Speech Pathology Assessments

Speech Pathology Assessments

Speech pathologists rely on a variety of assessments tailored to the unique needs of each child. Assessments are essential to the therapy process as it shows your starting point which you can compare to later. They can help with accessing funding and support for your child. It also identifies areas of strength and weakness to better understand your child’s needs and it helps other professionals, like teachers, tailor learning to suit your child. 


Let’s explore the types of concerns parents may have and the assessments speech pathologists can conduct for them.


Concern 1: Unclear speech

Speech sound assessments help identify any articulation or phonological disorders in children. These assessments are all about looking at speech clarity and how the child produces their sounds. They often involve asking the child to name different objects to hear how they say them or even repeating words back to the therapist. We may also listen to the child speak while playing to catch any errors. When a child needs a speech sound assessment parents often say things like “People can’t understand my child”. From these assessments we can determine if your child’s speech sounds are appropriate for their age or if they require intervention.


Concern 2: Difficulty understanding & expressing 

Language assessments are crucial for young children experiencing language delays or disorders. There are a range of tests to assess receptive (understanding) and expressive language skills. Tests are chosen based on the age of the child and their ability to attend to different tasks. There are language assessments available for infants all the way through to adults. From these assessments we can gain an understanding of your child’s vocabulary, comprehension, grammar, and syntax (sentence structure) skills. 


Concern 3: Stuttering 

For children with stuttering or fluency disorders, we conduct fluency assessments. These assessments help determine the severity of the stutter and guide the development of strategies and interventions to improve the smoothness of speech. Typically this involves listening to your child speak for a certain length of time and measuring the number of stuttered words. We also interview parents to better understand when the stuttering began and how often it occurs at home. 


Concern 4: Difficulties with eating and drinking

Feeding assessments are especially important for very young children, particularly those with feeding difficulties or oral motor challenges i.e. difficulty with controlling their mouth, tongue, jaw, swallow. These assessments examine a child’s ability to perform movements necessary for speech and eating, like chewing and swallowing. Speech pathologists will observe your child during a mealtime to observe how they manage foods and liquids. 


Concern 5: Engaging with others 

Pragmatic assessments focus on a child’s ability to use language in social contexts effectively. Speech pathologists evaluate skills such as play skills, turn-taking, initiating and maintaining conversations, and understanding non-verbal cues. These assessments help identify challenges in social communication and guide intervention strategies. This often looks like playing directly with the child or observing them in play with another person. Speaking to key supports like educators also helps build a picture of the child’s skills. 


Concern 6: Struggling with reading and writing:

Assessing literacy skills is crucial for children’s overall language development. Speech pathologists can conduct literacy assessments to evaluate a child’s reading and writing skills. We look at their ability to read and write, as well as their comprehension of what they read. Spelling is also a key component of our assessment. Messy handwriting however, is managed by an Occupational therapist. 


Concern 7: Not able to communicate with spoken words

In cases where children have severe communication disorders, speech pathologists may assess and recommend assistive communication devices, such as communication boards or speech-generating devices. These assessments involve evaluating a child’s current language skills, their ways of learning and their communication needs to determine the most effective tool for them. This also involves some trial and error as we try different options and see which works best for the child and family. 


Speech pathologists conduct a range of assessments tailored to each child’s specific needs. These  assessments can pinpoint areas of difficulty and design personalised treatment plans. They can also be used to make necessary recommendations for school support. These assessments are a crucial step in helping children overcome communication challenges and reach their full potential. If you feel your child would benefit from an assessment feel free to reach out to us at Prosper Health Collective to discuss your needs further. 


Ebony Hanns