Monday, March 31, 2014

Comprehensive Assessment of Monolingual and Bilingual Children with Down Syndrome: A Review

Children with Down Syndrome present with unique characteristics and challenges as compared to many of the different populations with whom I work in my school-based setting.  Honestly, it is a population about whom I know little.  Today, I have the incredible privilege of reviewing for you a product by Tatyana Elleseff MA CCC-SLP of Smart Speech Therapy LLC entitled Comprehensive Assessment of  Monolingual and Bilingual Children with  Down Syndrome.

Let's begin...


Tatyana's presentation is intended to assist the reader with the assessment of children, both monolingual and/or bilingual, with Down Syndrome.  She details the specific speech-language deficits frequently observed in this population, and provides examples of how to document these deficits in written form to develop an appropriate plan of service in multiple target areas.  It is intended, not only for speech-language pathologists, but for parents/caregivers and related professionals as well.

Down Syndrome:  An Introduction

For those of you like me who have little experience with this population, Tatyana begins by expertly describing the prevalence, general milestones, and specific impact of this disorder on the areas of feeding, oral sensitivity, swallowing, craniofacial anatomy, speech, voice, fluency and prosody, language (covering all components), and IQ.  This information provided me with valuable background knowledge I was lacking, as I knew of speech-language deficits from my graduate work, but lack that same degree of detail with many of the other areas covered.  She also detailed overall strengths and weaknesses typically displayed by this population.  I know this summary was very beneficial for me in looking at how I could re-tailor how I work with this population.  Now I know how to better use each student's strengths to work toward minimizing his/her weaknesses.

Assessments for Nonverbal and Limitedly Verbal Children with Down Syndrome  

Do you have difficulty assessing your children with Down Syndrome with traditional assessments? Me too :( You will absolutely treasure this section of Tatyana's presentation.  Again, her attention to detail is impeccable as she explores assessment of each of the different facets of speech-language that should be considered/evaluated when working with this population.  Assessments for both nonverbal and limitedly verbal children are explained in detail.  Links to products are included for your convenience and some of these assessments are FREE!  Yes, you heard me correctly, FREE!  I have some experience with both the Augmentative & Alternative Communication Profile and the Communication Matrix and have used both with a variety of different populations, but I haven't yet used with children with Down Syndrome.  It is definitely time for me to pull these tools from my toolbox as well as try new ones suggested by Tatyana.  A quick summary of each is included to aid the clinician in selecting the most appropriate assessment(s) for the child in mind.  


Being from a more rural area of northeast Indiana, bilingualism in my district, while present, is a very, very small percentage of my caseload.  That being said, it is rarely a factor in the assessments I typically conduct. I appreciate all the efforts displayed by my colleagues in working with bilingual children.  Tatyana specializes in the area of bilingualism, so I truly appreciate and respect her expertise in this area.  Her analysis of factors to consider and how those factors shape the assessment process is an excellent resource to which I will refer in the future, should bilingualism be a consideration in a child for whom I am providing a speech-language evaluation.

Evaluation Report Writing Considerations

Report writing is by far one of the most challenging components of my job.  I always err on the side of caution and include more information that what most would consider critical information. Call that a strength if you will, but it also makes for a long, detailed report for my readers.  For anyone who struggles with this, or who just wants to improve his/her report writing skills, the samples included by Tatyana provide excellent examples of not only the areas to be included, but wording to be considered/used.  I found her examples for the bilingual population to be an excellent resource should I switch settings or experience multiple students in the future for whom this is applicable.  Not only are Tatyana's examples an excellent representation of information that should be considered/shared regarding children with Down Syndrome, they are an excellent model by which to write any evaluation report.  In addition to the areas detailed above, Tatyana also provides examples for adaptive behavior and learning style, attention to task, and dynamic assessment, all of which are additional areas to consider.  One could not ask for a more thorough representation/example of report writing for this intended population. Tatyana left no stone unturned!

Writing Therapy Goals

Another area equally challenging for myself as a fairly new clinician is goal writing, particularly for individuals who present with characteristics with which I am less familiar.  Tatyana's section on writing appropriate goals is extremely thorough and an excellent reminder to any clinician of what to consider and/or include in writing meaningful, measurable goals.  SMART, or Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound, should guide each and every goal that we write as clinicians. Tatyana provides the reader with both tips and specific examples for writing these SMART goals and includes both long-term goals and short-term objectives.  An excellent resource to have available for any new student who crosses your path!


What more can I need this packet!  The packet as a whole is a valuable resource for working with children with Down Syndrome.  In addition, Tatyana has listed 3 pages of resources to aid all individuals who work with this population - links included.  What are you waiting for? Check out Comprehensive Assessment of Monolingual and Bilingual Children with Down Syndrome at Tatyana's store:  Smart Speech Therapy, LLC by clicking here.

A heart-felt thank you to Tatyana Elleseff for allowing me the privilege of reviewing this product.  It will indeed change the way in which I work with my students with Down Syndrome.


Graphic obtained from:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"What's In Your Cart" Linky Party

Wow, I can't believe it is that time again!  Time for the "'What's in Your Cart" Linky Party!  Thanks to the 3 million teacher milestone at TPT, a site-wide sale is being offered this Thursday and Friday, February 27th and 28th.  The Linky Party is the perfect way to scout out great new products being offered by sellers like myself as well as products I think are noteworthy and in my cart for purchase!

First, ALL of the products in my store STRAIGHT UP SPEECH will be available for 20% off.  When you combine that with the promo code TPT3 at checkout, you can get a whopping 28% off!!  These TPT site-wide sales only come along a couple times a year, so now is the time to stock up for the remainder of the school year!

What's new in my store you might ask?  Well, here are my favorites...

1. Token Boards:  A Seasonal and Holiday Assortment Pack

This packet includes an assortment of 50 different token boards that can be used for a variety of speech-language activities!  The kid-friendly graphics are sure to be a hit with your students!  Check it out here:

2. Articulation BINGO for /sh/, /ch/, and /dz/

This is the 5th set in my Articulation Bingo series!  At a whopping 95 pages, it provides the target sounds in all word positions with bingo boards per position as well as mixed boards with all positions represented! Stimulus cards are also provided for drill, memory, and go fish activities!  Find it here:

3.  Last, but not least, Luck O' The Irish Open-Ended Game Boards and Activities for Speech and Language (Just in time for St. Patrick's Day).  This is the third in a series of open-ended game boards and activities I have created!  You can find out more about this particular set by clicking here: and noteworthy from my fellow TPT sellers that are must-haves in my cart:

1.  Tackling Apraxia:  CV & CVC Early Sounds Edition /b, p, t, d, k, g, m, n, j, w, h,f/ by Mia McDaniel (Putting Words in Your Mouth)

I have recently seen an increase in students with apraxia of speech on my caseload.  I'll admit, I am growing tired of using the K when I saw this packet, I knew it had to go on my wish list.  Not only does it include picture cards, it includes pacing charts and boards with super cute kid-friendly graphics!  I am excited to pick this one up to use with my preschoolers!  You can find this packet by clicking here:

2.  Describing Daisies:  an EET Companion Activity by Jennifer Gibbs-Moses (SLPRunner)

I have heard such good things about EET (Expanding Expression Tool) that I am always looking for packets I could use with it once I purchase it.  The great thing about this packet is that while it can be used with EET, it can also STAND ALONE!  Check out this packet by clicking here:

3.  Category Sort - 2nd Edition by Natalie Boatwright of Just Wright Speech

I picked up the 1st Edition awhile back and was excited to see that Natalie added a second one!  This set targets toys, letters, numbers, furniture, desserts, clothing, school, sports, and tools.  I can't wait to use this with my preschoolers.  Want a peek - head on over by clicking here:

4.  Associations:  An Interactive No Print Activity by Jess Schulman from Figuratively Speeching SLP

If you are anything like me,  you go through ink like CRAZY!  Well, have I got the perfect activity for you. This one can be downloaded to your iPad or used on your computer - NO INK NECESSARY...need I say more?  Ok, how about it is also an amazing activity for targeting associations!  You can find out more by clicking here:

5.  BOOK COMPANIONS ROCK!  I found a collection of 4 from Karen Parden over at the Speech Umbrella

I love the books by Laura Numeroff and this packet features 4 of them!  Check out If you give a...Bundled units for speech and language and follow the adventures of cat, pig, mouse and moose!  Find them all by clicking here:

6.  Last, but not certainly least...Minimal Pairs:  Final Consonant Deletion, Phonology, Speech Therapy by Kelly Hungaford from Speech2U

I need some new minimal pairs activities to supplement my current materials and am so excited to pick this one up.  I have quite a few preschoolers who delete final consonant sounds so this will be a new way in which I can target this in therapy...More versions are planned too...can't wait!  Want your own here:

Whew...who knew an SLP could "talk" so much! Ha Ha!  Thanks so much for sticking with me!  Hope you find exactly the materials you need during the sale.  If not, please feel free to drop me a message/leave a comment below and I will see what I can create to meet your needs.  Until next time...happy shopping