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A speech and language screening involves quick tests to assess general adequacy of various skills. It includes articulation (speech production), expressive syntax (sentence construction; use of grammatical forms), short-term auditory memory, and language segmentation (sorting out parts of language-important for early parts of reading). Results are presented in terms of “within normal range” or “below normal range” and “recommendations.”
Screening tools look for ranges of performance. Does the child’s performance in a specific skill area fall within the designated range?
Screening tests do not diagnose deficits. Screening can, however, help to determine the need for further measures. These measures may include the following: monitoring of the child, home activities, classroom strategies, re-screening in the future, referrals to appropriate professionals, in-depth testing, therapy, or tutoring.
Screening data is very useful when used in conjunction with other pieces of information, such as teachers’ observations, parents’ observations, and medical history. Screening results help to give a clearer picture of a youngster’s performance.
To make good use of screening information, parents, teachers, and clinicians should view the results as one piece of a global picture, which includes home functioning, classroom performance, academic achievement, medical status, and teacher observations.
A low screening score can alert us to look more closely at specific skill areas, and therefore, helps parents, teachers, and other professionals better serve the needs of individual children.