With two students in every classroom having Developmental Language Disorder, and many more students in each classroom with other forms of communication difficulties, schools are seeking ways they can best support these students within their schools. They are looking for ways to build staff capacity to provide this support, as well as direct support for these students, to ensure that each child is provided access to a learning program that suits their individual needs, within the school environment.
Department of Education Schools in the North East Metropolitan Language Development Centre (NEMLDC) catchment area have the opportunity to participate in a 3-year Pilot. Schools participating in the Pilot are provided the opportunity to have a speech pathologist on staff, who can work with staff and / or students according to the School’s need.
The NEMLDC works with the participating School to understand the work of a school based speech pathologist, and to determine what services the speech pathologist would provide and how they could be best utilized in each school. A service agreement is developed and regularly reviewed and adjusted to ensure the school is receiving the required service.
All speech pathologists appointed to schools participate in a full induction program including all Department online PL, and PL in a range of assessments, programs, curriculum and interpersonal skills to ensure that the school receives a staff member who is ready to work in a school environment. Ongoing training, support, review and performance development is also provided.
Schools select the number of days that they wish to have a speech pathologist in their school, and commit a minimum of one year to the Pilot. After the year, the school might select to continue for a second year, or cease participation in the Pilot. Schools might also elect to increase their FTE. Schools are able to commence with the Pilot at any time during the year.
The Pilot commenced in 2021, and interested schools are able to apply for the Pilot at any point. All schools in the catchment area are eligible and are appointed a speech pathologist based on suitability, availability and date of request. As participation in the Pilot is limited, schools are advised to apply as early as possible.
The Pilot is supported by Joanne Harris, Director of Education at the North Metropolitan Regional Office.
Recently schools were provided the opportunity to learn more about the Pilot, the session recorded and available here from September 16th.
Speech Pathologist or Speech Therapist?
This is a very common question, what is the difference?
There is no difference.
The titles speech pathologist and speech therapist are both used to describe the same profession – people who work with communication difficulties and impairments. In Australia the title ‘Speech Pathologist’ is the preferred title, according to Speech Pathology Australia.