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10 Things to Include in your Speech Sound Assessment

SLPs know that a Speech Sound Assessment should include more than just a Standardized Test Scorebut what else should a speech sound assessment include?

I am sharing 10 other things to include during your Speech Sound Assessment to help you get a solid overview of your student’s speech sound production.

  1. Phonetic Inventory: This can help you see if a child is using (or not using) a particular place, manner, or voicing. This can help you choose goals as well!

  2. Word Shape Inventory: It is possible that a child can use sounds in certain word shapes and not in others, or that a child uses on a few simple word shapes. It’s important to know what word shapes a child uses (and is stimulable for) so we can choose appropriate goals and make an appropriate diagnosis.

  3. Examination of Phonological Patterns: Examine a child’s speech sounds to determine if errors impact a class of sounds, syllable shapes, or sound combinations will help you choose an appropriate intervention approach.

  4. Oral Mechanism Exam: This could be an entire blog post series, so I’ll just leave it at this: ruling out structural and functional issues with kids with SSD is vital and can often answer a lot of questions you might have about WHY a child is doing what they’re doing.

  5. Intelligibility Rating: Simply put - how much of the time is the child understood? Not only by you, but by parents, teachers, and peers. We have all seen a child who crushes the assessment but is still difficult to understand. These kids often have difficulties that can be remediated with speech therapy - so don’t get too stuck on Standardized Test Scores. A. Child can still need therapy with a solid ST score. Tip: This is also a great measure for pre and post testing to report (and can help with getting funding in some areas!).

  6. Multiple Productions of a Word: Having a child say a word a few times will help you see if there are any inconsistencies between productions.

  7. Multiple Opportunities for a Target Sound: My biggest issue with ST is that there is only one opportunity for a child to say a sound in each word position. As we know, phonetic contexts and word shapes can influence how a child pronounces a sound. I have many kids be able to say a sound in certain words, and not others (e.g. a child might be able to say k in the word key, but not in cat, or coat.) Having multiple opportunities will help you figure out exactly what’s going on with the child’s speech sounds.

  8. Speech Sound Analysis in Connected Speech: Using picture description tasks, play activities, story retell tasks, and conversational dialogue will allow you to understand how the child is using their sounds in connected speech, with no cues.

  9. Stimulability: Not only will figuring out what sounds and/or patterns a child is able to use with cues help you choose goals and get insight if a child will acquire the sound on their own, it will also help you figure out what cues are helpful for the child. I find doing this right in the assessment helps me choose goals that I know the child will be successful with. SO, what kind of cues can you try? Verbal Cues (telling the child how to make the sound), Visual Cues (Using a picture of the sound or a hand sign or using a mirror), Modelling (Saying the target first and having the child repeat you). Stimulatibily testing will also help you figure out at what level the child is breaking down (e.g. word, phrase, sentence). This again will help you choose appropriate goals.

  10. Discrimination Tasks: While these are often not included in an assessment, I think they’re important to add. They don’t take long! The goal here is to see if the child can HEAR the difference between the correct way and their way of saying a sound/word. This will help you figure out what level to start with in therapy (i.e. discrimination vs. Production).

BONUS: (But not really optional!)

Case History: Complete a thorough case history. Getting a solid understanding of the child’s developmental history, hearing test history, family history, medical history, languages spoken at home can help guide clinical decisions.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive speech sound assessment kit, that provides the child with multiple opportunities for each sound, opportunities for assessment in connected speech, assessment during a play task - and so much more - you might be interested in the Ultimate Speech Sound Assessment Kit!

This is a COMPREHENSIVE kit that allows you to assess phonology AND articulation - in structured tasks, conversation, AND in play. This 100+ page Assessment Kit includes NINE assessments. It has includes all the stimuli, forms, and manipulatives you could possibly need to assess a child's articulation and phonology skills! Simply print it once and then grab it whenever you need it.

Interested in a FREE Play Based Speech Sound Assessment - and LOADS of other freebies????

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