The checklist is a parent-friendly guide to help you decide which level of lessons you should begin. Remember that it gives a rough idea of your child’s current skill level; it is not a substitute for a professional evaluation by a qualified therapist. If you can, you should get your child evaluated periodically by a professional, even if you are unable to get regular professional therapy for your child.

The Three Areas of the Checklist

The checklist is divided into three main areas: listening, understanding, and talking.

Listening: These are skills related to how well a child can detect, imitate, and discriminate (tell the difference between) sounds, words, phrases, and sentences. As the child progresses, the skills also include sequencing and recall for sounds, words, phrases, and sentences. These are called his
auditory skills.

Understanding: These skills tell us how well the child can understand words/phrases/sentences and paragraphs without relying on the situation or context. This is called his
receptive language.

Talking: These skills tell us the level at which the child has learned to put words together to express
what he wants to say. This is called his expressive language. In addition, it also tells us the level at which he is using sounds of speech, i.e., it tells us how he says something to express what he wants to say. This is called his speech.
The more words he learns to put together, the longer will be his sentences and he will be communicating at a higher level. The more sounds and rhythm he uses correctly when he's talking, the more understandable he will be.

Determine Your Child's Skill Level

The first thing you need to do is determine your child's skill level. Follow the steps given below.

1. Go to the Checklist. Read the description of Level 100 skills in each of the three areas. Make a judgment of the highest level of listening skills your child has mastered. If your child can demonstrate a skill 4 out of 5 times in structured (i.e., sit down, planned) and unstructured (i.e., natural, daily living) activities, you can say that your child has mastered that skill. Do your child's current listening skills fall within the Level 100 range? If so, he is in Level 100 range with respect to his listening. If he has mastered Level 100 skill range, go up to Level 200 and see if his highest skills are in the Level 200 range.

In the same way, determine at which level his skills in the other two areas fall. Please note that it is normal for a child's listening and understanding skills to be at a higher level than his talking skills.

2. Find your child's reference level, i.e., the level in which his lowest developed skills fall. For example, if his listening and understanding skills each fall in the Level 200 range, but his talking skills fall in the Level 100 range, then his reference level is Level 100.

3. Begin his lessons at his reference level. The lessons are numbered to match the skill levels. Start with the lowest numbered lesson at your child's reference level even if he already has acquired some of the skills at this level. You will simply move to the next lesson faster.

4. If your child systematically started to learn to listen and talk when he was 5 years or older, there will likely be a big gap between his understanding skills and his talking skills.
In the initial stages, his talking skills will make progress very slowly. His understanding and listening skills will seem to progress much faster and you will be tempted to teach at the higher level of his understanding, neglecting his talking skills which would be way behind. Resist this temptation. Continue to work at his reference level (which is the lower level at which his talking skills are). The lessons will tell you how to help your child move forward in his higher skill areas.

Ensuring that Your Child Really 'Understands'

a) You need to make sure that your child shows his understanding of the language without any context. For example, if you say "come on, its time to go out" and your child puts on his shoes and begins to go out; you may feel that he understands this sentence, especially if he does this every time. However, if this is the same time you go out everyday, and it is always after a specific activity such as breakfast or a nap, then this context may be what the child is understanding and not necessarily the actual words. Or you may be gesturing unconsciously or moving toward the door, which may give him a clue. Thus, when you are testing his skills, do so at different times of the day and at unexpected moments for 2-3 days. If he still shows that he understands, then you can be sure he has understood.

b) For younger children, you will need to assess their skills throughout the day. If the child shows you that he understands a sentence or uses a particular set of vocabulary or phrases at least 4 out of 5 opportunities, then you can mark the skill as acquired. It is very important however, to keep on reinforcing this same skill or language even though you have moved on to higher level lessons. Children require continued practice at lower levels in order for comprehension and expression of language to become internalized and automatic. The lessons themselves will remind you to do this and tell you how.

A translation of this web page contents is available as a .pdf file in Danish Serbian