Understanding your data
Things to look out for:
- Be aware of children who score well (e.g., 4 or 5) for the section on ‘What the child uses’ but poorly (e.g., 2 or under) for the section on ‘What the child understands’, or vice versa. This could mean the child has a specific communication difficulty.
- If a child achieves successive Amber codes, this too could indicate a specific language difficulty, so further specialist referral is required.
- If you and the parent/s have concerns, then you may wish to discuss them further with your local speech and language therapist.
By using the WellComm Screening Tool you will have found out…
- … whether a child’s language skills are coded Red, Amber or Green when screened on their age-appropriate section
- … on which section the child achieves a Green code. Remember to record this on the Score Sheet that corresponds with the child’s chronological age. This will allow you to follow the appropriate advice and activities in The Big Book of Ideas.
Identifying areas to work on
Once you have completed the Screening Tool and obtained a score, it is important to look over the Score Sheets to see which items were the most problematic. You may notice a trend, or you may see that all aspects are developing evenly but at a slower pace than you would expect for the child’s age.
You will be able to see which areas of language are appropriate within the child’s age band and which (if any) are mildly or significantly delayed. Whilst WellComm is primarily a Screening Tool and was not designed to give any sort of diagnosis, this qualitative information combined with the experience of profiling, through observation, discussion and direct testing, can be very useful in helping you gain a fully rounded picture of the child’s communication and learning skills. This in turn will help you reflect on the child’s learning style so that you can plan your teaching accordingly, helping you to focus on any area that seems out of sync with the rest.
Deciding how to intervene – whether group, individual or both – will depend on a number of factors including attention and listening skills, group composition (e.g. are there any children with similar profiles and needs?), the nature of your setting and the resources that you have available.
Warning: age-equivalent scores
Please do not use the Screening Tool to give the parent/s age equivalent scores for their child. This is often unhelpful and can be quite a negative experience. The Screening Tool has not been designed to provide a specific language age; rather it generates a profile of strengths and needs, which enables the practitioner to plan teaching targets and select the relevant activities to help a child improve their speech and language skills.