About the Communication Service
Special Education employs speech-language therapists and support staff who can work with a child, their teachers and parents if the child has high communication needs.
Speech-language therapists are trained to support children who have difficulties with talking, listening and understanding language.
Who can get this support?
The main focus of the Communication Service is on children with high communication needs who are aged five to eight years.
To receive support from the Communication Service, a child will meet one or more of the following criteria:
- speak in a way that’s very difficult for people to understand, for example have difficulty making speech sounds correctly
- have a significant language delay or disorder, for example they find it difficult to follow instructions and understand what they’ve been asked to do or they can only talk in short sentences
- have difficulty developing social skills, for example, they find it difficult to interact with other children and adults who are familiar to them
- have a stutter, for example frequently repeat words or sounds or get stuck on words so that people have trouble understanding them
- have voice difficulties that make it very difficult for them to communicate with people in typical everyday situations, for example they might have an extremely husky voice or keep losing their voice.
The support available
If a child is assessed as having high communication needs, a speech-language therapist will work with them and their child’s parents and teacher to develop a plan. Support might include:
- an individual therapy programme that’s followed up at home
- help from a teacher’s aide at school/kura
- work in small groups
- classroom strategies for the teacher
- advice and guidance to everyone working with a child to ensure their plan is on track and that they’re making progress
- support from a Communication Support Worker (CSW) – this person works with a speech-language therapist and is trained to provide support within the classroom or works with individual children at school to support speech-language therapy programmes
- support from a kaitakawaenga – this person works with a child, their parents and whänau and the therapist to help develop the most effective and appropriate cultural support.
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