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Chapter 10

Chronological Age

Determining a child's age to compare them to other children the same age. We typically use years and months (2;3--2 years; 3 months).


The ability to understand language (the opposite of expression).


Refers to the meaning of language (semantics)

Criterion-referenced assessment

non-standardized approaches to assessment provide descriptive information about tasks children routinely encounter in their environment. Unlike norm-referenced measures, scores are not compared to the average scores fo same-age peers.

Developmental Age

Refers to the child's level of development in a given area (language). It is the age of most typically developing children at the time their language is similar to the language of the child being tested.


The ability to produce language (the opposite of comprehension).

Family-Centered Practice

Incorporates families into the assessment and treatment process. This construct is designed to recognize the importance of connections with family members in communication development.


Refers to the structure of language including syntax, morphology, and phonology.

Interactive Assessment

Allows SLPs to test beyond the limits of behaviors the child displays in non-teaching (testing) situations. This type of testing helps clinicians decide whether poor test performance is due to language learning difficulties or lack of understanding of the test task, or limited exposure to the types of questions that are being asked.

Multi-disciplinary Assessment

Members of an assessment team conduct their own independent assesments of the child's abilities that relate to their own interest areas (SLPs evaluate speech and language only, physical therapists--motor abilities). In a summary meeting, each member of the team shares their findings and recommends treatment. The emphasis is on the parts of the child rather than the whole child.

Neutralist Approach

An approach to identifying language disorders in which clinicians base their diagnostic decisions on test scores without taking social norms into consideration.

Normative Approach

An approach to identifying language disorders in which clinicians account for social norms and potential social, educational, vocational, and economic consequences of the child's language abilities in the decision-making process.

Pre-linguistic Communication

Occurs before the child uses words. It includes gestures and non-word vocalizations.


The use of speech or writing to express meaning.

Specific Language Impairment

Difficulties acquiring language in the absence of any other mental, sensory, motoric, emotional, or experiential deficits (functional disorder).

Standardized Assessment

Administration of formal tests to determine how a child's performance on an aspect of language compares to the average performance of children who are the same chronological age.

Trans-disciplinary Assessment

A team of professionals works together to evaluate a child. Members of the team are not limited to the evaluation of any single area of development.

Language Use

Refers to the social aspects of language, which are also called Pragmatics.

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