What's the Best Speech Therapy Assessment for Toddlers and Young Children?

Speech and Language Assessments for Toddlers Comprehensive Review

What's the Best Speech Therapy Assessment for Toddlers and Young Children?

Comprehensive Assessment Guide for Speech-Language Pathologists: Focusing on Toddlers and Young Children

As a speech-language pathologist (SLP), selecting and administering the right assessment tools for toddlers and young children is crucial. This comprehensive guide combines detailed information on various speech therapy assessments, focusing on 2 and 3-year-olds, with essential tips for clinicians to maximize the effectiveness of the assessments.

Assessments for Infants and Toddlers (Birth to 3 Years)

Receptive-Expressive Emergent Language Test (REEL)

  • Target Group: Speech therapy assessments for 2-year-olds
  • Administration Time: Approximately 20-30 minutes
  • Assessment Domains: Expressive and Receptive Language
  • Ease of Scoring/Administration: 8/10
  • Details: REEL-4

Preschool Language Scale (PLS)

  • Target Group: Speech therapy assessments for 2 and 3-year-olds
  • Administration Time: 25-35 minutes
  • Assessment Domains: Auditory Comprehension, Expressive Communication
  • Ease of Scoring/Administration: 7/10
  • Details: PLS-5

Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development

  • Target Group: Speech and language assessments for toddlers
  • Administration Time: 30-90 minutes (varies based on modules used)
  • Assessment Domains: Cognitive, Language, Motor, Social-Emotional, Adaptive Behavior
  • Ease of Scoring/Administration: 6/10
  • Details: Bayley-III

Assessments for Preschoolers (3 to 5 Years)

Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation (GFTA)

  • Target Group: Speech therapy assessments for 3-year-olds
  • Administration Time: 15-30 minutes
  • Assessment Domains: Articulation
  • Ease of Scoring/Administration: 9/10
  • Details: GFTA-3

Tips for Clinicians to Enhance Assessment Effectiveness

  1. Understand the Tool Completely: Familiarize yourself with each assessment tool's specific purpose and guidelines for accurate and effective administration.
  2. Tailor to the Individual: Select assessments based on the child's age, developmental stage, and specific needs.
  3. Create a Comfortable Environment: A quiet, comfortable, and distraction-free setting is crucial for accurate assessment.
  4. Build Rapport: Establishing a positive connection with young children can lead to more natural and accurate responses.
  5. Use Multiple Assessment Tools: Don't rely on a single tool. Combining different assessments can provide a broader understanding of the child's abilities.
  6. Involve Caregivers: Parents and caregivers can provide valuable context and insights, especially for very young children.
  7. Be Mindful of Fatigue: Keep assessments engaging and consider breaking them into shorter sessions if necessary.
  8. Stay Updated and Continue Learning: Regularly update your knowledge about assessment tools and best practices in speech-language pathology.
  9. Document Observations Thoroughly: Beyond scores, note qualitative observations that can inform your intervention strategies.
  10. Interpret with Caution: Remember that assessments offer a snapshot of a child's abilities and should be considered alongside other developmental information.


This guide aims to assist SLPs in choosing and effectively using the most appropriate speech therapy assessments for young children, particularly 2 and 3-year-olds. The winners in scoring administration are Receptive-Expressive Emergent Language Test (REEL) to assess language skills and Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation (GFTA) to assess articulation skills.

By combining detailed information on assessment tools with practical tips for clinicians, this resource seeks to enhance the accuracy and impact of speech-language pathology assessments, ultimately supporting the development and communication skills of young children.