It is important to be as thorough as possible when writing the background section of the evaluation as extenuating circumstances could explain a delay in language development and also help the evaluator differentiate between a delay, disorder, or normal language development, given the circumstances.
The background section of the evaluation is essential in order to diagnose the presence of a language disorder. Many factors that would be identified in the background section of a report have an impact on what the child will bring to the evaluation. These factors include socioeconomic status, cultural and linguistic exposure, and recent family structure changes. It is important to be as thorough as possible when writing the background section, as extenuating circumstances could explain a delay in language development and help the evaluator differentiate between a delay, disorder, or normal language development, given the circumstances.
This background section should answer the following questions:
- What is the highest educational level of the mother or primary caregiver?
- Who referred the child for an evaluation? What were their concerns? Are those concerns still present?
- Is there a family history of speech, language, and/or academic problems?
- Is there any significant medical history, such as hospitalizations or early childhood illness that could explain a delay in language development?
- What are the child’s developmental Milestones? Are there any motor disorders and other syndromes which would cause delays or deviations in developmental milestones?
- Does the child attend school full time/part time? Does the child attend a preschool vs. a day care? Does he/she stay home with a caregiver? Does he/she interact with other children on a frequent basis?
- What progress or regression has happened over the past 6 months?
- What is the current living situation of the child, and what were past significant living situations? What is the family structure currently like? How much time does the child spend with caregivers?
- Have there been any significant changes in the family structure recently? (ex. birth of a sibling, death in the family, serious illness, divorce.)