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Guest Blog: Back to School Screenings and Evaluations

By: Leah Musgrave and Dean Trout
This blog post is reprinted here with express permission of the authors as it appeared on their 2 Gals Talk About Speech Therapy Blog

Last Monday, I talked about the importance of doing a complete oral exam and focused on nasality screening. Today I want to talk about and open a discussion on the importance of doing those diadochokinetic rates.
How many times have you been tempted to just skip over those because the child does not “appear” to have motor sequencing issues? Or, as one SLP said to me, “He does not have his back sounds (/k/-/g/) so we can’t do that.” With eyebrows raised in astonishment I say, “What? Oh but yes you can!” There are ways to screen for motor sequencing issues without back or even front sounds.
Typically we have the child do the puh-tuh-kuh, or buttercup, or maybe patty-cake. So what do you do when they don’t have those back sounds? You have them say a rapid sequence of tip-lip-tip movements by saying “lippity-lippity-lou.” You do not time them as you would the puh-tuh-kuhs. You simply have them say it quickly three times. Can they sequence those oral movements efficiently? Now should the /l/ be missing from their repertoire have them say “dippity-dippity-doo.” If they don’t have any front sounds (/t/-,/d/) at all have them say “gippity-gippity-goo.” If you hear “gippy-gippy-goo” with the omission of /t/ don’t worry about it. They are giving you a rapid back to lip-back to lip-back sequence. Again remember you are screening for motor sequencing not the articulation of sounds. Regardless of which sound pattern you have them do, the scoring is the same: can they say it three times, rapidly, ?uidly, without breaking down. Remember the focus of this particular screening task is for the detection of possible motor sequencing issues and to determine the need for further testing in that area. And too, remember this is just a screening task not an entire oral motor evaluation.
There has been much discussion in later years regarding is it apraxia or a severe phonological disorder. In my opinion, the best place to start is with a simple check of diadochokinetic rates and the above tips should allow you to check those on any child.

Featured Authors/Vendor: Leah Musgrave and Dean Trout and 2 Gals Speech Products
Many thanks to Leah Musgrave and Dean Trout for providing us with this article for our newsletter and website.
Leah J. Musgrave, MS, CCC-Sp holds a Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology (West Virginia University, 1982) and Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology (West Virginia University, 1980) She has worked in the public schools, private practice, Home Health Care, and WV Birth to Three. She has supervised off-campus practicum for graduate SLP students and Clinical Fellowship Years for beginning therapists. She has twice earned the ACE award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Dean Trout retired after 35 years as an SLP in June 2008. She has worked in public schools, private clinic, Home Health Care, and Head Start Centers in West Virginia and Kentucky. Throughout her years as an SLP, varied work settings provided Dean with opportunity to work with a huge array of communication disorders. She brings this knowledge and experience to you through her creative product development. Dean is a graduate of Marshall University (Huntington, WV, 1972) and Morehead State University (Morehead, KY, 1986).
Leah and Dean have presented on Speech-Language topics at state conferences in Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky.
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