Speech & Language
This is component of the evaluation process is very important as it looks at our ability to communicate with our fellow humans. Multiple aspects of speech and language are examined including: 1) articulation; 2) expressive language; 3) receptive language; 4) phonological processing; and 5) written language. Phonological processing and written language have been discussed elsewhere. Articulation refers to the ability to accurately pronounce words. For example, many individuals with language-based deficits tend to mispronounce words (e.g., “ax” instead of “ask”) or they may have a lisp, slur words, stutter or be unable to effectively pronounce certain letter combinations (e.g., th may be pronounced as f; teeth–>teef). Expressive language is the ability to communicate our thoughts to others in a manner that is coherent. It requires the person to have proper knowledge of grammar (although this knowledge can be implicit) and a vocabulary that is sufficiently diverse so as to be able to convey content. Receptive language refers to our ability to understand language, including the ability to follow directions. Each of these components of speech and language is evaluated due to the fact that deficits in each can lead to decreased performance on other measures of cognitive ability as well as significant problems with academics, work and social relationships.
Of special note, some children with delays in language/speech development will have difficulty when required to learn a foreign language. Specialized testing is available to assess the child’s abilities in this domain.