What are speech-language disorders?
A speech-sound disorder (SSDs) is a problem with the physical production, or phonological representation of speech sounds. This could be classified as a phonological disorder, or an articulation disorder. A speech-sound disorder may be evident when a child is difficult to understand when they speak.
A spoken language disorder (SLDs) is a problem with the form (structure), content (meaning), or use (pragmatic/social use) of language. A language disorder may be evident when a child has a significant difficulty learning to talk, understand, or use language appropriately.
A speech-language evaluation is conducted to determine the presence of a speech, language, and/or social/pragmatic impairment.
During a comprehensive speech-language evaluation, the speech-language pathologist (SLP) will use different assessment tools to determine strengths and challenges in your child’s communication. A typical evaluation takes approximately 2-4 hours, depending on your child’s age.
The assessment will include a discussion of parent concerns, review of medical history, and developmental milestones. The SLP will conduct formal standardized assessments and make informal observations of your child.
For children ages 2-4, the formal evaluation is partially play-based with some structured tasks.
For children and adolescents ages 5 and up, more formal assessments are administered.
The speech-language evaluation will look at your child’s:
Articulation of speech sounds
Oral cavity structures & function
Receptive and Expressive vocabulary
Understanding and use of grammar and syntax (word structures, sentence structures)
Understanding of various early-developing basic concepts
Ability to interact socially using language
After the evaluation, the SLP will discuss initial/informal evaluation findings with you. The formal speech-language report with recommendations for therapy will be completed and provided to you within one week.
The SLP will discuss your child’s diagnosis, strengths, and areas of improvement with you. Your input will be integrated into the SLP’s recommended therapy plan for your child, to ensure goals are relevant and functional for your family.
To learn more about speech-sound disorders, check out the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s website for further breakdowns of SSDs.
To learn more about spoken language disorders, check out the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s website for further breakdowns of SLDs.
School-Based Speech &Language Evaluations
For school-based speech-language evaluations or speech and language independent educational evaluations, the presence of a speech or language impairment will focus on a resulting disruption in the student’s academic achievement and/or functional performance (if any), and present deficits that the ARD committee should consider to determine eligibility for the student in the school setting.