Worth Repeating: Assessing Speech-Language Skills in Children with Selective Mutism
All material Copyright © 2008, Evelyn R. Klein, PhD.
Reprinted with the express permission of the primary author, Evelyn R. Klein, PhD. as originally presented at the 2008 ASHA Convention.
By: Evelyn R. Klein, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum, Sara Cohen, M.S., Emma Petrucci, & Ashley Keates
Evaluating children with selective mutism (SM) is challenging because they rarely talk to unfamiliar people. However, in order to receive needed professional services in the schools with an individualized educational plan (IEP), standardized test results are required. This study investigated a novel approach to obtain needed test results for speech, auditory memory, and receptive and expressive language. Twenty nine (29) children between the ages of 5 and 12 years old (previously diagnosed with SM) took part in this study. Since children with SM rarely talk to unfamiliar people, and since more direct and systematic language assessments are needed, parents were trained in testing procedures. Children were randomly assigned to either ‘parent first’ or ‘professional first’ test groups using a counterbalanced design. During testing, parents were viewed by project staff via a one-way mirror and videotaped for later transcript analysis. Each child was measured on receptive and expressive vocabulary, narrative language skills, and auditory word memory. Speech articulation and fluency were also evaluated. In addition, parents and teachers completed questionnaires providing information about each child’s behavioral functioning. Of the 29 children assessed, the new testing procedure identified 12 with an expressive language disorder and 5 with a receptive/expressive language disorder. Children with SM who exhibited expressive language deficits performed significantly better on tests of receptive language and vocabulary than on expressive language formulation measures when assessed by their parents. The finding that 58% of the children tested in this new format had a language-based disorder (expressive or receptive-expressive) and that 62% of the sample had a speech disorder (articulation or fluency) suggests that a Communication Disorder could be a source helping to fuel the anxiety in children with SM. This research supports the benefits of guided parent involvement for evaluating children with SM.
View the complete complete poster presentation HERE
PediaStaff is Hiring!All Jobs
PediaStaff hires pediatric and school-based professionals nationwide for contract assignments of 2 to 12 months. We also help clinics, hospitals, schools, and home health agencies to find and hire these professionals directly. We work with Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational and Physical Therapists, School Psychologists, and others in pediatric therapy and education.