A speech-language evaluation is performed when there are concerns regarding the development of a child's communication and/or speech production skills. A comprehensive evaluation first examines a child's pre-linguistic skills. These include social skills, non-verbal communicative interaction and play behaviors.
Both formal and informal methods of assessment are employed to determine the child's ability to process and understand verbal language. This may be assessed by observing a child's ability to follow commands, answer questions, understand age-appropriate vocabulary and perform advanced cognitive-linguistic tasks relevant to academic success.
The expressive component of the assessment analyzes the child's ability to formulate verbal language using age-appropriate grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. Expressive communication is also analyzed with regard to its level of complexity, richness of vocabulary, and meaningful use. Higher-level language skills are also assessed such as reading, listening comprehension, and the ability to produce personal and story narratives.
Speech development and production are assessed by examining oral-motor development and feeding skills, articulation, and phonological development. Other aspects of speech production are also analyzed, including voice quality, resonance and speech fluency.
Examination of the child's phonological awareness skills sheds light on factors contributing to reading and writing difficulties.
Comprehensive evaluations are performed on adults who have communication and/or cognitive difficulties resulting from stroke, neurogenic disorders, dementia, head and neck surgery, and head injury (TBI). Speech and voice production is evaluated to determine the level of speech intelligibility. Both an individual's comprehension and expression of spoken language are analyzed.Reading and writing abilities and gestural communication skills are also assessed. Candidacy for alternative augmentative communication devices is considered when appropriate.
Treatment is developed for each child based upon his or her particular delays and disabilities. Therapy may take the form of structured play activities or more formal exercises. The clinician, through a process of ongoing assessment, adapts her treatment methods to keep pace with the child's continuing progress. Parent counseling and training also take place so that parents may be partners in the treatment process. Children and parents will frequently be given assignments for home practice in order to build upon and generalize improvements that have been made in the therapy session.
Treatment for adults is also tailored to address areas of difficulty, which are preventing the individual from reaching his or her full level of communicative function. In order to improve speech intelligibility, structured exercises are developed to increase strength and coordination of the articulators, as well as to improve voice production. Other treatment methods are employed to expand comprehension of spoken language and to maximize verbal expression. Difficulties with reading and written expression may also be addressed. Treatment is available for both English and Spanish speaking individuals.