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Testing for Speech and Language Therapy

Feb 5, 2022 What is the Test of Preschool Vocabulary? How, when and why should I get my child tested?

When getting a child evaluated for speech and language services, most parents want to know what sort of tests will their child be exposed to, when should they look into testing and how do you go about looking for an SLP? This blog will go into detail about different batteries of tests that your child might be exposed to and will culminate in how and when testing should be completed. 

Test of Preschool Vocabulary (TOPV)

The Test of Preschool Vocabulary (TOPV) measures a child’s ability to recognize and use single words that represent all parts of speech and a variety of basic concepts, including things, events, and experiences. The words are presented in order of difficulty, progressing from familiar words and concepts to less familiar ones ( 

The TOPV is divided into an expressive (what your child can produce verbally and written) vocabulary and receptive vocabulary (what words your child can understand). You would use the TOPV on children who are 2 years of age to 5 years and 11 months of age. This testing will help with:

  • Identifying children with oral language disorders
  • Diagnosing early semantic ability
  • Comparing receptive and expressive vocabulary knowledge
  • Monitoring language intervention progress
  • Conducting research
Test of Preschool Vocabulary

Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF)

There are several different versions of the CELF, depending on the age of your child. No matter what age bracket your child is in, the format of the testing is basically the same. Directions may change and the complexity of the subtests will adjust accordingly. As a speech pathologist, this is one of my favorite tests to administer because it truly looks at every aspect of a child’s language skills. The CELF includes a variety of subtests that provide in-depth assessment of a child’s language skills: Concepts and Following Directions, Word Structure, Expressive Vocabulary, Recalling Sentences, Sentence Structure, Basic Concepts, Recalling Sentences in Context, Word Classes and Phonological Awareness.

The CELF tests begin at preschool age and continue all the way into adulthood. The test will be administered to a child/adolescent if there are issues with formulating sentences, recalling verbal information, following multi-step directions or vocabulary.

Comprehension Assessment of Spoken Language (CASL)

The CASL looks at language processing skills and knowledge. It can be used on children as young as three and can be administered to adults up until the age of 21. What is really nice about this test is that it answers a variety of referral questions including eligibility for speech services, placement in special education, determining if a language delay or disorder is present, or measuring language abilities in English language learners.

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Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation (GFTA-3)

The GFTA is a test that looks at articulation skills or, in other words, how your child produces sounds, syllables, words, sentences and conversations. It can be used on a child as young as 2 and up until age 21.

The great thing about the GFTA is that it only takes between 15-20 minutes to complete so it’s perfect for young kids who may not have the attention span to sit for longer tests. The GFTA will, most likely, be included in your evaluation if your child is school aged and not speaking clearly.

Oral and Written Language Scales (OWLS)

The OWLS looks at how well your child can write language and formulate sentences verbally. Depending on your child’s ability level, it could take 40 minutes or 2 hours and can be given to children as young as 3, although I would not recommend it be given to children until they can formulate language and can start writing letters.

The OWLS will ask your child to complete a story based on a picture prompt that the speech pathologist will show him/her. Their story will be assessed to see if it has a logical flow, good vocabulary usage, punctuation/capitalization errors and age-appropriate grammar. Sentences will also be formulated based on vocabulary words given (definitions).

Oral and Written Language Scales

Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT)

The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, revised edition (PPVT-R) “measures an individual’s receptive (hearing) vocabulary for Standard American English and provides, at the same time, a quick estimate of verbal ability or scholastic aptitude” (Dunn and Dunn, 1981). The PPVT-R was designed for use with individuals aged 2½ to 40 years. The English language version of the PPVT-R consists of 175 vocabulary items of generally increasing difficulty. The child listens to a word uttered by the interviewer and then selects one of four pictures that best describes the word’s meaning.

The PPVT also has an expressive component where the child has to name a picture that is shown to them. These words also grow in complexity as the testing progresses.

Screening Test for Developmental Apraxia of Speech (STDAS)

The STDAS is an evaluation tool that is administered to determine if a child’s receptive language scores are higher than their expressive language. If a child can understand more than what they are expressing, that is a key sign that the child may have apraxia of speech. If this discrepancy is shown, a speech-language pathologist will complete further testing on your child to get a definitive diagnosis. Apraxia is an acquired oral motor speech disorder affecting an individual’s ability to translate conscious speech plans into motor plans, which results in limited and difficult speech ability. Basically, they can’t formulate the words that they are thinking in their heads. 

The STDAS takes about 15 minutes to complete and is acceptable to use on children 4-12 years of age. 

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Test of Language Development (TOLD)

The TOLD is similar to the CELF. It’s a test that looks at a child’s ability to understand and formulate language. TOLD tests are also geared towards certain ages. For example, there is a TOLD-Primary, which looks at young children. There is also a version of the TOLD that can be used for students who are adolescents and young adults. 

The TOLD testing can take anywhere from 40 minutes to 2 hours. Testing lengths are really dependent on your child’s ability level and if there are any other cognitive or attention issues that may make testing more difficult. 

When To See A Speech-Language Pathologist

We at Speech Blubs have written several blogs about when to get help for your child’s speech. Instead of going to a lengthy discussion where I repeat the information that’s already been told, the biggest piece of advice I tell people who contact me about speech and language services is to go with your gut. You know your child the best. If you think there is a problem, get help. If a professional looks at him/her and tells you that they are “on target,” it will at least give you peace of mind. If they qualify for services, then they get the help that they need. 

Go with your gut. You know your child the best!

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Why Speech Services?

A parent asked us why a child should be enrolled in therapy. There are several reasons why a child should receive services:

  1. Delayed speaking/communicating
  2. Speech is unclear or unintelligible to peers, family members and friends
  3. Child does not gesture or babble to communicate
  4. Limited eye contact or lacking social skills
  5. Poor written language skills
  6. Difficulty with processing information – it can be written or verbal
  7. Trouble with memory

If your child is exhibiting any of the above mentioned issues, I highly suggest getting a referral for speech services from your pediatrician. 

Most likely, there will be a waitlist to get into a speech therapist’s office. Please download the Speech Blubs app to work on speech and language skills. It’s great screen time that will allow your child to work on rhyming, vocabulary, articulation, social skills and oral motor activities. It doesn’t matter your child’s diagnosis – this app will assist in the refining and learning of speech!

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The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not necessarily reflect the views of Blub Blub Inc. All content provided on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgement, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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