Principles of Developmental Assessment

Principles of Developmental Assessment

Principles of Developmental Assessment PSY 417 Assessment Zero to Three Work Group: Process designed to deepen an understanding of a childs competencies and resources, and of the caregiving and learning environments most likely to help a child make the fullest use of his/her developmental potential. Assessment should be an ongoing, collaborative process of systematic observation and analysis. This process involves formulating questions, gathering information,

sharing observations, and making interpretations in order to form new questions (1994). 8 Principles 1. Reliance on integrated model of infant and child development. 2. Use of multiple sources of information, strategies and data points. 3. Sequence that begins with gathering information from and planning assessment strategies with parents. 4. Clear understanding of typical

development. 8 Principles 5. Emphasis on childs level and pattern of organizing experiential and functional capacities, which represent an integration of emotional and cognitive abilities. 6. Identification of abilities, strengths and needs.

7. Collaboration with families and among assessors. 8. Recognition that assessment is simply a first step in intervention. Practices to be Followed with Young Children Should never be separated from caregiver. Should never be tested by strange examiner. Assessment should not be limited to assessment of motor and cognitive skills. Should rely on more than formal

tests/tools. Purposes of Assessment Screening High false positive Diagnosis Determining Eligibility for Services Planning Intervention Evaluating Treatment Outcomes Limited Predictive Validity

Developmental assessments have low predictability for later ability Correlation between late toddler scores on developmental tests (e.g., Bayley) and later childhood IQ is at best r = .49 Even worse when measured earlier (r=.06 when Bayley done in first 6 months)

For comparison, correlation between child and parents IQ is r=.42 If you want to know the childs IQ in infancy, youre better off testing the parent Reasons for Low Predictive Validity Measures during infancy very different from measures during childhood Hard to obtain valid measure of infant competence

Activity level/distractability Variable states/attention spans Wariness of strangers Inconsistent performance in an unfamiliar environment Predictive Validity On the other hand

Predictive validity is somewhat better with developmentally delayed children This is because VERY low scores on infant development tests tend to be predictive What can early childhood cognitive assessments do? Rule out sever MR Justify the need for early intervention services

Help determine focus and approach of those services Monitor the effectiveness of those services Importance of Context Developmental psychology is the science of the strange behavior of children in strange places with strange people for the briefest possible periods of time. Uri Bronfenbrenner, Human Ecology (1979)

Context of Assessment Most empirical work in child development lacks appreciation for environmental context However, research clearly shows that early childhood behavior is highly dependent on relational context Context of Assessment Environmental context may be even more important in understanding behavior of atypical infants than typical infants

They are developmentally younger so they are less independent Processing problems often make them more at the mercy of environmental challenges Context of Assessment When evaluating infant you are testing two things:

Their ability to complete the requested task Their willingness to engage in the unique social relationship of assessment Establishing Rapport Need to gain trust Before Assessment Meet parents/caregivers first Learn about childs:

Language abilities Preferences/interests Approach/withdrawal style Sensory issues Use this to plan assessment and approach During Initial Assessment

Talk to parents but concentrate on child Take notes on what you observe child doing Tailor the environment

How do they enter room, request help? What is spontaneous language like, eye contact, etc.? Lighting Windows to playground? Background noise? Best environments are low stimulation without being sterile Adapt Yourself Do not come on too strong

Be friendly without being overly intense Be flexible on how much time toddlers need to acclimated Gradually move into assessment Initial chatting with parents, to chatting with child, to talking about assessment, to administering items

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