Peguis Central School provides speech and language services to students from Nursery to Grade 8.
There is a full-time Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP) on staff at the school.
There are two Speech Language Educational Assistants who are supervised by the SLP.
What is a speech and language assessment?
A speech and language assessment is the measurement of a person’s communication skills. It is done to find out if a person has communication problems. The assessment is done by a speech and language pathologist.
The speech and language pathologist gathers information by asking questions about your child and testing the child. Depending upon the age and attention span of the child, the assessment may be completed in one day. Or, it may be spread over several sessions.
Before your child is seen for an assessment, you may be asked to answer questions about your child. You may be asked for a description of your child’s:
- Health history – including any serious illnesses, accidents or recurring health problems.
- Developmental history – including the ages at which your child started doing certain activities like sitting, walking, making speech sounds, etc.
- Family – including names and ages of brothers and sisters, discussion of family members who may have speech or hearing problems, etc.
- Speech and language behaviors – including your comments about your child’s speech and language skills and any causes of concern. School history – what schools your child has attended.
What kind of tests will my child be given?
During your child’s evaluation, the SLP observes the child doing different tasks. The SLP will evaluate your child’s:
- Understanding and use of different words
- Correct use of words in correctly formed sentences
- Use of language for different purposes
- Pronunciation of speech sounds
- Physical ability to produce speech Voice quality
- Fluency or smooth flow of speech
The SLP also briefly checks the child’s motor skills, which involve coordinating muscle movements. A hearing test is part of any speech and language assessment. There may be a hearing problem that may affect speech and language development. The SLP also checks the child’s mouth, looking for any structural problems with the tongue, lips, teeth, or roof of the mouth. The SLP uses formal tests and informal observations of the child’s communication abilities. The SLP also notes such things as the child’s attention span, activity level, play skills or any unusual behavior.
What are formal tests?
Formal tests are a way of comparing your child with other children of the same age. There are many tests available. The SLP tries to choose those that will give the information needed about a child’s problem. In a formal test, the child is asked to cooperate on certain tasks. The child’s ability to perform these tasks is compared to the ability of other children. The SLP is looking for an overall age level at which your child performs. The SLP also notes the kinds of tasks that give the child trouble. Later, if the child is enrolled in therapy, the SLP will do more tests to determine which specific skills to teach. Formal tests are designed to get a sample of the child’s skills on various kinds of tasks, including:
- Receptive vocabulary – what words does the child understand? The child is asked to point to pictures or objects named.
- Expressive vocabulary – what words does the child use? The child is asked to name objects and/or pictures.
- Receptive grammar – how well does the child understand different language forms? The child might be asked to find a picture that “goes with” a sentence said by the SLP.
- Expressive grammar – what language forms can the child use? The child might be asked to imitate various types and lengths of sentences.
- Auditory memory – how well does the child remember what is heard? The child might be asked to follow a series of directions that gradually increase in length, such as “Put the cup on the table and the spoon in the bowl.”
- Auditory discrimination – can your child hear small differences between words? The child might be asked to tell whether two words sound the “same” or if they sound “different.”
- Word-finding – how well does the child think of words to use? The child might be asked to rapidly name a series of common objects.
- Articulation – what speech sounds can the child make? The child’s pronunciation of vowels and consonant sounds is recorded. What should be the result of the speech and language assessment? A written report of a thorough speech and language assessment will include:
- Information about the child’s history.
- A description of the child’s abilities in the areas of making speech sounds, language use, and fluency of speech.
- A description of the child’s physical structures for speech and how well the muscles work.
- The results of a hearing test to rule out the possibility of a hearing problem.
- A description of special problems such as physical limitations.
- Recommendations for future action which might include:
- Referral to another professional
- Additional testing
- Re-evaluation at a later date
- Speech therapy
- No need for therapy