Social Language Assessments – How to document when there are NO scores?

By Laura A. Doherty, MA, CCC-SLP

In the business of healthcare, it helps to have NUMBERS! A numbered score on an evaluation can tell a school or an insurance company IF and HOW much a child’s learning needs are delayed. The problem is that some concerns can’t be properly quantified by numbers. Social Language is one such area where, while many tests attempt to provide a NUMBER, the numbers don’t often provide a true picture of a child’s skills.

Show me the money!  — What can we do to obtain more accurate results and TRULY reflect a child’s needs? Clubhouse therapists utilize a variety of assessment methods IN REAL TIME in order to obtain the BEST POSSIBLE picture of a child’s communication strengths and needs!


The social cognitive deficit is the most abstract of all learning disabilities, making it extremely difficult to assess through standardized measures.” (Garcia-Winner, 2007)


Social language IS abstract – and changes depending upon age, situation, location, and audience. For example, responding to humor at  age 5 – 6 vs. responding to humor at age 11-12.

  • Falling on the floor laughing or laughing at silly words may be expected at 5 – 6 years, but not at 11-12 years.
  • Responding to a joke at 5 – 6 years is different in the school library compared to at home or at a friend’s home.

Abstract or Concrete – Our Speech/Language Pathologists will combine our clinical judgement with test scores to provide you with an accurate picture and effective strategies!


For more information on our diagnostic evaluations, click here!

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