A speech language and communication assessment is the foundation for an intervention plan. Our speech therapists combine the use of standardized assessment tools with clinical observations in order to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your child. With solid information at hand, they can then proceed to develop an individually customized intervention plan with concrete goals.
An assessment is required prior to commencing intervention in order for the Speech Therapist to get to know the child, as well as to understand where he or she needs help. The assessment revolves around three main functional domains: Speech, Language, and Communication. Where applicable, the therapist will assess the child's oral-motor development.
Standardized tests are administered to assess the child's receptive and expressive vocabulary, linguistic concepts, sentence structure, etc. One example of such a test is Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-Preschool (CELF-Preschool) (Wiig, Secord and Semel, 1992). These tests are augmented with clinical observations. Clinical observations allow the therapist to gather more information and to gain insight into the specific difficulties the child is facing. Such difficulties might not be obvious from the standardized test.
The assessment is summarized in a optional written report, which is used as a baseline for an intervention process. Written reports are sometime required by schools or other agencies.
Phonological awareness (PA) is the awareness that language is composed of sounds and the understanding of the relationship of these sounds (words in sentences, syllables, and rhyming).
Speech pathologists are trained in the knowledge of the speech sound system and language development. Speech-language pathologists assist pre-school and school aged children in acquiring the foundational skills required for reading, writing and spelling competency in order to achieve literacy and academic success.
Research indicates that one of the best predictors of later reading success is early phonological awareness and that phonological awareness can be taught. Children with weak phonological awareness skills have weak reading skills. This impacts their academic progress and is an area in which speech pathologists can provide support.