Friday, March 21, 2014

Product Review: Assessment of Monolingual and Bilingual Children with Down Syndrome Syndrome

I had the extreme pleasure of reviewing a Smart Speech Therapy LLC product titled: Comprehensive Assessment of Monolingual and Bilingual Children with Down Syndrome.  This wonderful presentation was written by the brilliant and resourceful,Tatyana Elleseff MA CCC-SLP.  Tatyana is a bilingual SLP who works with a variety of hospital based and private clients in Central, New Jersey.   She specializes in working with multicultural, internationally and domestically adopted, as well as, at-risk children with complex communication disorders.

The 90 page presentation is comprehensive to say the least!  It is loaded with useful background information on Down Syndrome (DS), assessment details, treatment goal examples, and my favorite: actual examples of write-ups based on real-life clients!  This presentation is just what I needed to expand on my knowledge base of Down Syndrome (DS), on how to assess a monolingual or bilingual child with DS using the correct and most functionally based assessments, and how to correctly set up their treatment plans so that the goals are functional and appropriate for each and every individual child that I see. 

Here are highlights from some of the sections

The introduction: 
Here I read about prevalence rates of DS and the range of severity of development for speech, motor and life skills, cognitive abilities and health problems. 

Feeding and swallowing:
I was interested to learn about how low muscle tone, gastrointestinal issues, stomach and bowel dysmotility, respiratory and cardiac issues can contribute to reduced swallowing and feeding issues in this section of the presentation.

Craniofacial Anatomy & the Effect on Speech:
Anatomical differences such as smaller than normal maxilla can contribute to reduced speech intelligibility.  This section also brings up the increased rate of dysluencies in the DS population.  I found it very interesting to find out that stuttering and/or cluttering can occur in DS at rates of 10 to 45% compared to about 1% in the general population.  Did you know that?  I didn't prior to reviewing this well researched presentation. 

Language Deficits: 
In these sections I was able to read about strengths and weaknesses related to language learning for DS children.  Did you know that generally comprehension is achieved well before word production for this population?  Also, that learning language can be affected by reduced hearing, auditory discrimination, verbal short-term memory and delayed vocabulary and grammar development. 

Strengths and weaknesses in DS:
There's a wide range of strengths for this population (e.g., visual processing).  It was nice to read the list so that I can build my therapy goals of the child's strengths in order to successfully tackle some of the weaker learning areas for the child (e.g., attention span). 

Wow!  This is where Tatyana lists and describes components found in actual tests like the Functional Communication Profile (FCP-R) that should be used for the standardized section of a speech and language evaluation.  She emphasizes that functional assessments are key because they don't just reveal deficits but showcase strengths, which can then be utilized effectively in intervention planning and therapy. I don't have some of the tests mentioned in this section, but I do hope to obtain some as they look very useful.
Later in this section of the presentation, Tatyana also lists the components in infant-toddler checklists, and free online assessments tools.  Just great!

Bilingualism and Down Syndrome section:
Tatyana's expertise on how to assess and treat children who speak more than one language at home really shines through in this section.  I learned about the key components needed when completing an assessment with a bilingual child with DS.  She even listed the actual questions that I would need to ask in order to complete a successful parent interview.  The information provided in this section was very useful and I do have a Spanish & English speaking child to assess soon at my outpatient speech therapy clinic and I plan to utilize the information found in this section for completing the assessment correctly!  

What follows next are the sample write ups.  This information is so helpful for me.  I learn and understand by example and so these write ups are priceless.  I got to read about how an actual assessment section would be written up for areas such as:

feeding and swallowing
cup drinking
oral motor mechanism examination
voice and resonance
adaptive behavior and learning style
pragmatic language assessment
receptive language sample
expressive language sample
vocabulary assessment
and more...

And like that wasn't enough?  Tatyana also includes several pages on how to write up appropriate treatment goals for the children that were assessed.  The writing therapy goal section contains information on how to write measurable goals, types of cues and prompts, and then goes on to show actual therapy goals!!!  I couldn't believe it when I saw them.  She listed a large variety of long and short term goals for actual treatment goal areas e.g., articulation, receptive language, play skills, expressive language and pragmatic language. 

This presentation is a valuable resource and I would highly recommend that you purchase it today.  It will help increase your understanding of DS population, improve your ability to assess monolingual and bilingual children with DS, and it will make you look like the best therapy goal writer ever!  

Where can you find this wonderful presentation?  Well, head to Tatyana's online store now to purchase and download today.  You won't regret it! See the information below. 

Thank you so much for reading this product review today.  

Shanda, SLP
Twin Sisters Speech & Language Therapy LLC

You can find this product in The Smart Speech Therapy LLC Online Store on sale for $24.99 HERE.
Other Helpful Resources Produced by Smart Speech Therapy LLC:

·         Social Pragmatic Deficits Checklist for Preschool Children 
·         Behavior Management Strategies for Speech Language Pathologists
·         Executive Function Impairments in At-Risk Pediatric Populations

Tatyana Elleseff MA CCC-SLP is a bilingual SLP with a full time hospital affiliation as well as private practice in Central, NJ. She specializes in working with multicultural, internationally and domestically adopted as well as at-risk children with complex communication disorders. For more information visit her
BLOG, STORE, or follow her Facebook page.
Did you know it is World Down Syndrome Day today (March 21, 2014)? What an important day to honor these wonderful individuals and spread awareness. Thank you for stopping by our blog today to learn about this amazing product by Tatyana Elleseff and for spreading the word on World Down Syndrome Day.


Shanda and Manda


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