Language for learning checklists

Many children have hidden difficulties with language, both spoken and written. After all, there’s about one child in every classroom with a Specific Language Impairment.

In 2001, the Speech Pathology Australia Language-Learning Disability Special Interest Group of which I was a member drew up a couple of checklists to help parents and teachers document school-aged children’s language difficulties, and consider what further assessment to seek.

They were made freely available online on the OzChild website.

There is a Primary Level one for children aged about 5-12, with questions in each of the following areas:

  • Behaviour
  • Verbal memory and sequencing
  • Comprehension
  • Expressive language/story telling
  • Word retrieval/vocabulary
  • Social communication
  • Saying complex words
  • Sound awareness
  • Any other information
  • Assessments required

The Secondary Level checklist has questions in the following categories:

  • Academic and literate language use
  • Behaviour:
    • Difficulty processing auditory information
    • Disguising problems, coping strategies, behaviour that interferes with learning
    • Difficulty planning tasks and working independently
    • Difficulty with social skills
  • Speaking and listening skills:
    • Difficulty with language comprehension
    • Limited range and flexibility of vocabulary
    • Difficulty with language expression
    • Difficulty with “text” level language
  • Any other information

Both these checklists are non-standardised and descriptive assessments only, but are still useful tools for gathering information about a school-aged child’s language skills in their usual environments.

The secondary level one I think is particularly useful, as there aren’t many checklists which ask questions relevant to adolescent language in the secondary school context.

PS in September 2018: Thanks to Lisa Archibald for telling me that they are still available, as they disappeared for a while.

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