Specialized Service Delivery

We offer a variety of individualized assessments and therapies – such as psychological/neuropsychological, speech-language-communication, reading/literacy, and more – that take into account the unique needs of deaf and hearing clients who have communication or developmental challenges.

All assessments and services offered through The Clinic at CCCBSD are available to individuals who communicate through American Sign Language (ASL), spoken English, or with the support of an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device. Family support is also provided to assist with understanding the findings and recommendations of assessments and services. Additional support and training from The Clinic can be arranged for schools and organizations.

Psychological/Neuropsychological Assessment

A psychological/neuropsychological assessment is a process of gathering information from formal testing, observation, and interview about an individual’s cognitive and neurobehavioral functioning. More specifically, this may include the child’s knowledge/abilities, problem-solving skills, approach to challenging tasks, and social-emotional functioning. A psychological/neuropsychological assessment report will document an individual’s competencies – including strengths and weaknesses – and describe the impact of the individual’s profile on real-life functioning. Recommendations are usually offered to help address any concerns raised through the assessment process and to foster the individual’s strengths. If appropriate, a psychologist can provide a formal diagnosis by identifying particular challenges in cognitive, learning, attentional/self-regulatory, or emotional domains.

Common questions that might lead to a psychological/neuropsychological assessment:

  1. My daughter seems to struggle to learn. Is it possible to find out how she is doing compared to other children her age, so that we know if this is “typical”?
  2. We did not know about our child’s hearing loss until he was nearly 3 years of age; now, he is having difficulty with developing language. Is this because of his hearing, or is there something else that is influencing his language development?
  3. My daughter’s teacher has expressed concerns that my daughter is not focusing well in class. How can I know if she is having difficulty understanding the content, problems paying attention, or whether something else might be going on?
  4. Our son communicates using AAC. We worry that others make assumptions about his abilities because of how he communicates. Is it possible to find out “how smart” he is?
  5. I am the Special Education director for my school district. Our school psychologist is excellent, but does not have experience conducting assessments with a child who communicates using an AAC device and some signs from ASL. We need to have a psychological assessment conducted with this child. Can we hire The Clinic to conduct an independent assessment? 

Speech, Language, and Communication Assessment

A speech, language, and communication assessment involves measuring a child’s performance across many areas, including speech/articulation, fluency, receptive and expressive language, and social/pragmatic skills. Assessments may include formal tests, checklists, language samples, observations, parent/caregiver reports, and/or interviews with family or educational team members. Typically, the assessment report will describe current abilities, indicate if skills are above or below average, identify areas of strength and need, and provide recommendations to improve the child’s speech, language, and/or communication skills. Further treatment or assessment may be recommended, such as individual or group therapy, or an augmentative-alternative communication (AAC) evaluation. If appropriate, a speech-language pathologist can diagnose language-related disorders.

Common questions that might lead to speech-language assessment:

  1. People outside our family have a difficult time understanding our three-year-old’s speech. Is this “typical” or does she have a speech sound disorder?
  2. Our child is on the autism spectrum and can only say a few words. Is there anything we can do to increase his communication skills?
  3. Our child recently started stuttering, and it seems to happen more and more. Is this a “normal” part of development or should we think about starting speech therapy?
  4. My toddler has a hearing loss and two cochlear implants. How can I be sure he is developing speech and language the way he should be?
  5. A student in my class is hard of hearing and has a variety of special needs. Can The Clinic help me learn more about how her language is impacting her abilities in other areas, like academics and daily living skills?

Augmentative and Alternative Communication Evaluation

An augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) evaluation examines an individual’s current communication abilities to determine how AAC may help improve those skills across settings. An AAC evaluation involves a parent/caregiver interview, discussion of any previous AAC systems used, and exploration of different types of low- and high-tech AAC systems, such as communication books, voice-output systems, and others. A client’s ability to access an AAC system will be assessed through the exploration of different vocabulary displays and access modes such as switches, eye gaze, mounts, or direct selection. Based on the results of the evaluation, a trial of an AAC system may be recommended. During this time, our clinicians will provide support to families, consult to members of the education team, and provide communication therapy as needed. If appropriate, guidance can also be offered in purchasing an AAC system.

Common questions that might lead to an AAC evaluation:

  1. My son is a teenager and only says a few words and phrases. He will be graduating soon and entering adult services. Is it too late to try AAC with him?
  2. My child only communicates by grabbing things, crying, or tantruming. Would AAC help with these behaviors?
  3. Our daughter has trouble fully expressing herself, but we really want her to talk. Will an AAC device help her or will it prevent her from speaking?
  4. Our four-year old was recently diagnosed with a motor speech disorder. He is starting to become frustrated when we cannot understand what he’s saying. Would AAC help him?
  5. A student in my elementary classroom is struggling to communicate with her peers. Is AAC something that could help her engage with her peers more successful?

Educational Assessment

An educational assessment involves gathering information about a child’s classroom-based skills. Formal testing tools may be supplemented with checklists, observation, and interviews with a child’s family or educational team. Areas of focus in an educational assessment include reading/literacy (reading readiness, comprehension, and writing) and mathematics (numeracy, computation, and application of math to everyday problems). Typically, an educational assessment report will describe current educational functioning, identify areas of strength and need, and provide recommendations for how the child’s educational team can support development in these areas.

Common questions that might lead to an educational assessment:

  1. My family just moved to the area, and we want to be sure my daughter’s new school understands her as a learner. Can we find out “how she is doing” with her reading and math, so we can know more about her strengths and needs?
  2. My son is hard of hearing and just started kindergarten. When I see him around other children, I get concerned that he might be falling behind. How can I know if he is developing school skills alongside the other children?
  3. Our daughter’s middle school told us that she should be in a program to work only on life skills, since she hasn’t been progressing in reading or math. How can we learn more about what she is able to do in these areas?
  4. I am a special education administrator and we have a new student moving to my district who has special needs and communicates using AAC. Can The Clinic help us determine her academic skills so we can best determine how to place this student?

Teacher of the Deaf Assessment

A Teacher of the Deaf assessment is appropriate for children who are deaf and hard of hearing across all educational settings, from general education/mainstream to self-contained classrooms, as well as those who use hearing assistive technology (e.g. FM systems) or an ASL interpreter. This assessment is generally performed by observing the child in his or her typical learning environment, completing checklists, and interviewing those who care for or work with the child on a regular basis. The clinician will make recommendations on accommodations, modifications, and training that may be necessary to ensure an appropriate learning environment for the deaf or hard of hearing child. One-on-one assessment of the child’s skills is typically not a part of this type of assessment; the focus is primarily on the learning environment and level of access to information available to the child.

Common questions that might lead to a Teacher of the Deaf assessment:

  1. My deaf daughter is going to be turning 3 soon and I’m not sure what type of preschool would be best for her. What kind of classroom would help her the most?
  2. My son is hard of hearing, and his teacher said that he is missing a lot of information from class. I’m not sure what to do. Can you help?
  3. My daughter, who is deaf, is going to high school next year. How can I make sure all her new teachers know how to work with her, and use her FM system and ASL interpreter?
  4. My son is hard of hearing and is in a typical 3rd grade classroom all day. His grades are fine but it seems like he isn’t making friends. I’m concerned – what do I do?
  5. I’m a leader in my school’s special education department, and we just found out a deaf student is coming to our school. We have never had a deaf student before. Can The Clinic provide some guidance on how to make sure we have everything in place for this student?

Reading/Literacy Assessment

A reading/literacy assessment uses formal assessment tools, observation, checklists, and review of school records and curricula to provide information on a child’s specific literacy skills and difficulties. Areas of focus may include phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. For children who are deaf or hard of hearing, the assessment may also focus on conversations, letter-sound learning, and writing. A reading/literacy assessment report will offer recommendations to target objectives in a way that is meaningful and measurable, although it will not lead to diagnosis of a reading or writing disability. If a reading or writing disability is suspected, a reading/literacy assessment in conjunction with a psychological assessment can be useful in determining if a diagnosis is appropriate for the child.

Common questions that might lead to a literacy assessment:

  1. My daughter is deaf and is struggling with reading and writing. Is it because of her hearing loss or is something else going on?
  2. My son already has intervention services, but is not progressing, can I find out exactly what his strengths and needs are?
  3. A student in my classroom frequently expresses hate for reading and seems to be falling behind. What should I do?
  4. We have a student in our school district who is struggling in science and has a hard time understanding content, could this be a reading problem?
  5. My son is in preschool and showing difficulties developing literacy skills. Is he too young for reading services?

 


Behavioral Assessment

A functional behavior assessment (FBA), conducted by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), examines the functions – or causes – of behavior through the use of indirect measures, direct observation, and analysis of behavioral data. An FBA report describes the behaviors in question, their functions, and strategies for replacing inappropriate/challenging behaviors with more functional alternatives. Additionally, the report includes recommended changes to the environment and addresses how to increase carryover among home, school, and community settings.

Common questions that might lead to a behavioral assessment:

  1. My son often engages in extremely challenging behavior and I am running out of ideas to try. What should I do?
  2. As a school professional, I am concerned about a student who is repeatedly having trouble following directions. How can I help this student?
  3. My daughter has a lot of temper tantrums. She often cries, hits, or throws herself on the floor, and I don’t know what is causing this. Can you help me to understand why this is happening and what I can do to support my daughter?

Speech, Language, and Communication Services

The Clinic at CCCBSD provides speech, language, and communication services to children of all ages who are deaf or hard of hearing as well as children who have developmental or communication disorders, autism spectrum disorder, childhood apraxia of speech, Down syndrome, and other genetic syndromes. Speech, language, and communication therapy can address difficulties with receptive and/or expressive language and communication, and social/pragmatic skills. Additionally, for oral language users, speech sound production, auditory processing, and fluency support are available. These services are also available for individuals who use augmentative-alternative communication (AAC) devices.

Common questions that might lead to speech, language and communication services:

  1. My son just got an iPad with an AAC app. Where do we start? How can we use it with him at home?
  2. My preschooler is only speaking a few words, and she gets very frustrated when we don’t understand what she wants. How can we help her communicate and increase her spoken language?
  3. Our school-age daughter is hard of hearing, and sometimes her speech can be difficult to understand. Would speech-language therapy help her with this?
  4. A student at our school was recently diagnosed with autism. What can we do to increase his language and communication skills?
  5. My daughter just received a cochlear implant. Would therapy help her with speech development?

Reading/Literacy Tutoring

Individualized reading/literacy tutoring may be appropriate for children of any age, and can focus on pre-reading and writing skills, content area literacy skills, or application of literacy skills in the community. Reading/literacy tutoring uses assessment as a basis for instructional decisions. The Reading Specialist will plan and implement lessons and interventions with the child in addition to developing family involvement programs.

Common questions that might lead to reading tutoring:

  1. My son is hard of hearing and I do not know how to help him with reading skills at home. Is the process of learning how to read different for him? How can I help him?
  2. Will you provide me, as a parent, tools and resources to help my child at home?
  3. My daughter is in preschool and showing difficulties developing literacy skills. Is she too young for reading services?
  4. One of my 5th grade students is struggling with reading. Is it still possible to work on building foundational reading skills? What if he is already behind?