When working with students with who demonstrate challenging behavior and/or a reduced developmental level, careful selection of assessment tools helps to ensure qualitative information about the student's communication skills is gathered.
It is highly recommended a team approach is used to support participation and engagement and to observe the student through multiple lenses. This allows the team to report skills not just from various disciplines, but to synthesize and integrate the information for a complete picture of the student.
Although students who demonstrate symbolic understanding may be able to participate in a standardized measure from a cognitive or language standpoint, a student's behavior or mental health concerns may not be conducive to the rigidity of these tools.
Furthermore, students who are pre-symbolic have a difficult time engaging with most standardized measures as these largely focus on symbols and pictures (unless the measure is intended to assess ages birth to three years).
Below are some assessment tools that may be beneficial to add to your assessment toolkit:
- Southern California Ordinal Scales of Development - Scale of Communication (all ages)
- Evaluating Acquired Skills in Communication (EASIC) (up to 6 years, developmentally)
- Toni Linder's Transdisciplinary Play-Based Assessment (0-6 years)
- Communication Matrix
- Functional Communication Profile