AssessmentThe components of a language assessment will vary with the age of your child. Generally, the assessment will include a parent interview, some degree of play to assess the child's cognitive and communicative development, standardized testing (when age-appropriate), recording of speech-language sample (this is analyzed for speech-sound production and linguistic features) and an oral-motor examination (assessing the shapes and movements of the mouth and face). Children can be evaluated as young as 12-18 months of age. Since speech-language problems can impact social and academic abilities, early detection and intervention is critical. Early intervention can help prevent difficulties with reading, writing and interpersonal communication. When a child has a known disability, such as Down syndrome, intervention can begin even earlier than 12 months
If your child is very young, the evaluation may be based largely on what you observe your child is able to do or not do. If your child is a toddler or preschooler, he/she can participate in some testing. Evaluations of preschool aged and school-aged children may also include some assessment of literacy skills (reading and writing).
Treatment of Language Disorders
Treatment is designed to provide your child with success in communication of wants and needs. The treatment of language disorders begins with the abilities your child has and then builds on those. Through the assessment process, the Speech-Language Pathologist will determine what skills your child has learned and which are yet to be learned. Following the typical expected sequence of skill development, she will help you and your child master each of the next receptive or expressive skills.
Individual or group treatment may be recommended, depending on your child's needs. Individual treatment allows for more intense focus on specific skills. Group treatment is helpful in developing the social aspects of communication. Also, children learn a great deal from each other in these group treatment settings. Groups are also helpful to parents/caregivers as they provide a view of the range of abilities children demonstrate at different ages, and other parents/caregivers are available for discussion and support.
For a checklist of speech-language development in children click here.