By Alysse Zittnan, MA/CCC-SLP
Although every child or adult is unique, there is a general plan to what happens in a speech-language evaluation. Upon entering the facility, you will be asked for general background information on yourself or your child. The Speech-Language Pathologist will bring you into a therapy room that has minimal distractions. Frequently, a one-sided window will be available for parents or spouses to observe testing.
A speech-language evaluation focuses on five areas of speech-language development: articulation (speech sound production), expressive language (the way an individual uses language), receptive language (the way an individual understands language), voice and fluency, and an oral exam (function of the physical structures used in speech production). Even though your child or you may not participate in testing of all five areas, each area not formally evaluated will be rated based on intake information and observation.
At our clinic, evaluations last for ninety minutes.
Standardized (formal) testing is used to compare an individual’s skills to those of peers of the same chronological age and language background. Formal testing is needed in order to demonstrate to insurance companies a person’s areas of need and determine one’s current level of functioning. Often therapists will include informal tasks in testing such as obtaining a language sample through play or conversation, observing a child interacting with a sibling or parent, reading, or describing a picture. Informal tasks allow us to see if one has the ability to complete a targeted area given a cue or model. It also creates a clearer picture of what one’s specific strengths and areas of need are.
Next up: Tips for parents with children attending evaluations