only persist with the activity for as long as your child is interested. Little and often is sometimes just as powerful as lots of time on one activity.

Speech Pathology News: Welcome from the Speech Team

Welcome to Term One 2022! It has been lovely to welcome back many familiar faces and also get to know many new students and families. Last week the speech pathology team spent time in each class observing and interacting with students. We enjoyed hearing about exciting holiday activities and observing the use of language in a variety of contexts.

This week the team has begun completing our more formalised assessments program alongside the teachers. This assessment varies from year group to year group, but all focus on identifying how well students understand what they hear (receptive language) and put ideas into sentences (expressive language). This helps us build a profile of each student’s strengths and weaknesses. We then look at individual language areas (sound awareness, sentence structure, grammar, vocabulary) and how these are applied to tasks such as storytelling. The information gathered in this process is used in establishing the oral language goals for students’ Individualised Education Plans (IEP) and the class oral language programs. Teachers will share this information with you when they share the IEP later in the term.

The speech pathology team for this year is as follows:

  • Rachael Edwards – 2 days a week at the Willagee Site
  • Megan Griffiths – 5 days a week between the Bull Creek and Willagee Sites
  • Jasmyn Hall – 3 days over 5 at the Beeliar and Willagee Sites
  • Mikayla Orzanski – 3 days aver 4 days at the Willagee and Beeliar Sites
  • Elly Busby – 2 days at the Willagee Site

For those of you who were with us last year you may observe a few changes in the list.  In term 4 last year we said good bye to Nicole Chambers but we were delighted to welcome back Rachael Edwards from her maternity leave. We have also temporarily said good-bye to Sarah Ferdinand, who has also taken leave for this year, but we look forward to welcoming her back in the future.

The speech pathology team is looking forward to working with you and your child to support your child’s oral language needs.

The Fremantle LDC Speech Pathology Team

Speech Pathology News: Comprehension Reasoning Skills

It is important for children to develop cause and effect and reasoning  skills. One way to help your child to develop these skills is to ask ‘Why?’ and ‘How do you know?’ or ‘How can you tell?’ questions when reading picture books together. Encourage your children to provide relevant and specific answers to these types of questions.

When asking ‘Why?’ questions, support your child to use the joining word’ because’.

When asking ‘How can you tell?” questions, encourage your child to ‘look for clues’ in the pictures.

  • Ask “Why is the dog happy?” and model the answer “The dog is happy because the girl is feeding him”.
  • Ask “How can you tell that the dog is happy?” (We can tell the dog is happy because we can see he is wagging his tail).

Encouraging children to search for visual clues when they predict, inference and reason assists in the development of comprehension skills.

At Fremantle LDC we talk to the students about being a good detective like Mr Goodguess. Using a magnifying glass is a fun way of identifying important clues.

Developing prediction skills using story books

  • Encourage the children to use language like: “my guess is…”, “I think that…”, “I predict that….”
  • Before reading a story, encourage children to guess ‘who’ might be in the story or ‘where’ the story might be set. Talk about what might give you some good clues (for example the pictures on the front cover of the words in the title)
  • It is important to check if the prediction or guess is correct. Sometimes what we expect might happen doesn’t! Tell your child that it doesn’t matter if their guess or prediction was wrong, as long as they made a good prediction based on clues.
  • You can model language like “I first thought the story was about… but now that I have read the story I know it is about…”
  • You can also ask your child to think about “what might happen next?” based on previous clues as you turn the pages in story books.
  • Ask your child to guess how the characters are feeling. Use the character’s facial expressions and body language as clues.

Some children find it difficult to reason, particularly when they are required to ignore the ‘red herring’ and focus on the main idea.

For example, “Someone has a cold. What tells us this?” (the person is sneezing and there is medicine on the table, not that it is cold outside).

The Fremantle LDC Speech Pathology Team



Speech Pathology News: Following Instructions

Being able to follow instructions is important for everyday life. Children need to be able to follow the instructions of the teacher in the classroom, parents at homes and even during activities with their friends and the wider community.

Following instructions requires a sound knowledge of basic concepts and the ability to process and retain auditory information.

At Fremantle LDC we support children to develop their understanding of:

  • Location Concepts – For example; Point to the star in the top row. Circle the bee that is next to the flower. Colour the boy that is behind the sandcastle. Other location concepts include – bottom, in front, between, above, below, furthest from, closest to, right, left.
  • Sequence Concepts – For example; Put a cross on the boat at the beginning of the line. Circle the last biscuit. Other sequence concepts include middle, first, second, third.
  • Inclusion and Exclusion Concepts –   For example; Circle all the cats except the black one. Point to all but one of the apples. Circle the picture that is neither an animal nor a plant. Other inclusion and exclusion concepts include – all in one row, either/or.
  • Time Concepts – For example; Colour the bird before you colour the lion. After you point to the ladybird, point to the butterfly.
  • Conditional Concepts – For example; If the doll is in the box put the box on the truck.
  • Instructions with Negatives – For example; Circle the squares but not the red ones.

We support students to understand the concepts through explicit teaching and modelling of the concept followed by many opportunities to practice. At home, you can reinforce these concepts through simple instruction following games such as a modified version of Simon Says. In this game Simon always says what needs to be done, but the instruction includes a concepts your child is learning. For example “Simon says touch your head before you touch your toes.”  If your child follows through praise them and give another instruction. If not, do it and let them copy you as you do the actions. Have five turns and then swap roles. Begin with simple concepts your child knows before introducing less familiar ones. Location and Sequence Concepts can be a good place to start.