Assessing and Evaluating Articulation

Andrea Simpson, MS CCC-SLP/AAndrea Simpson, A/SIP

By the age of four, parents should be able to understand 90% of what their child says. However, children born prematurely, drug exposed, or with complicated birth histories (e.g., ventilators, feeding tubes) often have oral motor muscle problems. These problems can lead to the inability to properly produce the sounds necessary for speech production.

Pediatric Speech and Language Pathologist, Andrea Simpson, indicated that assessing young children early is critical if the goal is to help them succeed academically. "Early speech assessment plays a vital role in determining which areas of intervention need immediate remediation," said Ms. Simpson, "Assessment can determine which skills a child needs to build upon, which need intensive practice, and which areas teachers and parents should focus." When completing a comprehensive speech and language evaluation, several key developmental areas are tested:

  • Oral motor and feeding skills

  • Articulation and expressive language skills

  • Cognitive and receptive language skills


When performing speech and language evaluations, speech pathologists may apply several different tools, according to Ms. Simpson:

  • Checklists or questionnaires provide an overall picture of the child's health and developmental history

  • Play-Based assessment strategies can be useful if the young child is shy and uncertain

  • Examination of the mouth structures can determine if there are any physical issues impeding speech production

Once speech deficits have been identified, helping the child succeed academically requires the commitment and collaboration of parents and teachers with guidance from a speech and language pathologist.

Andrea Simpson, MS, CCC-A/SLP is a communications specialist for the Special Education District of McHenry County (SEDOM) Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program in Crystal Lake, IL. She is both a pediatric audiologist and speech and language pathologist.

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