What are the criteria for entry?
1.The child must have a significant primary language disorder in one or more language areas.
2.The child needs to demonstrate evidence of learning potential within the average or above average range.
3.The child needs to demonstrate sound adaptive behaviour skills, substantiated by observed descriptive evidence of the child’s behaviour in his/her current educational placement or in his/her home.
Language development should be the main developmental area of concern. A speech pathologist will need to complete a number of formal and informal speech pathology assessments to determine if a child is a suitable LDC candidate. The child’s non-verbal skills (non-verbal intelligence) must be identified as falling in the average or above average range. A school psychologist should be contacted to perform a cognitive assessment if applying for a place in Pre Primary or Year 1. It is strongly recommended that children applying for a Kindergarten place are assessed by a paediatrician. Children must also have sound adaptive behaviour skills. This means they need to demonstrate that they will be able to settle into the school environment and participate well.
Children with learning difficulties in areas other than language, global developmental delays or those learning English as a second language may be best supported through other services. Children who are learning English as a second language may be eligible for entry if there are also delays/difficulties in their primary (home) language. Speak to a speech pathologist if you are unsure if a child will be a suitable applicant.
Can we view the centre before deciding to apply?
Should the current precautions around mass gatherings be lifted, the NEMLDC will be holding an Open Day on Friday the 23rd of July 2021. On this day families are invited to view the centre and ask questions about placement. Registration is essential by phoning the office on 9218 1600 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
How long will my child stay in the LDC?
The LDCs are considered short term educational facilities. It is the aim to return children to mainstream classrooms as soon as they demonstrate age appropriate speech, language and social skills. A range of assessments and interviews are conducted to determine when a child is ready to exit the centre. Upon exit, a fully supported transition programme to a mainstream school is implemented.
How do I enrol my child in an LDC?
If you wish to refer your child to the NEMLDC, please talk to a speech pathologist who can start the process if appropriate. Please note that the referral process can take time and public services often have lengthy waitlists. As such it is recommended that you get in contact with a speech pathologist as soon as possible if you have any concerns regarding your child’s language development. Referrals to the NEMLDC are accepted from public and private speech pathology services. Please note that you do not need a referral from your GP to access private speech pathology services – simply call and make an appointment.
Children can apply for entry to Kindergarten, Pre Primary or Year 1 place. Numbers of places available vary from year to year, although most places are generally available for children entering into Kindergarten and Pre Primary.
After speaking with a speech pathologist and deciding to proceed with a referral, there are a number of assessments and forms to be completed as part of an application pack. It is important to commence the referral process a number months before the closing date. Late referrals will not be accepted.
Step 1: Developmental Assessment OR School Psychologist Assessment
The purpose of the developmental or psychological assessment is to ensure that the LDC is the most appropriate option for the child. If the child is already attending school they should be assessed by the School Psychologist before the speech pathologist commences referral assessment. The School Psychologist will use an IQ test and a behaviour checklist. This assessment is a compulsory part of all applications for children already attending school. A parent can contact the school and request the assessment directly or they may ask your speech pathologist to contact the school on their behalf. If the applicant is going into Kindergarten, a developmental assessment conducted by a Paediatrician is highly recommended. A GP can refer a child to a private Paediatrician and a Medicare rebate may apply. Alternatively, a speech pathologist may be able to refer for a developmental assessment through a local Child Development Centre. This service is free, but the wait is much longer. A developmental assessment is not compulsory for children going into Kindergarten, but can add weight to an application and is highly recommended.
Step 2: Speech Pathology Assessment
A speech pathologist will perform the required speech pathology assessments and complete the necessary paperwork to support the application. Up to four appointments may be needed to complete the formal and informal assessments.
Step 3: Parent/Teacher Questionnaire
If the child is already attending school, their teacher will be asked to fill out a questionnaire. When completed the form can be sent directly to the LDC Referral Team or passed onto the speech pathologist. If the child is not attending school, a parent or carer will be asked to complete a form with the speech pathologist.
Who decides if a referral is accepted?
A placement committee consisting of the school principal, deputy principal, speech pathologists and school psychologist carefully considers all information provided in the application package. Each case is discussed individually. The decision to accept or decline the referral depends upon the applicant meeting entry criteria, priority ranking and the number of places available.
When will parents be notified of the outcome?
Letters indicating the referral outcomes are sent out in November each year. A pre-placement information session is held shortly after this time for those applicants who are successful. If the referral is not successful, parents are encouraged to speak to their speech pathologist about future management/educational placement options. Support for children with speech and language difficulties placed in mainstream schools is available through the North East Metropolitan LDC Outreach Service.
For more information about referral, including referral documents and due dates, click here
For more information about the NEMLDC please view the NEMLDC School Brochure