JCPSLP Vol 18 No. 1Mar 2016

Prediction and Prognosis

Top 10 resources Prediction and prognosis Wendy-Mae Rapson

T he Department of Education and Training provides speech pathology services to schools through local networks. Wendy-Mae Rapson works in the Southern Peninsula Network in Victoria with a team totalling 3.4 speech pathologists. The team works with students with a vast range of speech, language, fluency, and learning difficulties. A strong focus on working with schools and improving teacher capacity has proven key in the provision of services. Since the equivalent full-time (EFT) number of staff can change, as well as the number of students and schools, flexibility is key to the provision of services. These are Wendy-Mae’s top ten resources that relate to the area of “Prediction and prognosis”. 1 Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF-4 Australian; Wiig, Secord, & Semel, 2006) This language assessment provides not only diagnostic information about receptive and expressive language skills, but also includes a working memory component which is useful for the diagnosis and subsequent planning of interventions. Available from http://www.pearsonclinical., from $1495. 2 The Renfrew Action Picture Test The Renfrew Action Picture Test (Renfrew, 2003) is a quick screening tool which provides invaluable qualitative information about speech and language production. While the norms for this assessment can no longer be considered, the use of this tool to assess general language skills is still appropriate in the school setting. This tool can be used to predict a student’s ability to access spoken language in the classroom and determine whether additional assessment is necessary. Available from www., $99.95. 3 Phonological and morphological awareness assessment There are several tools that can be used to assess phonological awareness, for example, the Sutherland Phonological Awareness Test – Revised (SPAT-R; Neilson, 2003), the Queensland University Inventory of Literacy (QUIL; Dodd, Holm, Oerlemans, & McCormack, 1996), and the criterion referenced subtest of the CELF-4. At school entry, phonological awareness is considered the best predictor of reading success, whereas when students are approximately 10 years of age, morphological awareness becomes the best predictor. The assessment and

subsequent identification of issues in this area provides information that shows the specific skills a student needs to work on in order to improve literacy outcomes. In my experience, the explicit teaching of these skills is the best predictor of a positive prognosis. These skills can be embedded into classroom practice, thus having a global focus for the student/s who require extra work in this area. SPAT-R is available from, $187.00; QUIL is available from, $100.00. 4 Teacher capacity Working across several schools with large caseloads can be challenging. One sure way of ensuring a positive prognosis for students with communication and learning difficulties is to build capacity with classroom teachers. Effective and well-trained teachers can support all students to make progress with their speech and language skills, which in turn improves the development of literacy and numeracy at school. Many teachers welcome classroom support for their students who have language and learning difficulties, and further develop their abilities in assessing, planning, and delivering effective oral language programs. 5 Individual education plans In my experience, students with current individual education plans (IEPs) are more likely to reach their goals in a timely manner than those without the resource. IEPs incorporate the use of SMART goals, which are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Oral language goals need to be included in IEPs to ensure that the student’s oral language development is a priority in the classroom. IEPs also assist parents to focus on the needs of their child with regard to educational progres with the inclusion of oral language. Speech pathologists are well placed to be part of the team that develop and monitor IEPs. 6 Parent participation The active participation of parents in their children’s treatment is one of the determining factors in a positive prognosis for that student. School, therapist, and parent interaction and collaboration is of utmost importance for progress to occur. In some situations where parent participation is absent, it is possible to work with a significant other in that child’s life, or utilise the education support staff at the school to follow up with work. 7 Referral pathways Referrals to and from appropriate professionals are an important factor that contribute to a positive prognosis for

Wendy-Mae Rapson


JCPSLP Volume 18, Number 1 2016

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