The starting point for instruction is always the speech evaluation. The results of the evaluation provide the top speech features to work on prioritized by the amount of cognitive load and influence on comprehensibility and those become the agenda for the set of lessons.
I will list everything that’s being carefully listened to and assessed, but the speech evaluation is the tip of the iceberg. It’s only able to describe what is above the surface. Your speech begins and resides deep within you and only you can describe and reveal it. People come to me and tell me what they think they need help with. What the evaluation reveals is usually quite different, not because people don’t know how to describe their speech, but because there’s so much more involved than just how speech sounds. A speech evaluation will describe where your speech is at the current moment. Only you know how it got there and where it will go.
The speech evaluation involves two meetings: 1) make recordings of spontaneous speech (conversation), read speech (a paragraph and 14 sentences), and a written assessment of speech concepts; 2) review the results and agenda for lessons.
The results are divided into sections:
1. Priorities from each individual assessment
2. Pitch Range
4. Reading of the paragraph
5. Written assessment
6. Individual sounds (all vowels and consonants)
7. Stages of learning - snapshot of current moment
The second meeting is where the results of each individual assessment task are reviewed together. The first page highlights top priorities from each assessment and the top five goals overall are identified. This contains so much information that it can be overwhelming so I also write a summary that boils all the detailed results down to just the top two or three speech features that are having the most impact on speech effectiveness. There are always positives, so I also list the top two or three things you are already doing well with your speech and probably weren’t aware of it.
The top five goals are prioritized based on what is making the most impact on comprehensibility. We want to start with what requires the least amount of cognitive load (how much you have to think about at once) but will still have the biggest impact on being understood clearly. These are goals I have identified from my notes during the consultation and the 90-minute evaluation meeting and then the three hours it takes me to do the analysis all speech features. That still isn’t a complete picture without your self-goals because only you who can identify what will make you feel successful. All of this analysis using objective and my subjective results to set goals and lesson content isn’t worthwhile if the end result doesn’t help you reach your personal idea of success.
There are multiple methods of tracking progress, but nothing is more important than helping someone feel more confident and begin an upward spiral with the ability to analyze themselves to continue on the path of life long learning and not need me anymore. My goal is to make myself obsolete.