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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.