Children with language difficulties in the Cloverdale area have new premises.
Education Minister Colin Barnett officially opened the South East Metro Language Development Centre (SEMLDC) in Cloverdale, which has 110 students ranging in age from five to seven years.
Mr Barnett said students attending the school had specific language impairments which adversely affected their ability to communicate and attain normal literacy levels.
The SEMLDC shares a part of the Belmay Primary School campus. The centre also has off-site classes at Kingsley PS catering for students aged six and seven years.
“In 2001, an off-site class for eight-year-olds will be established at Kingsley Primary School,” the Minister said.
“Research shows children with language disorders can have difficulty developing social skills.
“New research also shows language difficulties can continue into adulthood.
“However, the students in our language development centres are able to develop better strategies to help them deal with their problems.
“The Education Department’s four language development centres have been very successful in facilitating the improvement of students’ language and social skills.
“The specialised programs, which the students are involved in, are divided into the areas such as values education, personal improvement, social skills, all language and literacy areas, peer group access, conflict resolution, responsiveness and assertiveness.
“Children entering the centres are often two to three years behind their peers in the language area.
“The students attend the centre for between two to five years before returning to regular primary schools.
“Students usually make significant gains and are able to access literacy when they leave.”
Mr Barnett said the language centres had speech pathologists working with teachers to develop innovative learning programs catering for the students’ special needs.
During the opening, he witnessed students engaged in learning programs which provide a broad overview of the school.
These tasks included working in small groups with staff in programs such as semantics, narrative, social skills, art and comprehension.
Media contact: Diana Callander 9222 9699