Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Review of: 


by Tatyana Elleseff, M.A.  CCC-SLP
Smart Speech Therapy LLC

Whether you work in the school system or in private practice, there are MANY tests that can be used to assess a student’s speech/language difficulty.  Lots of tests.  And very little time-if you work in the school system. So how do you choose which tests to use? This checklist was designed to assist the SLP faced with having to choose what assessment instruments to use for a particular client or student. For those of us who work in the schools, in particular, it is VERY important to be efficient with regard to assessment because we often have very little time in our schedules for testing. Sometimes we have to wait for someone to be absent in order to find time to test. Sometimes I have even resorted to cancelling therapy sessions to complete assessments. So, you must choose the tests that will help diagnose the problem and you must also be efficient. ALL language assessments MUST include more than one testing tool, as well as informal measures. In private practice, there is more flexibility, but I follow the same guidelines used in the school system.

The checklist is very comprehensive and covers every area of our field. There are many excellent detailed questions included. The way I would suggest using this list in the school setting, would be to interview to the child’s teacher first and determine the basic areas of difficulty. Then, I would print out this checklist, highlight the areas of concern and ask the teacher to complete the checklist. Depending on the situation, I might actually sit down with the teacher and/or parents and go through this list item-by-item. This would allow for a thorough inventory of skills and would allow for the opportunity to ask about modifications—something that must be done before testing in the school system. When you are finished with this inventory of skills, you will have a very clear “picture” of the situation. Then, you will need to decide which tests to administer.

How many times have you pulled out an assessment tool only to discover that the student is outside the age range of the test? It happens! The list in the next section will help prevent that from occurring--it is a wonderful, comprehensive list of the current, commonly-used assessment tools. The list is broken down into specific skill areas/domains. Also included is the age range for every testing tool listed. I like that this list also includes tests of reading/writing/spelling. While I do not use those in the school system, they might be used in a private practice setting.  There is a page where a specific area of concern is listed along with suggested assessment tools.

Finally, the last section is a data collection tool for caregivers and family members. I have found that some training in data collection techniques is required for parents and caregivers to assist with this task. Teachers usually have enough background in data collection, but often do not have the time with 30+ kids in a classroom to collect data. I know, because I have made this very request! I would use the required specific sections of this form-only, rather than give it in its entirety to a teacher or caregiver.

This is an excellent tool that would be very helpful in addressing a new referral—especially for new clinicians in the school setting. 

Access the checklist HERE.

Happy Summer!


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