Friday, May 3, 2013

Material Swap! Speech Language Assessment Checklist for Preschool Children from Smart Speech Therapy LLC.

Hello Everyone!  We are happy to review a product by a fellow SLP blogger today! Her name is Tatyana Elleseff, MA, CCC-SLP, and her blog is called Smart Speech Therapy LLC.  When you are done reading this review, we are confident that you will want to go straight on over to her blog, store or facebook page to read more about her and all of her informative and well written documents.  Here are the links that will quickly get you to her BLOG, SHOP and FACEBOOK page!
We had the opportunity to review one of her most recent documents named:
"Speech Language Assessment Checklist For Preschool Children 3:0-5:11 Years of Age" Available for the low price of ($7.99) and available at the link below.                               

It is a 9 page guide that was developed to assist speech language pathologists in the process of how to select appropriate tests for preschool age level speech and language therapy assessments.  It was also designed to help with the process of how to prioritize assessment needs for preschool children. Pictures of some of the pages are shown below.

The first part of this document is the Speech Language Assessment Checklist.

The checklist is a three page form that can be given to a preschool teacher or caregiver prior to a planned assessment or before an assessment is even being considered.  The teacher or caregiver is asked to check areas of difficulty that have been seen with the child in these areas:

Receptive Language
Memory, Attention & Sequencing
Expressive Language
Speech Pronunciation
Phonological Awareness Skills
Social Skills
Problem Solving Abilities
Executive Function
The checkoff list begins with a short personal information area that asks for the date, child's name, age, referral source and a bit more.  Then the checklist  goes on to cover all of the normal areas of concerns that are often discussed prior to needing to do a skilled speech, language or voice evaluation with a pre-k student.  Each area has between 4 to 9 different skills that can be checked off if the caregiver has seen them occurring or not.  For instance, under the receptive language category, one may check off:
  1. ___difficulty understanding what is told without gestures and repetitions
  2. ___difficulty following simple 1-2 step verbal directions
  3. ___difficulty following 2-3 step directions
  4.  ___difficulty understanding basic concepts or describing words
  5. ___difficulty responding to yes/no questions
  6. ___difficulty responding to simple "wh" questions
            and more...

We feel that every area that a speech therapist would be interested in for an assessment is covered with this checklist and that each category has a thorough list of possible deficits.  We like how some items contain examples of what is being asked for and that the choices are put in ascending order of difficulty.

On the last page of the checkoff list the caregiver or teacher then has the chance to write down what they see as the child's most significant present difficulties and additional information such as medical concerns and other suspected delays such as behavioral, intellectual, and social delays.

The second part of this document is a wonderful list of suggested tests to use for assessment with the preschool children.  The author lists several articulation, fluency, general language, vocabulary, auditory processing, phonological awareness, pragmatic and narrative assessments.  The tests listed are ones I've seen or even given recently and the versions listed are the latest ones. Several of my favorite tests are listed such as: Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation-2 (GFTA-2), CELF-Preschool 2 (CELF-P2), and Test of Word Finding-2 (TWF-2).  Of interest is the disclaimer from the author about one other common test that I give about once a week at my clinic, and it is on her list of suggested language tests.  The test that I'm referring to is the Preschool Language Scale 5 (PLS-5).  The author notes that the PLS-5 is recommended for children with severe language impairments only.  This warning was noted with a citation from a valid study by Smith, K (2012) PLS-5 Validity Study- A comparison of Test Scores. American Speech Language Hearing Association Convention, Atlanta, GA.  She wrote, "The scores generated by the newly revised PLS-5 are concerning for a number of reasons but primarily because the scores often do not appear to reflect the actual language skills, or lack there of, demonstrated by individual children". The author further stated that presently, "it is not possible to determine the degree to which the PLS-5 is accurately able to identify and discriminate among children with language disorder and those without language disorder.  For this reason, the validity of this test is compromised". Yikes!  This study is concerning and has opened my eyes to the validity of the PLS-5. What I've taken from this education, is the fact that I will need to do more assessments in the language skill area, in addition to doing the PLS-5 (if that is what I've given), before completing my language skill testings on a child who is not severely language impaired. The author helps with this need by also supplying suggested tests to give by age groups and for severe language deficits on her, "Select Language Testing Battery Suggestions," that is on page 7.  This is another helpful page as the age groups of Ages3-4 and Ages 5-6 are listed in a neat table with the abbreviated names of each test in the primary testing categories of severe language deficits, auditory processing, language/auditory processing, word-retrieval, language/social skills, and language/problem solving.

Lastly, this thorough document provides a, "Supplemental Caregiver/Teacher Data Collection Form." This form is two pages long and it provides the ranking categories of: always, often, sometimes and rarely.  The categories to rank are receptive language, memory, expressive, speech, voice, resonance, phonological awareness skills, social skills, problem solving, and executive function skills. This checkoff list provides even more questions and areas of concern for the teacher/caregiver to consider before a speech and language assessment is performed.  This checkoff list provides a nice review of skills needed in different speech and language areas. After the checkoff list is completed the speech therapist can tally the results and initiate testing in the areas that indicated the most severely impaired areas.

Additional thoughts:
  • This document would be a wonderful document for any SLP to have, and especially an SLP student or CFY because it provides a nice summary of the most commonly used tests for assessing the pre-k population in the areas of speech, language, and fluency and they may not be aware of all of them.
  • Voice areas are mentioned on the checkoff lists, but voice tests are not listed on the testing battery suggestions.
  • It is possible that the checkoff list may be a bit difficult for some parents to complete. Examples of what to look for in each area would be helpful for many parents and even a short activity on how to look for the skill would be helpful for the parent who is not knowledgeable in the areas being screened. 
  • This document is clearly presented, well written, and thorough! 
  • We feel that a nice variety of skills in varying degrees of complexity are presented and we appreciate that very much!  We do have one concern though.  We worry that busy teachers may not feel like they have enough time to fill out the form adequately due to the fact that they have to read about a lot of areas and their subsequent skills.  Perhaps a "quick screener" could be produced for them that is one page in length and less time consuming? This possible "quick screener" would not replace the first one that covers a lot of useful areas, but could just be one to be given to that teacher or caregiver who seems particularly busy.
  • We like the list of speech, fluency and language tests that are provided and we will be certain to present the list to up-incoming speech therapy students and new hires to the speech department to make sure that they are aware of all of them.
Overall, this is a wonderfully informative document that contains a great "go to" checklist that Shanda and I now plan on using before doing an assessment with our pre-k kiddos. Also, we will certainly refer back to the assessment list summary often to check that our assessment library is complete and that we are not forgetting to use the tests that are listed and recommended for certain age groups. 

Thank you so much Tatyana!  We really appreciate the opportunity to review this terrific document and look forward to seeing more from you in the future!!

Do you have any questions or comments for Tatyana at Smart Speech Therapy LLC?  If so, click on this link to leave her a message.
For more information visit Tatyana's BLOG, STORE, or follow her Facebook page!!

Tatyana kindly did a review of our life cycle sequencing document.  Please go take a look by clicking on the picture below! 

Manda & Shanda, SLP's
Twin Sisters Speech & Language Therapy

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