Are children who have commensurate IQ and language scores eligible for speech-language services?
Comparing IQ and language scores as a factor for eligibility for speech-language intervention is frequently referred to as cognitive referencing. Cognitive referencing is based on the assumption that language functioning cannot surpass cognitive levels. According to researchers, the relationship between language and cognition is not that simple. Some language abilities are more advanced, others closely correlated, and others less advanced than general cognitive level. Research results in recent years have demonstrated that cognitive prerequisites are neither sufficient nor even necessary for language to emerge. Therefore, ASHA does not support the use of cognitive referencing. For additional information see ASHA’s Cognitive Referencing resource. New provisions in IDEA 2004 permitting identification of specific learning disabilities based on a student’s response to instruction offers an alternative approach that can be applied to identification of a language disorder.