Looking Beyond Articulation Evaluation Scores
As with all formal evaluation tools, scores are generated to assist in determining the level of severity. However, when it comes to articulation evaluations, clinicians and parents should look beyond the score. While the standard score and percentile rank can still be a helpful tool in determining the need for services and generating a treatment plan, it is important to look more closely at the actual errors or patterns being used by the child. The specific sound errors and/or phonological patterns being used tell us much more about the child and their areas of difficulty than the score and percentile ranks themselves. When conducting a formal articulation evaluation, it is important that the examiner conduct a thorough analysis of errors made to best determine the level of severity and to generate appropriate goals and objectives.
We always want to consider what is functional. Sometimes standard scores may not provide an accurate depiction of a child and their articulation skills in their natural environment. For example, a six-year-old child who only has difficulty producing “r” may score in the significantly below average range because they were unable to produce “r” in any of the target words on formal testing; however, the child’s overall intelligibility may only be minimally reduced. That is why it is very important to take the child’s overall intelligibility into consideration.
What we often don’t realize is that in order to produce speech, we have to coordinate several structures of our mouth, face, and body. A child needs to have an understanding of these structures and how to coordinate them together to provide intelligible speech. For example, if a child does not have adequate jaw stability and control, they might make sound errors with /l/. Standard scores and percentile ranks do not provide information on a child’s oral mechanism and how it may be impacting their ability to produce certain sounds.
In conclusion, if your child receives a formal articulation evaluation, make sure to look beyond the score. If not provided, ask the examiner for a breakdown of your child’s errors and/or present phonological processes. You can click here to learn more about the different types of phonological processes.
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Hi, I am a former speech language pathologist at South Shore Therapies. I am passionate about collaborating with other professionals and family members on my clients’ team and creating an environment that each of my clients can thrive in. Our mission with SST’s social media platform is to empower, educate and inspire families to take on life’s challenges while promoting an optimistic outlook and a brighter future. If you want to read more about us, visit www.southshoretherapies.com
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