I typically complete several speech evaluations a week. It looks something like this: I look over the intake forms, grazing over the background information and medical data, until I see "parent concerns". This is one of the most important bits of information because the parents understand their child's strength and weaknesses better than anyone else.
Last week, I noticed a 16 year old boy on my schedule for a speech evaluation. I looked over all the essentials and came to the crucial part of the intake paperwork..."What are your concerns for your child?" The parent had answered "nothing". Which made me think, why are we having him evaluated?
The day of the evaluation came and I met the mother and son online, which I frequently do. I use a HIPAA secure platform and can access online testing materials from QGlobal. As speech assessments go, we chatted about her son's developmental progress, school accommodations, prior therapy and current issues. I commented on her intake form of "not having any concerns". She said "My insurance company said I needed to get a speech and language evaluation to continue with long term care". That made sense but I wanted to dig deeper, given his background and diagnosis of autism.
I asked mom about his social skills. Did he have friends? How does he do making new friends? Is he able to hold conversations with appropriate exchanges? Does he make eye contact and read nonverbal cues? Does he self-advocate?
After discussing with mom, she realized there were pragmatic deficits. Given his age and new expectations (applying for jobs, talking to teachers, ect) this was an ideal time to start therapy again. We discussed this with the son and he agreed, speech therapy might just be what he needs to get prepared for adulthood.
Here is a look at his social and pragmatic goals for speech therapy:
1. XXX will increase his functional math skills in the area of money by demonstrating an understanding of projected costs, calculating change and percentage as they apply to independent living with 80% accuracy across three consecutive sessions.
2. XXX will engage in a conversation with at least 5 exchanges, asking/answering appropriate questions and elaborating on given topics, reaching 80% accuracy over three consecutive sessions.
3. XXX will demonstrate appropriate verbal and nonverbal cues (volume, intonation, eye contact, distance from speaker) during a conversation with 80% accuracy over three consecutive sessions.
4. XXX will demonstrate three parts of self-advocacy (knowing strength/weakness, understanding his needs, and how to get what he needs) during real life and hypothetical situation reaching 80% accuracy over three consecutive sessions.