Speech Understanding Assessment

Shot of a little boy talking to a psychologist

What is a Speech Understanding Assessment?

The ability to understand speech and to acquire basic language skills are complicated processes that children often learn gradually in the first three years of infancy. Initially, they learn from their parents and siblings, and as they mature, they will learn from other children. If a child has a hearing problem during the early development years from ages 1 to 6 years, then it is easy to see how it can be difficult for the child to fully understand the intricacies of speech. In fact, it can be very frustrating and alienating. Once a child is identified as having a speech recognition problem, a Speech Understanding Assessment is the first step that will help the ENT & AA clinician create a team to help the child.


Who should have a Speech Understanding Assessment?

If your child is not learning how to speak at the same level as children of similar ages, a hearing problem may be the root cause for the delay. Your child may be suffering from an auditory processing disorder (APD).


What is an Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)?

An auditory processing disorder is an auditory deficit that is not the result of a cognitive, or language comprehension disorder. Children with APD are experiencing problems processing auditory information at the neural level. There are many disorders that can impede a child’s ability to decipher auditory information, but not all are caused by an auditory problem. For example, Autism or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are not caused by neural damage to the auditory system. To identify APD in a child, ENT & AA can provide clinical auditory assessments to help build a multi-disciplinary team to review and understand the cluster of problems that kids with APD often exhibit.


What can you expect from a Speech Understanding Assessment for a child who may have APD?

• Case history, including medical status, education, socioeconomic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds
• Information from teachers and other related service providers
• Patient/client/student and family interview
• Review of auditory, visual, motor, and cognitive status by ENT & AA professionals
• Standardized and/or non-standardized measures of specific aspects of speech, spoken and non-spoken language, cognitive-communication, and swallowing function, including observations and analysis of work samples
• Selection of standardized measures for speech, language, cognitive-communication, and/or swallowing assessment with consideration for documented ecological validity and cultural sensitivity
• Follow-up services to monitor communication and swallowing status and ensure appropriate intervention and support for individuals with identified speech, language, cognitive-communication, and/or swallowing disorders