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Parent Referral

What Do I Do If I Suspect My Child Has a Communication Disorder

The first step if you suspect that your child may have a communication disorder is to speak to your child's teacher about your concerns.  Find out what the teacher is seeing in the classroom and if your child is having any difficulties understanding curriculum materials or communicating their thoughts/ideas effectively.


The second step is to request a screening.  Either your child's teacher or a parent can initiate a screening, but written parent permission  is required in order to complete.  The screening is a brief examination of your child's skills and is different from an evaluation.  After a screening is completed you will receive a written summary of the results of the screening.  Results of a screening will be one of the following:


  • Your child passes the screening and no further follow-up is needed.
  • Your child exhibits developmental errors in their speech and follow-up may be recommended in the future.
  • Your child exhibits mild articulation or language concerns that might be addressed through a Response to Intervention (RTI) model.
  • Your child does not pass the screening and further evaluation is recommended.


If your child does not pass the screening, then a formal evaluation will be recommended.  Evaluations are individualized to each student's needs and may include informal assessment measures such as observation of skills; teacher report; and/or classroom observations and formal assessment measures or standardized tests.  In order to complete a formal evaluation, written parent permission is once again needed.  This written permission is known as a consent for evaluation and contains a review of domains relevant for education.  By law, evaluations must be completed within 60 school days from the time written permission for the evaluation is received.


After the evaluation is completed you will have a meeting with the speech/language pathologist and your child's classroom teacher to review the results of the evaluation.  If your child is exhibiting a communication disorder, services will be recommended.  Speech/Language services are considered Special Education Services and therefore your child will receive an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) if eligible for services.  This IEP will only be in place as long as your child is eligible for services.


If your child is exhibiting mild articulation, fluency, or language concerns an RTI plan might be implemented for a short time to see if the difficulties can be remediated without more formal IEP procedures.  RTI plans are not intended to be used for problems that would not be alleviated within a short time frame.  For example, a 12 week plan might be put into place to address a child's sound production errors.  If after that time, the problem continues then IEP procedures would be initiated.


Please refer to the developmental speech production chart below to see if your child's speech errors would be considered developmental for their age/grade.


Speech Sound Eligibility


The following shows what grade each sound would be targeted for remediation in speech therapy in Plainfield District 202. Prior to that age misarticulation of sounds would be considered developmental.


Kindergarten – m, n, h, y, w, p, b, t, d, k, g, f, ng


First – v, l, sh


Second – s, z, ch, th, j


Third – r


 In addition to looking at sound production, patterns of production are also assessed. Children should not be deleting initial (ook/book), medial (bu-on/button), or final sounds (ca-/cat) of words; syllables in words (puter/computer); or misproducing all sounds within a sound class such as stridency deletion (tun/sun; too/zoo; tark/shark).