Speech and language impairments

Talk to your preschool or school if you think your child may have a speech or language impairment. They can access support services for children with special needs.

Support services

  • speech pathology services
  • psychology and disability coordinators
  • the Disability Support Program
  • referrals to external providers - eg for speech pathology, psychology or occupational therapy
  • a negotiated education plan which ensures your child receives additional teaching support
  • preschool speech and language programs
  • junior primary speech and language classes.


Children who have been diagnosed with speech and or language impairment may be eligible to access support services.

Referral for services is through the preschool or school.

What you may need

Information to attach to the referral may include reports from:

  • a private speech pathologist or a speech pathologist from another service who has seen or is seeing the child
  • a doctor or paediatrician
  • another service the child has received or is receiving - eg services provided at a community health service or a hospital.

Preschool speech and language programs

Eight preschools in metropolitan Adelaide specialise in offering speech and language programs. This support may be delivered through:

  • individual and small group activities focusing on talking and listening skills
  • direct teaching through play
  • the use of new skills across all areas of learning.


The programs are available to children who are:

  • able to attend the program for at least three terms in their eligible preschool year - Aboriginal children and those under state care may be eligible from the age of three
  • within the average range or above for non-verbal intelligence
  • within normal hearing as shown by a test within the past 12 months
  • making slow progress with regular speech pathology support
  • diagnosed by a speech pathologist as having a severe speech or language impairment
  • not diagnosed with a significant additional disability, syndrome or disorder.

Acceptance is based on the level of need.

How to apply

Children can be referred to a program by a speech pathologist.

Where to get more information

For more information on preschool speech and language programs contact your regional office:

Junior primary speech and language classes

Six schools in metropolitan Adelaide offer specialised speech and language programs for junior primary aged children. The programs may be delivered through:

  • individual, small groups and small class activities focusing on speaking and listening skills
  • adjustments to the way the curriculum is taught
  • the use of new skills across all areas of learning.

How to apply

Children are recommended for placement in a speech and language class by an education department's speech pathologist and psychologist. Acceptance is based on the level of need.

Where to get more information

For more information on junior primary speech and language classes contact your regional office:

Related information

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Page last updated 28 August 2017

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Department for Education
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