Assessing Skills and Treatment Progress in Basic Communicators of All Ages: The Basic Social and Communication Behavior Scales (BSCBS), Phase I

Period of Performance: 07/17/2017 - 06/30/2018


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company, Inc.
Baltimore, MD 21285
Principal Investigator


Project Summary/Abstract Effective communication intervention depends on reliable tools for identifying communication concerns and tracking changes in skills. Established tools for detecting and tracking skills in early intentional communicators (i.e., directing a behavior such as reaching toward an adult to convey a message) involve communication temptations and assessing a wide variety of child behaviors in response to those dynamic temptations. While these tools have been normed for typically developing children and used for intervention tracking with intentional communicators, they can only be used to detect the absence of such skills in pre-intentional communicators and do not reflect changes in essential skills that support the development of intentional communication. There are no available normed assessments that provide dynamic and comprehensive data on pre-intentional communication and reflect evidence-based procedures to assess skills and track treatment progress in children and adults older than 12 months. If we can assess comprehensive skills that promote intentional communication in children and adults, we can intervene in skills that are essential foundations of all other communication and reduce the likelihood of secondary behavioral or adaptive impairments that affect communication and life skills. The plan for this project is to develop a comprehensive, skill progressive, sensitive, dynamic, and modality-independent assessment to detect and track communication skills in older children and adults who are basic pre-intentional communicators (Basic Social and Communication Behavior Scales; BSCBS). Initial testing showed that the pilot BSCBS (adapted from the PI?s successful development of the ISCBS assessment for infants 2-12 mo.) is an effective tool to measure changes in pre- intentional communication after intervention for children with ASD and/or DD. Consistent assessment of pre- intentional communication in older children and adults could justify focused intervention strategies to address these essential skills for older children and adults. who have an expected prognosis for long-term communication impairment and avoid denial of services to individuals who are presumed to lack supposed prerequisites of communication. We will develop and test proof-of-concept for the BSCBS to assess and track pre-intentional communication in basic communicators of all ages over 12 months for children and adults with severe developmental or acquired disabilities, test reliability and validity for communication assessment, and use pre/post assessments to track treatment progress using the BSCBS to address these specific aims: Develop BSCBS to assess pre-intentional communication skills for children and adults beyond 12 months of age; develop BSCBS components, clusters, and a composite of domains that show skill progression by developmental age in children and adults with disabilities comparable to ISCBS score patterns; establish the efficacy of the BSCBS at tracking changes in pre-intentional communication skills following intervention.