Thursday, March 3, 2016

Assessments for Social or Pragmatic Language?

Sometimes we get a question and I don't know the answer, but I know those who know. Thus the below"

Question: I am a speech-language pathologist for a K-8 district and we are wondering about a test for social or pragmatic language, specifically for our students with high functioning ASD or possible ASD.  Do you know what people are using?


"I've used the Social Language Development Test and found that it tests high for some children who actually struggle pragmatically in real life. Our coop also has the Test of Pragmatic Language-2. It's similar to the SLD test in that it some of the responses ask the child to explain how he knows a given solution to a problem might work.

The CELF Pragmatic Profile and Pragmatic Activities sections allow a better opportunity to describe what most people are observing and considering to be the child's obvious pragmatic challenges."

"For ASD, I use the SCQ and/or the SRS.

I like the scales on the SRS-2  because it breaks down social motivation, social cognition, etc., from autistic mannerisms; it is better than the SCQ, especially for measuring school age individuals who might undergo an intervention like Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking."

"  Here are some things I prefer/use a lot in our district.

Test of Problem Solving- there is an elementary and adolescent.  This has just been redone and unfortunately is LONG but it is my go to on several levels- first, the assessment itself looks at higher level language- inferencing, predicting, cause effect etc… and all of the situations used to elicit answers have a strong social component-  they require analysis of what is going on in the picture or paragraph, who is involved, feelings people may have, perspective taking etc.  In addition, for high kids I use it to analyze language overall… ie instead of a traditional language test, I can analyze a students syntax, ability to formulate answers, ability to use language concisely etc, by analyzing their answers to the social pragmatic questions.  So I screen general language with it as well as score it for pragmatics and social.  

*** consider intra kid comparison- if IQ and academics are very high, which they often are, then a standard score  of 85 might be pretty significant.  

Test of Language Competence- use in a similar manner- a bit more language based.  

After that, check lists/ criterion based is about all we have.  CELF profile is one.   For kids older than 3rd grade ish and high functioning kids we almost always use the “double interview” developed by Michelle Winner…. Latest version is in Thinking about me Thinking about you second addition.   She has developed criteria to judge the sample by even though it is also not norm referenced.  There are several parts, including a section involving family photos and some sequence card activities… you kind of need to do all the parts to get the whole picture.  

We always add observation of kid in action to add to the whole picture

That is sort of our core here.  It is not a one test slam dunk unfortunately.  If I had to use one thing only, besides observation, I would use the TOPS."

From an SLP:

"The Social Thinking Dynamic Assessment Protocol. It is in the back of the Thinking About You Thinking About Me book.   I also saw that MGW mentioned the Children's Communication Ch Calistoga for ages 4-16 and Barry Prizant's. SCERTS for all ages."