Observation is one tool used in the assessment of a client’ s speech and language abilities. At Tanya Speech Therapy, three types of observations are conducted.
1) Analog Task Analysis:
The Clinician will observe the clients when they are in real life situations, for example, during peer group activities or workplace situations.
2) Naturalistic Observation Analysis:
The clinician will observe the clients in a natural environment such as in specific social situations, for example, an academic setting. The Clinician will mainly focus on the client’s functional use of language. The Clinician will discuss ahead of time with the classroom teacher the appropriate time and/or activity to make the observation. This is because it would be better to make an observation when the child will be an active rather than a passive participant as in a quiet reading activity in the library or during dictation. The Speech and Language Pathologist will record the observed communication behaviors in order to develop the most appropriate speech and language goals and treatment plans.
3) Systematic Observation and Contextual Analysis:
The Clinician will observe the client in a variety of settings and tasks. For example, in the case of a stuttering client, the Clinician will observe the child with dysfluencies at school during every oral presentation he/she has. Then the Clinician will record all target behaviors observed. These would include both stuttering patterns and secondary behaviors (e.g., tongue clicking, and head shaking). Or for a child who has a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorders, the Clinician will observe and record misbehaviors which may occur during activity transitions, such as yelling, screaming, and or throwing things. These would all become the basis for a plan of therapy. Through these observations, the Clinician will obtain information relating to the client’s functional language level; and to identify specific speech and language problems that need to be addressed in therapy.
Behaviors that the Speech and Language Pathologist look for when making an observation:
Observable communication difficulties in the classroom setting may include: 1) Articulation Errors which are inappropriate for the child’s age level; 2) Poor Speech Intelligibility during a classroom activity; 3) Inappropriate and/or Illogical Answers in the classroom; 4) Improper Syntax in utterances during a classroom activity; 5) Word Retrieval Difficulties; 6) Difficulty following oral step directions; 7) Poor topic maintenance and/or difficulties in turn taking skills during conversations; 8) Difficulty in classroom discussions; 9) Reducing the length and complexity of an utterance; 10) Habitually using a too soft or harsh voice or some other vocal abnormality such as a falsetto tone; 11) Presenting with stuttering including such characteristics as repetitions, prolongations, interjections, and long inappropriate pauses and exhibiting concomitant physical coping behaviors such as blinking, hand or head shaking and finger snapping etc.
After an observation session, the Speech Pathologist will review the findings, along with any other test or family history data, with the family and the classroom teacher, and recommend a program of therapy, if appropriate, to improve the client’s communication skills.
Hence, Observation at Tanya Speech Therapy Will Include:
✓ Obtaining reliable data from a natural setting.
✓ Making observations in a variety setting such as in the home environment, at school (for children), in the workplace (for adults), and in the hospitals.
✓ Working with parents, classroom teachers and other professionals at home, school or in medical care facilities.
✓ Developing data based personalized speech and language treatment goals and plans.