Language Disorder Evaluation

A thorough language disorder evaluation is necessary before any speech therapy treatment begins. 

Without a thorough evaluation by a qualified speech-language pathologist, a child will have a scattered and inappropriate treatment plan which equals frustration, loss of time and money, and little to no progress.

Language Disorder Evaluation

Language Disorder Evaluation Overview

The actual testing lasts about 1-2 hours (face-to-face with child). The review of the case history, scoring, interpretations, and report writing take longer.

Extensive case history (this one is HUGE)

  • Review of previous medical records
  • Questionnaire for parents on development/home observations
  • Interview with teachers and parents to gather relevant concerns

Oral mechanism examination

  • Asses structure and function of articulators

Standardized testing for any of the following language areas (areas of assessment will depend on results of the case history)

  • phonology
  • semantics
  • morphology
  • syntax
  • pragmatics
  • reading
  • writing

Formal observation across settings such as:

  • Classroom
  • Interacting with family and/or peers
  • Unstructured environments such as recess

Articulation evaluation

  • may be given to rule out a phonological disorder

Different Types Of Language Disorder Evaluations

A language disorder evaluation may include one or more of the following evaluation tools listed below. Most likely a child will complete more than one tool. A variety of evaluations tools is essential to get a full picture of a child’s skills across settings. Remember, language is dependent on context!!!

  • Norm-referenced tests: provides standard scores of a child’s language skills compared with age-matched peers
  • Criterion-referenced tests and developmental scales: provides information about a child’s language skills compared to set of predetermined criteria or developmental milestones
  • Language samples: a spontaneous language sample is collected and analyzed for specific speech/language measures such as mean length of utterance
  • Parent interview/observation: information based on parent report and/or observation of a child in a naturalistic environment
  • Observation: observe a child in a natural environment such as a classroom and describe strengths and areas of need


After completing a language disorder evaluation, results may indicate one or more of the following:

  • Diagnosis of a language disorderspeech sound, and/or phonological disorder
  • Determination of a language delay, NOT a disorder (child is just behind)
  • Description of the characteristics and severity of the disorder or delay (this is one of the MOST important results for goal writing and monitoring progress over time)
  • Description of how language skills vary depending on situation and context (this is the SECOND more important - context is key!)
  • Recommendations for treatment and /or individualized language strategies
  • Referral to other professionals (if needed)

What to do next

If your child already had a language disorder evaluation and you already have the results, start a therapy program immediately. The sooner you begin the better.

In the meantime, you can work on language skills at home with these free activities. These activities are great for all kids, even the kids who didn’t qualify for services!

There is A LOT you can do. It will depend on your child’s age and areas of need.

Below are free, functional language games by age:

Paid options. For a few dollars, you will access to step-by-step guides and printable materials. 

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