The Language Unit

The Language Unit

Language Unit

What is a language class?

  • The aim of a Language Class is to maximise the communication of
    students with DLD ( Developmental Language Disorder) and support them to access the school curriculum.
  • Small class (approximately 7 students) within a mainstream school.
  • Students integrate into mainstream classrooms for various subjects (eg. P.E., religion, music, art).
  • Students eligible for the class are entitled to bus transport to and from school.

Who is eligible?

  • The Department of Education requires that children fulfil the following criteria to be eligible for the class:
  • A psychological report indicating a score above 90 on non-verbal cognitive assessment.
  • A speech and language therapy report indicating a score of less than 2 standard deviations from the mean in one area of speech or language.
  • A diagnosis of Developmental Language Disorder formerly known as Specific Speech/Language Impairment (SSLI).
  • Students should have completed at least one year in primary school (or equivalent).
  • Upper age limit for starting the class is 2nd class.
  • Speech and/or language difficulties must be identified as primary areas of need.

Referral Process

  • Speech and Language Therapists, Psychologists, Schools, Parents or other professionals can refer to the Language Class with the following information:
  • Signed consent form for the referral.
  • Recent speech and language therapy assessment report (not more than 9 months old).
  • Recent cognitive assessment report by a psychologist.
  • School report detailing: educational progress, behaviour, social skills and current school supports.
  • Written agreement from current school that a place will be available on completing time in language class.
  • 2 communication questionnaires (attached):
    • 1 completed by the teacher, 1 by parent(s).
    • Any other relevant information about the student.

** Please note: other information may be requested by the Admissions Advisory Committee.

  • The closing date for applications is March 1st for September enrolment.
  • Members of the Admissions Advisory Committee may request consent to visit a child in their current school should further information be required prior to the intake meeting.
  • The Admissions Advisory Committee (School Principal, Language Class teachers, educational psychologist, speech and language therapists) meet in May to allocate placements.
  • Parents and referral sources will be informed by the principal if the child has/has not been offered a place in the Language Class.
  • Parents of student offered a place in the class will be invited to visit the school, meet the principal, teacher and speech and language therapist.
  • Parents are requested to inform the principal as early as possible if they do not wish their child to accept a place in the Language Class.

Parents accepting a placement will:

Be given a copy of:

- The Code of Behaviour
- The Enrolment Policy


- Registration Form


- Birth Certificate / Baptismal Certificate.

  • A probationary period for both child and school is reserved between September and October of first year of placement. Parents will be informed of child’s progress within this timeframe.

What happens in the Language class?

  • Individual goals for the student are developed together with the student, parent, teachers, speech and language therapists. The family-centred goals aim to encourage:
  • Access to the curriculum
  • Social and emotional development
  • Communication development
  • Students follow the appropriate mainstream curriculum with the exception of Irish.
  • Teachers and speech and language therapists work together in the class to support the students learning language to successfully access the curriculum.
  • Students may also require small group or individual speech and language therapy sessions to help them achieve their goals.
  • Parent involvement is a key part of achieving students’ goals. Parents are required to attend group and individual parent meetings to support the student’s progress at home.
  • The school team may recommend relevant referrals and liaise with other professionals.

What happens when students leave the Language class?

  • Decisions regarding the discharge of a student from the language class rests with the school principal in consultation with the class teacher and speech and language therapist.
  • A child will attend the Language Class for a school year. Placement will be reviewed annually, ideally a child could spend two years in the Language Class.
  • The school team may recommend relevant onward referrals as appropriate.
  • The school team will support families to organise a smooth transition from the Language Class to local school.
  • The speech and language therapist will consult with the school and the family as required to support transition during the first term outside the Language Class.

Further Information

Referral Form

Consent Form

School Report Form

Information regarding Referrals 18/19

What is SSLI?

What are Language Classes?

Communication Questionnaires

Information on Identifying SSLI

Oct 23
Witches Walk / Midterm Break
Nov 02
School Reopen
Dec 22
Christmas Break
Jan 06
School Reopen
St. Mark's Junior School,
Dublin 24,

01 451 2076

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