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Audiology Central

Hearing and Speech Services

 
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  Documents     The Speech and Language Service descriptions provided below are intended to give a general overview of the service.  They cannot go into every detail of the service.  For more information please contact the office.
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  About Maxine     Language Learning Evaluation

Comprehensive language learning tests are administered to children who exhibit APD and whose communication and learning skills are delayed or atypical. Since reading involves auditory-language processing in the brain, children who have reading difficulties need such an evaluation.  In some cases, articulation tests may also be administered particularly when speech sound production (articulation) errors continue into the first grade, which may compound difficulties with sound-letter associations. Articulation also refers to how well a child pronounces sounds and words as well as how intelligible their language is in connected speech. Some, but not all, of the language functions that are assessed are:

  1. vocabulary knowledge (expressive and receptive),
  2. whether the child may experience word retrieval or word finding problems,
  3. if the child’s difficulty to speak is due to apraxia of speech,
  4. the child's use of appropriate grammar (verbs, nouns, pronouns, etc.),
  5. use grammatical markers such as the -s to make a word plural (cats), the -ed to indicate tense (walked), the -ing (walking), etc.,
  6. the child's ability to formulate syntactically correct sentences (Child uses incorrect word order “Outside he goes.” instead of the “He goes outside.”),
  7. the child's ability to formulate questions and respond to them, (who, what, when, where, why),
  8. the ability to communicate using verbal and nonverbal cues; to detect and use nonverbal signals when speaking; and to understand inferences and idioms (pragmatics),
  9. a child’s phonological awareness skills, such as their ability to discriminate /p/ from /t/; to know that /t/ is the last sound at the end of the word “cat”, to know that the word cowboy has two “beats” or syllables, ability to rapidly and automatically name items (RAN), and many other phonological awareness skills that are prerequisites to learning to read.
Many formal, norm-referenced and informal measures may be used to evaluate language and language skills. Therapy and/or educational recommendations can be made based on this evaluation as well as a program to improve communication at home and socially.

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Foreign Language Exemption

Some individuals have extraordinary difficulty learning a foreign language, despite normal intelligence and learning ability.  Those with auditory and/or language learning disorders are frequently those who cannot learn a foreign language with a passing grade for academic requirement.  A battery of auditory and language processing tests can be done to determine if deficits in either contribute to an individual's difficulty learning a foreign language.  Foreign language waivers and exemptions are recommended to those experiencing auditory and/or language processing deficits on as necessary basis.  Some institutions of higher learning may also require a psychological evaluation in order to grant the foreign language exemption.

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Language Learning Therapy

Children who are identified as having language-processing disorder may benefit from language therapy.  Specific language-based therapies are used to help the child develop the skills that are identified as being weak.  Among these could be the use of Fast ForWord auditory trainings, as children with certain language disorder profiles may experience improvements of 1-˝ standard deviations in language reception and production following the 4 to 8 week training.  When possible, the language learning therapy may be geared to the demands of the academic curriculum of the child as well as for the communication skills.  Therapy can be provided to help improve children who have word finding difficulty, language processing disorder or delay, phonological awareness deficits, verbal problem solving weaknesses, listening comprehension difficulty and such.  Learning and organizational strategies can be taught to children.  Both oral and written language approaches are provided.

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Phonological Awareness Therapy

Children who enter kindergarten with auditory processing delays or deficits may experience great difficulty learning to reading.  They have trouble with phonological awareness which involves some of the following skills:  a) sound discrimination, i.e., hearing the difference between /p/ and /t/, b) being able to identify the first, last or middle sounds in a word, c) being able to identify the syllables in words, d) know how to delete phonemes (letter sounds) in words to form new words i.e., “Say the word pat.  Now say it again without the /p/ sound (to form the word “at”), identifying and discriminating vowels and such.   Skills such as these are prerequisites to a child's learning to read.  Weaknesses in this area, as proven in research, can be significantly improved if intervention is provided early in the child’s academic career, particularly in kindergarten or first grade.  Tests of phonological awareness can be given to children as young as 5 to determine skill level.  Both phonological awareness and reading tests may be administered to provide a better understanding of the child's knowledge of print and phonology.

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Study Strategies

Children who enter school with auditory language weaknesses may "graduate from language therapy" only to surface in the middle or high school years with inadequately developed study skills.  After a child's weaknesses have been identified through an auditory-language processing evaluation, specific language-based strategies can be used to strengthen learning and verbal problem solving.  Strategies for use in the classroom as well as when doing homework are developed.  Children are provided with many different techniques, including but not limited to: helping them develop organizational skills, showing how to do and use semantic mapping (story webbing), improve their ability to organize their study time, learn to prepare prior to entering the classroom, improve lecture and note-taking ability, and learn test taking strategies.  Referrals to other professionals may be made at the time of the parent educational meeting, following comprehensive testing, depending on the child's needs.  When possible, networking to find appropriate professional support in other communities or states may be offered.

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