Support required for primary and secondary students with communication disorders and/or other learning needs

Sharynne McLeod, David McKinnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)
63 Downloads (Pure)


In contrast, students who received the greatest curriculum adaptations were those with intellectual disability + physical/medical disability.Those with intellectual disability + communication disorder were most likely to have an individual education plan, and those with communication disorder + intellectual disability + physical/medical disability were most likely to receive long-term support from agencies outside of the school system. Socio-economic status (specifically, being in a middle-class school) was the most predictive demographic variable for higher levels of support for students with communication disorder, followed by being male.Prioritization of school students with additional learning needs is a reality due to a finite resource base. Limited evidence exists regarding teachers' prioritization of primary and secondary school students with additional learning needs. The aim of the present article was to differentiate teachers' perceptions of the level of support required by and provided to students with respect to nine additional learning needs. Teachers of 14,533 students in an Australian school district (in 37 primary schools and 7 secondary schools) identified students' required and actual level of support. Teachers identified 4,845 students with additional learning needs: 34.71% of primary students and 30.14% of secondary students. Of the nine areas of additional learning need, presence of a communication disorder was the most important predictive factor of teachers' recommendation that primary or secondary students required a high level of support at school. Students were more likely to be identified with communication disorder if they were in grades 1, 2, 7, 8 or 10; that is, at the time of transition to different levels of schooling. Students with communication disorder + behavioural/ emotional disorder + intellectual disability were identified by teachers as requiring the highest level of support at school. Overall, students received limited additional support at school; however, those with communication disorder + intellectual disability received the highest level of learning support within the educational setting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-143
Number of pages21
JournalChild Language Teaching and Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


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