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Therapy goals for children transitioning to Kindergarten

November is the right time to be thinking about our school starters, and the skills these children will need when they start primary school in January next year.

Here are some key language therapy goals that I often find relevant for this age group:

  1. Understanding and using language related to emotions and cognition, for example metacognitive and metalinguistic verbs. Being able to express these is essential for children who may struggle to convey their thoughts and perspectives otherwise.

  2. Sharing personal experiences (i.e., personal narratives). You know I think this skill is important - it's the sole focus of my research! - but that's because children, caregivers and teachers have shown me the value of this skill. Being able to talk about our past experiences is so important for forming personal connections and sharing who we are with others. It also helps us make sense of our experiences and reflect on events that have happened.

  3. Storytelling (retelling and generating). This is a big one - not just for understanding books, TV shows and movies, but also for being able to access the school curriculum and participate in academic tasks from Kindergarten/Foundation/Prep right through to Year 12.

  4. Self-advocacy: children with language disorders or difficulties are vulnerable, and often struggle to advocate for themselves, due to their language difficulties. That's why it's important for our clients to practise how to safely and clearly communicate when they like/want something or don't like/want something, when they don't feel comfortable, or when something upsetting has happened to them.

  5. Understanding and using complex vocabulary and sentence structure. These are two big goals in themselves. But the more exposure and practice children have in understanding or using complex language, the more they are able to participate in the world.

Children with language disorders have the same rights as all children do: the right to express themselves, to be heard, to be valued. Giving them the five skills above will go a long way to helping them access these rights.

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