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Team Approaches to Assessment


Title: Idaho Assessment Session Author: Laurie Goold Last modified by: williams Created Date: 9/18/2000 3:03:26 PM Document presentation format: On-screen Show – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Team Approaches to Assessment

Team Approaches to Assessment
  • Cindy Oser, R.N., M.S.
  • Washington, DC

Evelyn Shaw, M.Ed. NECTAC Chapel Hill, NC
  • What is screening, assessment, and informed
    clinical opinion
  • Principles and purpose of assessment
  • Examples of assessment approaches (autism,
  • Partnering with teams and team models
  • Putting it all together

  • A brief assessment procedure designed to identify
    children who should receive more intensive
    diagnosis or evaluation
  • Early intervention (EI)
  • Early childhood special education (ECSE)
  • Mental health/social service
  • Health systems

Diagnostic Assessment
  • An in-depth assessment of one or more
    developmental areas to determine the nature and
    extent of a physical or developmental problem and
    determine if the child is eligible for early
    intervention or mental health services.

Curriculum-Based Assessment(Programmatic,
On-going Assessment)
  • An in-depth assessment that helps to determines a
    childs current level of functioning. This type
    of assessment can
  • Provide a useful child profile
  • Help with program planning
  • Identify targeted goals and objectives
  • Be used to evaluate child progress over time

  • Developmental surveillance
    (screening at frequent intervals) of at-risk
    infants and toddlers not known to be eligible for
    special health,educational or mental health
  • Similar in theory to a person with diabetes
    monitoring blood sugar

Informed Clinical Opinion
  • What does informed clinical opinion mean?
  • What is the role of informed clinical opinion in
  • Why is it necessary to document informed clinical

Shackelford, J. (2002) Informed Clinical Opinion.
NECTAC Notes, Issue No. 10.
Defining Informed Clinical Opinion
  • Informed clinical opinion makes use of
    qualitative and quantitative information to
    assist in forming a determination regarding
    difficult-to-measure aspects of current
    developmental status.
  • Appropriate training, previous experience with
    evaluation and assessment, sensitivity to
    cultural needs and the ability to elicit and
    include family perceptions are all important
    elements of informed clinical opinion.

Role of Informed Clinical Opinion in Assessment
  • Informed clinical opinion is especially
    important if there are no standardized measures,
    or if the standardized procedures are not
    appropriate for a given age or development area.
  • Informed clinical opinion is used at the
    individual team member level and at the team

Role of Informed Clinical Opinion in Assessment
  • Individual team member level
  • Clinical interviews with parents
  • Evaluation of the child at play
  • Observation of parent-child interaction
  • Information from teachers or child care
    providers and
  • Neurodevelopmental or other physical examinations

Role of Informed Clinical Opinion in Assessment
  • Team Level
  • Multidisciplinary team, including the family,
    synthesizes and interprets all available
  • This opportunity to integrate observations,
    impressions, and evaluation findings facilitates
    a whole child approach.
  • The functional impact and implications of noted
    delays or differences in development can be
    discussed and considered by the team in
    determining eligibility and developing a plan for
    services (such as the IFSP).

Documenting Informed Clinical Opinion
  • Provides a baseline against which to measure the
    progress and changing needs of the child and
    family over time. Assessment is an on-going
    process. Perceptions and impressions of team
    members may change over time.
  • Facilitates communication during transitions when
    families move, changes service providers or enter
    additional or new service deliver systems.

Principles of Assessment
  1. Assessment must be based on an integrated
    developmental model.
  2. Assessment involves multiple sources of
    information and multiple components.
  3. An assessment should follow a certain sequence.

Principles of Assessment (cont.)
  1. The childs relationship and interactions with
    his or her most trusted caregiver should form the
    cornerstone of an assessment.
  2. An understanding of sequences and timetables in
    typical development is essential for
    understanding developmental differences.
  3. Assessment should emphasize attention to the
    childs level and pattern of organizing
    experience and to functional capacities.

Principles of Assessment (cont.)
  • The assessment process should identify the
    childs current competencies and strengths, as
    well as the competencies.
  • Assessment is a collaborative process between
    clinicians and parents.
  • The process of assessment should always be viewed
    as the first step in a potential intervention
  • Reassessment of a childs developmental status
    should occur in the context of day-to-day family
    and/or early intervention activities.

Practices to Avoid in Assessment
  • Child is separated from parents or familiar
    caregivers during the assessment.
  • Assessment by a strange examiner.
  • Assessments that are limited to areas that are
    easily measurable, such as certain motor or
    cognitive skills.
  • Formal tests or tools as the cornerstone of the

Assessment Approaches
Barriers to Assessing Social-Emotional Development
  • Lack of screening tools
  • Lack of knowledge
  • Variety of terminology
  • Complexity of issues
  • Lack of services

Types of Behavioral/Social Emotional Assessment
  • Parent (e.g, ASQSE) or professional report of
    childs behavior (e.g., PKBS)
  • Parent stress assessments (e.g, PSI)
  • Parent/child interaction scales (e.g., N-CAST)
  • Combination tools (e.g., FEAS)
  • Structured environmental scales (e.g., HOME)

Examples of Child-focused Screening Tools
  • Infant Toddler Symptom Checklist
  • Temperament and Atypical Behavior Scale (TABS)
  • Ages and Stages Questionnaire Social Emotional

Examples of child-focused screening tools
  • Conners Rating Scale
  • Carey Temperament Scale
  • Social Skills Rating System (SSRS)
  • Early Screening Project (ESP)
  • Preschool Kindergarten Behavior Scales (PKBS)

Assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Practice Parameter Screening and Diagnosis of
    Autism Report of the Quality Standards
    Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology
    and the Child Neurology Society
  • Reviews the empirical evidence and establishes
    recommendations for an approach to screening and
    diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD)

Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and
    Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) (term
    used in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV)
    are often used synonymously.
  • ASD refers to a wide continuum of associated
    cognitive and neuro-behavioral disorders,
    including, but not limited to, three
    core-defining features impairments in
    socialization, impairments in verbal and
    nonverbal communication, and restricted and
    repetitive patterns of behaviors. (Filipek, et
    al, 1999)

Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • It is particularly appropriate to use ASD to
    describe younger children because diagnoses
    within the spectrum have been found to be quite
    stable over time, but distinctions within the
    spectrum are not very reliable at these young

Variability of children with ASD
  • Wide range of symptoms from severe to mild.
  • Individual variability (e.g. child may have some
    characteristics but not all that have been
    identified as part of syndrome).
  • It is a developmental diagnosis the symptoms
    vary with the age of the child.
  • It is a lifelong disability even though symptoms
    may fluctuate or vary.

Variability of Children with ASD
  • Autism co-occurs with other syndromes (i.e.
    mental retardation, epilepsy, tuberous sclerosis,
    Fragile X)
  • Approximately 50 of all autistic persons
    function in the retarded range. (Freeman, Ritvo,
    Needleman, and Yokota, 1985)
  • Approximately 25 of the children have normal
    intelligence (Ritvo, Freeman, Mason-Brothers,
    Ritvo, 1994).

Variability of Children with ASD
  • While cognition may be impaired, many of these
    children have strengths in certain areas (for
    example, visual spatial skills, long term
  • Children with autism can progress in all areas.
  • While children with ASD may have a slow rate of
    learning, appropriate educational strategies and
    practices are needed in order to maximize their
    potential. (Rogers, S., 1999)

Age of Diagnosis and Early Identification
  • Reliability of the diagnosis is unknown prior to
    the age of two autism can be reliably diagnosed
    between the ages of two and three.
  • Currently, children are typically identified
    between the ages of 2 and 3.
  • Children with Asperger Syndrome may not be
    identified until they reach elementary school.
  • Many children are not identified as early as they
    could be.

Age of Diagnosis and Early Identification
  • Why is there a reluctance to diagnose?
  • Concerns regarding emotional impact on the
    family belief that ASD carries a poor prognosis
  • Lack of confidence in the accuracy and stability
    of the diagnosis
  • Lack of awareness of warning signs of ASD.
  • Lack of knowledge regarding the availability of
    early intervention and preschool services to
    which to refer the child and family.

Age of Diagnosis and Early Identification
  • Research in early identification is evolving
  • Observations of videotapes of first birthday
    parties (children later identified as having
    autism and children that had typical development)
    has confirmed that there are behavioral warning
    signs for autism spectrum disorders that are
    present before the age of two.
  • Experienced and trained clinicians have been able
    to identify children with ASD as young as 18

Age of Diagnosis and Early Identification
  • The Quality Standards Subcommittee of the
    American Academy of Neurology and the Child
    Neurology Society has issued a report titled
    Practice parameter Screening and diagnosis of
    autism. (Endorsed by national professional
    groups as well as parent/advocacy groups.)
  • It calls for a multi-level approach to
    identifying children at risk for developmental
    delays, including ASD with step-by-step
    procedures screening and diagnosing children with

Early Warning Signs of ASD
  • Filipek, P.A, et. al., 2000)
  • These warning signs would indicate a need for the
    child to have an immediate evaluation
  • No babbling or pointing or other gesture by 12
  • No single words by 16 months
  • No 2-word spontaneous (not echolalic) phrases by
    24 months
  • Any loss of any language or social skills at any

Assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Level 1 Routine developmental surveillance and
    screening specifically for autism
  • Level 2 Diagnosis and evaluation of autism

Assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Level 1
  • Developmental surveillance at all well-child
    visits (infancy through school-age) or at any age
    when concerns are raised about social acceptance,
    learning or behavior.
  • Recommended developmental screening tools Ages
    and Stages, BRIGANCE Screens, Child Development
    Inventories and Parents Evaluation of
    Developmental Status.

Assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Level 1 (continued)
  • Further developmental evaluation is required
    whenever a child fails to meet the following
  • Babbling by 12 months
  • Gesturing (e.g. pointing, waving bye-bye) by 12
  • Single words by 16 months
  • Two-word, spontaneous phrases by 24 months
  • Loss of any language or social skills at any age

Assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Level 1 (continued)
  • Siblings of children with autism should be
    carefully monitored for acquisition of social,
    communication and play skills, along with
    maladaptive behaviors.
  • Screening for autism should be performed on all
    children failing routine developmental screening
    using one of the validated instruments (CHAT or
    Autism Screening Questionnaire)

Assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Level 2 Recommendations
  • Although educators, parents, and other health
    care professionals identify signs and
    characteristics of autism, a clinician
    experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of
    autism is necessary for accurate and appropriate
  • Clinicians rely on their clinical judgment, aided
    by guides to diagnosis, as well as the results of
    various assessment instruments, rating scales and

Assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Level 2 (continued)
  • Diagnostic Parental Interviews
  • The Gilliam Autism Rating Scale
  • The Parent Interview for Autism
  • The Pervasive Developmental Disorders Screening
    Test Stage 3
  • The Autism Diagnostic Interview Revised
  • Diagnostic Observation Instruments
  • Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS)
  • The Screening Tool for Autism in Two-Year Olds
  • The Autism Diagnostic Observation
    Schedule-Generic (ADOS)

Assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Level 2 (continued)
  • Medical and neurologic evaluations
  • Evaluation and monitoring of autism diagnosis
  • Speech, language and communication evaluation
  • Cognitive and adaptive behavioral evaluations
  • Sensorimotor and occupational therapy evaluations
  • Neuropsychological, behavioral and academic

Challenges for States
  • From Oser,C. and Shaw,E. in press
  • Developing specific public awareness campaigns to
    alert health care providers, parents and other
    professionals of the warning signs for ASD
  • Training professionals to utilize screening tools
    with greater sensitivity to detect ASD, including
    milder forms of ASD (e.g. Asperger Disorder)
  • Developing a cadre of trained professionals with
    expertise in evaluating and diagnosing children
    with ASD.

Challenges for States
  • Children are identified close to the age when
    they transition from Part C to Part B. Flexible
    policies that would enable children to transition
    more smoothly are needed.
  • Developing awareness of Asperger Disorder in
    preschool and public school programs.
  • Developing sufficient and appropriate early
    intervention/special education services to meet
    the needs of these children and their families.

A Language That WorksDiagnosing Disorders of
Infancy and Early ChildhoodUsing DC0-3
(No Transcript)
Why diagnostic classification?
  • A common vocabulary for professionals and
  • Development of clearly articulated assessment and
    treatment plans

Why diagnostic classification? (contd)
  • Accumulation and refinement of clinical and
    research knowledge
  • Securing resources for assessment and treatment
    of very young children

DC 0-3 as a tool in prevention
  • Builds on the young childs drive toward healthy
  • Reframes symptoms as coping mechanisms
  • Recognizes the protective, buffering power of the
    childs relationships
  • Understands timing help before symptoms are
    internalized or generalized

DC 0-3 encourages us to
  • Recognize individual differences in the ways
    infants and young children
  • process sensation
  • organize experience
  • implement action

DC 0-3 encourages us to (contd)
  • Observe and understand the childs behavior --
    especially in the context of interaction with
    important caregivers

DC 0-3 encourages us to (contd)
  • Explore the impact on the childs development of
  • family patterns
  • cultural patterns
  • community patterns

DC 0-3 encourages us to (contd)
  • Identify the childs
  • adaptive processes
  • developmental challenges

How does DC 0-3 organize clinical observations
  • a diagnostic profile?
  • recommendations for intervention?

The DC 0-3 multiaxial framework
  • Axis I Primary diagnosis
  • Axis II Relationship classification
  • Axis III Medical and developmental disorders
  • Axis IV Psychosocial stressors
  • Axis V Functional Emotional Developmental

Guidelines to selecting appropriate diagnosis
  • Infants and young children have limited ways of
    responding to stress
  • Primary diagnosis should reflect

    most prominent features

The reward -- Axis I systematically addresses
specific risk factors
  • Environmental (traumatic stress, adjustment)
  • Interactional (disorders of affect)
  • Constitutional and interactional (regulatory)
  • Constitutional (relating and communicating)

Jean Thomas and Roseanne Clark
  • Hyperactive, aggressive and defiant behaviors as
    a final common pathway for expression of internal
  • DC 0-3 identifies specific risk factors that
    guide intervention strategies

DC 0-3 Axis II Relationship Classification
  • Used only to diagnose significant relationship
  • When a disorder exists, it is specific to a

Axis III
  • Medical and developmental diagnoses

Axis IVPsychosocial stressors
  • Severity
  • Duration
  • Overall impact
  • Identify all sources of stress

Axis IV Psychosocial stressorsUltimate impact
depends on
  • Severity of stressor
  • Developmental level of child (age, endowment, ego
  • Adults as protective buffers

Source of Stress
  • Abduction
  • Abuse - physical
  • Abuse - sexual
  • Abuse - emotional
  • Adoption
  • Birth of sibling
  • Foster placement
  • Hospitalization
  • Loss of parent
  • Two-year TANF limit
  • Loss of significant other
  • Medical illness
  • Move
  • Neglect
  • Parent illness - medical

Source of Stress (contd)
  • Parent illness -- psychiatric
  • School/child care entry
  • Separation from parent - work
  • Separation from parent - other
  • Sudden loss of home
  • Sudden injury
  • Trauma to significant other
  • Violence in environment
  • Other
  • Number of stressors

Axis V Functional Emotional Developmental Level
  • The way in which the infant or young child
    organizes experience, reflected in his or her

Essential Capacities
  • Becoming calm, attentive and interested in the
  • Falling in love
  • Becoming a two-way communicator

Essential Capacities (cont.)
  • Solving problems and forming a sense of self
  • Discovering a world of ideas
  • Building bridges between ideas

DC 0-3
  • Developmentally informed
  • Emphasizes relationships
  • Identifies strengths to build on

DC 0-3 Cautions
  • Diagnosis -- over/under
  • Strengths-based approaches
  • Surf n turf -- who owns IMF?
  • Relationship-focused intervention,
  • relationship-based work

  • Bridge between DSM-IV and the infant-toddler
  • Common language
  • Diagnostic thinking
  • Social-emotional development

DC0-3 ApplicationsSYSTEMS CHANGE
  • Reflective supervision
  • Financing
  • Training
  • Infuse and integrate IMH concepts
  • Create MH partnerships

  • Legitimize IMH work
  • Plan appropriate interventions
  • Develop family-centered IFSPs

Partnering with a Team
Putting It All Together
  • Assessment Planning
  • Pre-Assessment Team Meeting
  • Team Report Writing Process
  • Looking Back What Worked? What Didnt?

Models of Team Interaction
  • Multidisciplinary
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Transdisciplinary
  • Cross-agency
  • Inclusive

Guidelines for Instruments Used in Team Assessment
  • Flexible enough for different disciplines
  • Understood by families
  • Comprehensive, from variety of domains and
  • Able to measure quality and quantity of
  • Linked to intervention and curriculum
  • Functional help to identify strengths and
    needs and
  • Consistent with the next learning and caregiving

Team Report Writing Process
  • Report is based on information generated at the
    post-assessment meeting.
  • Written document is draft until reviewed by the
  • All team members participate in development of
    the report.
  • The family is not typically involved in writing
    the report.

Report Writing Interdisciplinary vs.
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Assessment results written by each team member
    according to developmental area
  • Writing done individually
  • One team member has responsibility for addressing
    concerns and questions raised by the family and
    other team members
  • One team member writes final report, including
    changes and obtaining signatures.

Report Writing Interdisciplinary vs.
  • Transdiscipinary
  • Draft written by team, usually right after the
    assessment. Entire team participates one member
    serves as scribe.
  • Report broken down into narrative areas that
    address child strengths and needs written
    across disciplinary boundaries.
  • Team members teach and learn across disciplinary
    boundaries as they write integrated narratives
    and outcomes.
  • Responsibility for obtaining family review,
    making changes and obtaining signatures rotates
    among members.

Using Assessment Results
  • What do these findings mean for the childs
    functioning in the various settings where she
    lives her life?
  • What are some ways in which this child can be
    misunderstood, given his capacities and deficits?
  • What are some mismatches between this childs
    abilities and environmental demands?
  • How do these findings help us understand this
    childs experiences of the world and the parents
    experiences of the child?

Putting It All Together
  • Assessment Planning
  • Pre-Assessment Team Meeting
  • Team Report Writing Process
  • Looking Back What Worked? What Didnt?

  • New Visions for the Developmental Assessment of
    Infants and Young Children (ZERO TO THREE Press)
  • http//
  • NECTAC Early ID/Autism webpages
  • http//
  • http//
  • First Words demonstration and research project
    at Florida State University http//firstwords.fsu.
  • First Signs public awareness website designed
    for families, caregivers and primary referral
    sources, especially physicians http//firstsigns.o