Word-Finding Problems in High-Demand Tasks

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I have a 10 year old male who I am currently evaluating. He is very smart, and is able to formulate gramatically correct sentences in simple interactions. When asked a question however, he begins to answer and then gets stuck on a word, and forgets the question.  It is very frustrating for him and his sentences are become labored when answering a question or sequencing a story. He knows what he wants to say however cannot complete the sentence. He says “I forgot, what did you ask?” or “What was I supposed to do?” His receptive language skills are intact. When he has a visual in front of him, and he is not asked to speak, he moves quickly without error.

Do you have any suggestions for further assessments to give?

High-Demand Tasks:

Certain language tasks are going to tax the brain more than others.  For children with language delays, you will see their language skills begin to break down in certain types of tasks.  This can present itself in many ways, including in word-finding difficulties and disfluencies.

This is a good indication to you that the child is struggling with the language organization necessary for those particular tasks.

How to Assess:

If I were working with a child like this, I would observe the types of activities that the child was demonstrating these disfluencies and word-finding troubles with and specifically assess those skills.  For example, for this child I would assess answering questions and sequencing past events/stories.

During the assessment, I would try to determine the level at which the child breaks down.  Make the task as easy as possible and then build it back up to see where the child starts having word-finding difficulties and losing track of the task.

That will tell you what level to start working at as well as what types of cues or help will help the child get through those tasks in the meantime (like some sort of visual cheat sheet perhaps).