Experienced West Midlands based speech & language therapy

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

SSLEUTHS: a screening tool to accurately identify a child’s language levels

SSLEUTHS is a screening tool for school staff concerned about a child’s language development.  The assessment is designed for use with school-aged children with special needs and learning difficulties: however, it can also be used for any child for whom language development is causing concern,regardless of educational placement.

Why is it important to identify a child’s level of understanding?

There is an assumption that we know what the children we work with can understand.  In reality many staff not only feel under-confident, but also at a loss as to how to go about an accurate and reliable assessment.  Over--estimating a child’s understanding will mean that your language will be pitched too high and valuable teaching and learning opportunities will be lost.  Pitched too low (if you under-estimate) means chances to stretch and develop the child are wasted. 

Four essentials to keep in mind:

  1. identifying the child’s current level of understanding helps with individual planning
  2. effective monitoring  and evaluation of  progress ensure future planning is appropriate.
  1. reflecting on the appropriateness of tasks and instructions ensures they are at the right level (with modification of adult language where necessary)
  2. optimum teaching & learning environments promote learning at a level appropriate to move the child forwards, stretching his/her knowledge and skills without the risk of failure (scaffolding and bridging learning)

But there are pitfalls!  Children are very good at picking up clues from the people around them and their immediate environment: they catch on to routines, non-verbal cues and, in a group situation, are likely to just copy others.

Using SSLEUTHS takes away all the guesswork.  It covers the ‘who’, ‘what’ ‘why’ & ‘how’ when determining levels of understanding.

Some of the key points addressed by SSLEUTHS

  • Choosing the children to screen
  • How to assess + important things to remember
  • All about information-carrying words (ICWs)
  • How to personalise assessment for individual children who may have specific interests
  • Trouble-shooting (what to do things don’t go according to plan)
  •  References (so you know the principles behind SSLEUTHS are sound)
  • A wealth of appropriate resources

Click here to find out what staff at The Bridge special school thought about their SSLEUTHS inset day 

Talk to us about how SSLEUTHS training  could make a positive impact in your setting.  Contact us: info@soundswellspeech.com 

Find course details here