Effective communication is critical in today’s world. Children benefit from clear and fluent speech to achieve academic excellence, and adults benefit from clear communication in the workforce. Effective communication is also highly correlated with self-esteem and positive psychosocial development. Our clinicians ascribe to motivational methods of behavior modification, and will be happy to answer specific questions you may have.
Speech and language disorders refer to problems in communication, which affect a person’s ability to interact and effectively communicate with others. Three core components of speech and language include: articulation/phonology, receptive language skills, and expressive language skills. Articulation/phonological problems range from delayed acquisition of speech sounds to simply substituting one sound for another (for example, “wittle” for “little) to the inappropriate development of the rule system for putting sounds together. Articulation disorders may include substituting a sound, omitting a sound (“oo” for “shoe”), or distorting a sound (“shlip” for “ship”).
Language disorders include the inability to understand spoken language (receptive language disorder) or use language appropriately when speaking (expressive language disorder). A person may not be able to follow simple directions or use words appropriately to request something he or she may want.
While speech and language disorders may be caused by hearing loss, neurological disorders, brain injury, mental retardation, and/or physical impairments (for example, cleft palate), the cause is frequently unknown.
A child should be referred for a speech and language evaluation when parents and/or express concern, or when the child experiences difficulty or frustration in communication.
At Evergreen, a speech-language pathologist using formal test instruments, behavioral observations, and parental reports thoroughly assesses each child’s communication skills.
- Formal language measures assess receptive (understanding of spoken language) and expressive (use of spoken language) language skills. Tests typically include looking at books, playing, and answering questions. Specific content depends upon your child’s age and the test instrument selected for use.
- Formal articulation tests consist of naming pictures or objects, with the goal of eliciting productions of specific sounds in words and phrases.
- Behavioral observations provide valuable insight into your child’s functional use of speech and language. Observations are collected throughout the evaluation during low-structure activities, such as reading a book or playing with a barn set, and during spontaneous conversation between you, your child, and the speech-language pathologist.
Immediately following the evaluation, an interpretation of the findings and recommendations will be discussed with the parent(s). The information will also be summarized in a written report, which is mailed to the parent(s) and the referring physician.
As with vision or dental, prevention and early intervention is the best approach toward detecting and treating speech-language problems. If you would like more information about these options, please contact one of our audiologists today at 425-899-5050.