What kind of data are you taking?

October 31, 2011
Kira Wright, CCC-SLP

This is the continuation of a series of posts of therapy ideas to support assistants (SLPAs) and paraprofessionals in the schools and their work with students and their supervising SLPs.

Treatment Data vs. Probe data - An important difference!

What kind of data are you taking? Different data for different purposes... At the very least, it is important to know and label what kind of data you are taking!

  • Treatment data - a record of the child’s responses from within a treatment activity, this kind of data can be useful for giving your supervising SLP a picture of what went on in the session, but there area some disadvantages:inconsistencies - a treatment activity is usually a supported environment, where the student is receiving instruction in the form of reminders, prompts, and cues. It can be difficult to document exactly how much support a student is getting, as “visual cues” or “minimal prompting” may look different from clinician to clinician.usefullness - while treatment data can tell us how a student engages or participates in therapy, this kind of data does not necessarily show how the student is learning or if he or she can apply the new skills.
  • Probe data - these data describe your student’s performance outside of treatment activities, or how the skills are generalizing. Typically probe data is taken using novel materials, novel partners, or in a novel context - different from therapy. This could be...
  • a language sample taken as the child looks at a book you haven’t used in therapy before
  • a classroom observation - is he following the teacher’s 2-step directions?
  • a probe of /s/ words that aren’t used in your therapy activities
  • a tally of past tense verbs used as the student tells mom what he did in therapy today

SLPAs and paraprofessionals should always operate within the scope defined by state and national licensing organizations and should only conduct allowable tasks under the supervision of a speech-language pathologist.