I've been saying the Girl is bright, that were it not for the speech issue we would have ourselves a regular genius on our hands. Actually that's not accurate. We DO have a genius on our hands. It's just hard to know it when her ability to communicate is so diminished.
Yesterday the speech therapist began to administer an assessment of the Girl called the PLS-4 (Preschool Language Scale.) It's used to determine cognitive skills and both receptive and expressive language ability. The first portion yesterday was cognitive and receptive language. My wife took her to the appointment and gave me the report. The Girl began to run out of steam toward the end, no doubt the result of her recent illness, but the results were rather astonishing.
The test can be used for children 3 to 6 years of age. The Girl is not quite 3 yet so expectations were a little low. Surprise! She showed stunning ability. The speech therapist has been administering the PLS for quite a few years, but she had never had a child reach the level the Girl did before they called it quits for the day - never. When they left off she was already testing at a five year old level of cognition, reasoning, and understanding of instructions. Again, the therapist had never even administered that portion of the test because no child had ever gotten that far. She was blown away. She speculated that the Girl's reasoning skills had actually been enhanced by her diminished skill with speech: the Girl must figure out alternative ways to express herself and that had developed her problem-solving skills far beyond her age.
What does this mean?
Expressive and receptive language skills should go hand in hand, with expressive ability lagging somewhat behind receptive ability. That's typical. There should not be more than a 6 month deviation between the two. If the child is only understanding at a 3 year old level than that's where their expressive skills should be as well (minus no more than 6 months or so.) As long as they are together it indicates (though doesn't assure) a simple delay and not a major problem. The school district wants this assessment done to determine her eligibility for services. The fact that her understanding and reasoning are far beyond her age and that her expressive skills, when tested, will probably be a year or so less than her age will mean a gap between the two of 3 years (or more); not the standard 6 months.
Hello, real problem, and hello services (we hope).
She is one smart cookie and my sadness that this bright and well-reasoned view of the world can not escape from her is overwhelming.
The only greater tragedy would be if no remedy was offered.
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