When to recommend a child for speech & language therapy? [Complete Check-List]

When to recommend a child for speech & language therapy? [Complete Check-List]
Jan 14, 2021 No Comments Speech and Language Therapy swedesh

Teachers are the first interaction that the child encounters. The teacher is also in daily contact with the child. So, the teacher is ideally placed to identify any speech, language and auditory processing problems. This article explains what the teacher should identify in a child to recommend the child for speech and language therapy.

To assist with the process, the article provides a list of competencies that the teacher can identify and based on this, the teacher can recommend the child for speech therapy. This article covers the following areas:

Teacher giving a lesson in a classroom.

1. Recommend a child with these Speech difficulties

Does the child present with the following difficulties:

  • Articulation errors – This affects  classroom communication and learning.
  • Sound substitutions –   e.g. thumb = fum, red= wed
  • Lisp –  This affects intelligibility of   /s, sh,  th,  ch, sl, sp  etc./  sounds and words which include these sounds
  • Tongue tie –  This affects speech clarity.
  • Stuttering – This affects verbal interaction, communication and reading.

2. Recommend a child with these Language difficulties

A) Oral and written expression

Does the child present the following difficulties during classroom activities:

  • Difficulty with oral expression and formulating sentences
  • Sentences contain grammatical errors 
  • Doesn’t understand the sentence tenses e.g. present, future and past
  • There are errors with  irregular plurals e.g. mice = mouses
  • Errors with past tenses- regular /irregular e.g.  write = writed
  • Uses simple simples that require extension 
  • Written expression is simple and is either linked with limited conjunctions / joining words or none
  • Problems with  written expression tasks such as news, jumbled sentences, creative writing, transactional writing

B) Receptive / comprehension / understanding of language

  • Unable to follow simple or two part instructions
  • Forgets parts or entire instructions easily
  • Difficulty comprehending  language concepts
  • Experiences challenges extracting key words from messages
  • Poor integration or sequencing of story events
  • Challenges with summarizing a story
  • Difficulty with word problems  and concepts in maths

C) Vocab

  • Has limited vocab and knowledge of words
  • Has problems with understanding meanings of words that impacts reading and spelling
  • Poor understanding of  antonyms, synonyms, homonyms
  • Word retrieval difficulties
  • Doesn’t understand ambiguous sentences, idioms or puns
Teacher's aids for speech therapy lessons.

3. Recommend a child with these Auditory Processing difficulties

  • Mishears words and sentences
  • Behaves as if a hearing loss is present even though hearing is normal
  • Difficulty with hearing speech when background noise is present
  • Problems with understanding rapid or accented speech
  • Makes articulation errors that have an acoustic than developmental basis e.g. bed = ped
  • Frequently asks for repetition e.g. huh, what?
  • The child appears to be distracted and inattentive
  • Reaches auditory overload quickly
  • Poor short memory
  • Limited immediate  memory e.g. map skip letters when copying form the board
  • Poor working memory – unable to interpret and act on instructions
  • May struggle with memory for numbers , letters etc.
  • Easily forgets  linguistically loaded instructions that contains concepts
  • Unable to recall chunks of information
  • Reaches auditory overload quickly
  • Is able to repeat an instruction correctly but doesn’t understand the instruction
  • Cannot always relate the auditory to visual e.g. what heard to seen
  • May experience problems with multi- modality tasks e.g. drawing a picture from verbal instruction
  • Problems with discriminating between words and  sounds which might result in letter and number reversals
  • May experience challenges with sequences e.g. instruction not carried out in correct order.
  • Poor auditory closure abilities, i.e. Unable to fill in missing information
  • Processes information slowly which could either be accurate or inaccurate
  • Problems with reading comprehension tasks

4. Recommend a child with these Reading / Spelling difficulties

  • Poor knowledge of phonemes
  • Poor association of sounds and letters
  • Reduced phonological awareness for analysis of words into syllables
  • Confuses sounds in spelling tasks e.g. ban = bam
  • Omits sounds in words e.g. string= sting
  • Limited knowledge of spelling rules
  • May experience challenges with phonics, blending & word attack skills (synthesis)
  • Difficulty with identifying and generating rhyming words
  • Poor auditory analysis e.g. cow + boy
  • Letter reversals
  • Substitutes words that are normally similar when reading e.g. discussion = decision
  • Problems with recall and application of spelling rules 
  • Experiences challenges applying rules to segment words to read
  • Able to read but doesn’t understand what is read.

Conclusion

The above check list is extremely comprehensive. However, if you have encountered other tell-tale signs, please post them in the comments below and we will consider for inclusion in this list.

Once a problem area is identified, the teacher should recommend the child to a speech therapist for a speech therapy assessment. A speech assessment will highlight all areas of concern. A speech therapy program can then be designed to fulfil these gaps and rectify the problem.

See the speech therapy services that Nishara Mooruth provides to assist these children.

Nishara Mooruth also provides on-Line speech therapy.

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