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 then 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 (also available as an editable pdf here) 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 May 2020 thanks to Kerry Wyer for telling me that the links to these checklists were not working. You can now download them directly from my website since they’re no longer available via Oz Child, and I was involved in creating them (though the main person was Marcella Van Mourik).

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