Speech-Language Eligibility Criteria

  • A speech/language pathologist looks at several areas when determining if a child has communication impairment.  Those areas are speech, language, fluency, and voice.  Speech refers to the production of sounds that make up our spoken words and sentences.  Language refers to the use and understanding of words and sentences to convey ideas, including form, content, use and organization of language.  Fluency refers to the way connected speech is produced.  Voice refers to pitch, loudness, and quality of the speaker’s voice.

    Errors Needing Therapy at age:


    3 years

    4 years

    5 years

    6 years

    7 years

    /m/   /h/  /w/

    /p/  /b/


       /t/  /d/  

    /g/  /k/

    /f/  /v/





    /r/  /s/  /sh/

    /ch/ /th/ /zh/

    /z/  /wh/  /j/



    Phonological Processes

    • Vowel distortions
    • Deletion of Final Consonants
    • Deletion of Initial Consonants
    • Stopping of Fricatives and Affricates

    Any 3-year-old pattern and …

    • Fronting Palatals
    • Fronting Velars
    • Cluster Reduction
    • Syllable Reduction
    • Deaffrication

    Any 4-year-old pattern and …

    • Lateral Distortion of Sibilants
















    Potential Communication Concerns

    1. Little or no talking.
    2. Little or no understanding of instructions or information.
    3. Limited receptive and expressive vocabulary (words that a child understands and uses).
    4. Difficulty recalling known vocabulary (word retrieval).
    5. Difficulty paying attention and remembering information heard.
    6. Grammatical mistakes in a child’s oral language that interfere with communication.
    7. Frequent interruptions in the flow of speech (stuttering).
    8. Speech sound errors which should have developed at an earlier age.
    9. Voice quality which interferes with daily communication.
    10. Inappropriate pragmatic skills during conversation (eye contact, turn taking, off topic responses).

    Referrals that may not result in a Speech/Language Screening

    1. A child (Kdg, 1st, 2nd grades) who is exhibiting developmental speech errors.
    2. A child whose speech sounds are distorted due to temporary orthodontia or missing teeth.
    3. A child who qualifies for bilingual services but placement has been refused.
    4. A child with typical dysfluencies that shows no awareness or concern (particularly in Kdg, 1st, 2nd graders).
    5. A child who is exhibiting vocal nasality due to colds or allergies.

    Student must demonstrate an adverse effect in order to be eligible for special education.

    Expected Language Skills

    3 Years

    1. Child uses pronouns: I, you, me, correctly
    2. Child is using some plurals and past tenses
    3. Child knows at least 3 prepositions (usually in, on, under)
    4. Child knows chief parts of body and should be able to indicate these if not name
    5. Child handles 3-word sentences easily
    6. Child has approximately 900-1000 words
    7. Approximately 90% intelligible
    8. Verbs begin to predominate
    9. Child understands most simple questions dealing with his/her environment and activities
    10. Child can reason out questions such as “What must you do when you are sleepy?” (hungry, cold, thirsty, etc.)
    11. Child can name gender, name, and age

    4 Years

    1. Child can use at least four prepositions or can demonstrate understanding of their meanings when given commands
    2. Child names common objects in picture books or magazines
    3. Child knows one or more colors
    4. Child can repeat 4 digits which are given slowly and can usually repeat words of four syllables.
    5. Child has concepts of one and more than one
    6. Child often indulges in make-believe
    7. Child demonstrates extensive verbalization as he/she carries out activities
    8. Child asks many questions—chiefly those with “why”
    9. Child understands such concepts as: over, under, longer, large, when a contrast is presented
    10. Child readily follows simple commands even though objects are not in sight
    11. Child repeats many words, phrases, syllables and sounds


    1. Child can speak in complete sentences ranging from 5 to 10 words.
    2. Child can use and understand a variety of words and can elaborate on a topic when asked.
    3. Child uses and understands many conceptual/instructional terms such as:  above, behind, few, several, second, etc.
    4. Child asks and answers questions including who, what, when, where, and why question forms.
    5. Child can follow 2-step oral directions.
    6. Child can listen to a short story and answer a few questions about the story.
    7. Child can use descriptive words (both adjectives and adverbs) spontaneously
    8. Occasional hesitations in speech are normal for children between the ages of 2 to 6.

    Elementary School

    1. Child understands and uses a variety of age-appropriate vocabulary to express ideas.
    2. Child develops age-appropriate thinking and problem-solving skills.
    3. Child uses age-appropriate sentence length and complexity.
    4. Child uses age-appropriate grammar in oral language
    5. Child continues to develop age-appropriate listening skills and increased retention of information heard.
    6. Child uses language for a variety of purposes, such as requesting, inquiring, or negotiating at appropriate times according to age-appropriate skills.
    7. Child uses age-appropriate pragmatic skills including topic maintenance, turn taking, and eye contact.

    Note: Clinical judgment may necessitate modification of guidelines.

    CLA Speech/Language Pathologists

    Kim Chung, SLP, ChungK@ccsd15.net, 847-963-3446
    Brenda Eberline, SLP, MullanB@ccsd15.net, 847-963-3447
    Julia Cygnar, SLP, cygnarj@ccsd15.net, 847-963-3444
    Annice Coughlan, SLP, coughlaa@ccsd15.net, 847-963-3442
    Georgia Petersen, SLP, peterseg@ccsd15.net, 847-963-3440
    Estelle Torok, SLP, toroke@ccsd15.net, 847-963-3481
    Gemma Skokna, SLP, skoknag@ccsd15.net, 847-963-3445
    Heather Duran, SLP, duranh@ccsd15.net, 847-963-3447
    Brittnay Milford, SLP, milfordb@ccsd15.net, 847-963-3441
    Nimra Burney, SLP, burneyn@ccsd15.net, 847-963-3447


    Phoneme Norms: Adapted from the Missouri State Plan for Special Education 2007. Norms based on the Nebraska Replication of Iowa Norms (Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, Vol. 55, 779-798, November 1990, Table 7, page 795).

    Phonological Processes: Adapted from Missouri Speech-Language-Hearing Association: Kwiatkowski, J., & Shriberg, L.D. (1993) Speech Normalization in Developmental Phonological Disorders Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools Vol.24 10-18.

    Secord, Wayne (2003) Intervention-Based Assessment of Articulation and Phonology: When Enough is Enough!

    Selected Language Norms: Adapted with Permission from Schaumburg School District 54.

    www.talkingchild.com/speechchart.html (retrieved November 2009) Adapted from Sander JSHD 1972; Smit, et al JSHD 1990 and the Nebraska-Iowa Articulation Norms Project.