Specialist Programs

At the West Coast Language Development Centre our curriculum and specialised language programs are run collaboratively by specially trained Teachers, Speech Pathologists and Education Assistants. Our staff participate in regular professional learning to ensure knowledge and application of current research.

Our early learning intervention programme is designed to support and optimise the language learning and academic capacity of children with developmental language disorder.

They will have access to….

  • small group sessions with a speech pathologist in the classroom.
  • specialised language instruction.
  • W.A. curriculum based learning goals addressing individual language needs.
  • small class sizes, lessening communication overload.
  • classmates that learn and socialise in a similar way.

Oral Language

Our planning for students is driven by the following language areas:


Semantics refers to the ability to express and understand the meanings of words and concepts used in our language.  Semantic organisation skills help us to organise knowledge and make sense of the world. The development of semantic organisation skills are the building blocks of language – both receptive and expressive and form a critical part of learning language. These skills include labelling objects and actions, organising things into categories, understanding similarities and differences, describing objects, synonyms and antonyms, word definitions, figurative language.


Narrative is an oral or written discourse that relates real or fictional events that are temporally sequenced and convey meaning. Narratives are what we use to understand, remember & recount experience. As children progress through early primary, narratives become central to learning about themselves and others. To tell a story, a child must be able to relate a chain of events in such a way as to explain what happened to whom and why.

Narrative discourse falls between oral and literate language because it relies on a familiar structure – a story grammar that provides support for comprehension. It is a bridge from oral to literate language. Narrative skills are important in predicting school success. Young children relate personal experiences which are the earliest forms of oral narrative. They have a simple structure that is based on a sequence of events. Later narratives are imaginative and involve the manipulation of characters, plot and time.

Phonological Awareness

Phonological awareness involves the understanding and knowledge ofthe sound structure of spoken language. It includes the ability to identify and separate the sounds or phonemes in words and manipulate them. Phonological awareness helps young children grasp how the alphabetic system works and supports the move from hearing sounds to mapping onto letters in preparation for phonic instruction.  Phonological awareness is a primary indicator for early reading success.


Comprehension refers to the understanding and interpretation of what we hear, see and read. It is a complex process that involves integration of skills at multiple levels, from understanding single words to understanding discourse in a social and cultural context. Comprehension includes: attending and processing language; understanding the linguistic components of language; drawing on world and social knowledge; understanding our feelings and those of others; using inferential skills to infer cause-effect relationships and to make predictions and monitoring our understanding.

Grammar and Syntax

Grammar refers to the set of rules that govern how we put language together to express our intended meaning; its includes syntax and morphology. Syntax refers to the grammatical organisation of words in sentences and includes both simple (e.g. The cat ran) and complex sentences structures (e.g. The cat ran up the tree because the dog was chasing her).

Pragmatics: Social Skills

Social skills are highly rule governed behaviours (non-verbal, verbal & cognitive) that we use in our interactions with others. They allow us to  us to initiate, maintain & sustain social interactions, as well as dealing with more difficult conflictual situations. Well developed social skills help us to negotiate, compromise, complain, apologies, compliment, persuade and work cooperatively within a group. Social skills underpin the critical development of peer relationships.

I Get It! The road to comprehension

The I Get It! Comprehension Program is a package that unpacks comprehension systematically. Each chapter focuses on a critical skill or strategy and has an icon to represent these, e.g. a lock and key represents problem/solution. The icons are visual reminders to help the student’s working memory. Each comprehension strategy is taught as a routine, starting with very hands-on lessons then progressing through to literature and literacy. The package has been designed for teacher ease of use with many lessons, posters and activities available for each strategy.

I Get it Order Form

I Tell It! Unpacking narrative and expository language/texts

The I Tell It! resource focuses on the processes and strategies that teachers can use to teach oral and written narrative with links to expository structures. It includes icons that can be used to support the learning of the overall structure and development of all text types (fiction and non-fiction). It covers critical developmental pathways, assessment and targeted strategies with associated resources. The book includes sections on how to make interventions work through scaffolding, guided implementation of strategies and repeated practice.

I Tell it Order Form