As both a school based and private SLP, one of my most important jobs is picking meaningful goals for school-aged students with speech/language delays, pragmatic delays, social communication delays. What I love about being in both public schools and private homes around Portland providing speech/language therapy, is that I get to see through both lenses when looking at how communication delays impact kids. A student with Autism, for example, may have certain communication skills within the structure and routine of school and completely different skills in his home environment.
I just started using a tool called the Assessment of Functional Living Skills (AFLS) and it's amazing. It's not an assessment specifically for SLPs, but that's what I love about it. For my more involved students, it helps me break out of the standardized score mode and developmental language approach and rethink communication from a functional perspective. When there are so many goals we could be working on, how do we pick the ones that will be the most meaningful to that child and their family??
The AFLS has several modules to choose from. Each module looks at a specific set of skills needed for a particular setting. I started with the School Skills module. It breaks skills into the following areas: Classroom Mechanics, Meals at School, Routines & Expectations, Social Skills, Technology, Common Knowledge, Core Academics, Applied Academics. Now, I'm going to be honest. This is a very lengthy assessment...it has something like 300 items to score! But I promise it is so worth the time spent! When completed, you will have a much clearer picture of your client, where they're getting stuck, and you'll feel confident that the goals you select are appropriate and leading to meaningful outcomes.
The thing I really love about this tool is that all members of the special education team can work off this document, allowing them to overlap goals, and assist with generalization across environments, activities and partners. I am currently using this tool to support collaboration between families, private tutors/nannies and school teams. Rather than private therapy and school teams working in isolation, this document provides an overall picture of a child with communication delays and offers highly specific goals with criteria on data collection for everyone to work from. This is a great way to connect the home and school experience for a school-aged child with significant communication needs.