Supporting students with language difficulties

Access new resources on how to identify and support students with language difficulties on the Diverse Learners Hub website.

Wednesday, 30 August 2023 at 12:00 am
Supporting students with language difficulties

Language skills are vital for every aspect of student learning and wellbeing, and the department has developed a suite of resources to help teachers identify and support students with language difficulties.

Teaching practices that support language development benefit all students and are essential for students with language difficulties.

These new resources are available on the Diverse Learners Hub website to help you support these students:

Why language is so important

Language is the ability to to understand (receptive language) and use (expressive language) spoken, written and other communications, such as gestures and symbols.

Strong language skills are a predictor of higher levels of academic success across all stages of schooling.

It’s important to recognise signs of language difficulties in students and intervene early. This is because language difficulties can impact a student’s learning progress, behaviour, self-esteem, social interactions, mental health and wellbeing.

Early intervention will improve a student’s relationships, personal development, education, employment prospectives and quality of life.

What is a language difficulty?

Many students have language difficulties. These difficulties are often mistaken for academic, social-emotional and behavioural difficulties and are therefore not diagnosed.

The formal diagnosis of a language difficulty is a ‘developmental language disorder’. This is when a student has significant and persistent language difficulties affecting their everyday functioning and with no known reason for these difficulties.

About 2 Australian students in every class of 30 will have a developmental language disorder and more will have undiagnosed difficulties.

Roxburgh College boosts students’ language skills

Roxburgh College in Roxburgh Park introduced its language support program in 2010 because it recognised how vital language skills are to all areas of learning.

The program is run by speech pathologists who provide structured intervention for individuals and small groups. They also train teachers in strategies, helping to share expertise across the school.

In this case study we explore how the college’s approach has made a big impact in helping students to improve their language skills. To learn more, you can also check out this video, which is also available on the Diverse Learners Hub website.

Register for language webinars

Beginning in October 2023, the Diverse Learners Hub will run a series of webinars to help teachers understand students’ language abilities and make adjustments to support them in the classroom.

To register for the sessions, visit the Diverse Learners Hub page on Arc Events.

Diverse Learners Hub

The Diverse Learners Hub is a centre of excellence for teaching and supporting students with diverse learning needs, with a focus on language and learning difficulties, autism and attention hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The Hub is a workforce capability-building initiative of the Victorian Government’s $1.6 billion investment in Disability Inclusion. It also has resources on:

Find out more

For more information, refer to:

For further enquiries, contact Grant McKell, manager, Diverse Learners Hub, Inclusive Education Division: