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Once concerns about a child/young person's speech and language have been identified, more detailed assessment is likely to be needed to identify the specific areas of concern and potential barriers to learning. Checklists could be used to identify specific areas of need, click the following links for an example of a checklist for 5-11 year olds and the IDP SCLN Pupil Profile.

It may be useful to consider the four key areas of difference and  the communication chain in order to identify the specific areas of language that are causing concern.  More details about the communication chain can be found in Language Builders (Elkan resources) and the AFASIC website.

Each area of concern regarding language needs further assessment and monitoring. Assessment over time is needed to assess progress and the effectiveness of any interventions that has been put into place. 

The following assessments may need to be used:

  • Normative assessment - standardised tests to show how the child/young person performs compared to other children/young people the same age, e.g. BPVS, YARC.

  • Curriculum-based assessments – assessment that show how the child/young person is achieving to show how his/her language skills are impacting on their access to the curriculum, e.g. school Speaking and Listening curriculum assessments, WELLCOMM, Teaching Talking etc.

  • Ipsative assessment - assess/plan/do/review cycles to show how the child/young person is progressing compared to their previous performance.

Further assessment of the classroom environment may be needed using the Better Communication Classroom Audit Tool and/or the Classroom Observation Tool.

It is also important that the child/young person's hearing is checked (by recommending that the parent/carer contacts their GP).

The information gathered from these assessments should be collated and used to provide outcomes for the children/young people and to devise an appropriate intervention.

More detailed/specialist assessment may be required from the Speech and Language Therapist who can complete more detailed tests especially if a diagnosis of Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) is being considered.  More information on DLD can be found on the RADLD DLDandme and NASEN SendGateway websites (you need to sign up for NASEN to view the guidance but it is free to join).

If concerns are about selective mutism, useful information can be found on the SMiRA (Selective Mutism Information and Research Association) website which includes lots of information for professionals and a recommended resource is the Selective Mutism Resource Manual.

A number of other fact sheets about speech, language and communication and associated conditions can be found on the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists website.



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