Emotional Development in Atypical Children

By Michael Lewis; Margaret Wolan Sullivan | Go to book overview
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child observation should always be part of socioemotional screening, despite its cost. For diagnosis, the BRS seems the most useful, especially as it would already routinely be given. With slightly longer observation, the ECI could be completed (or possibly could be completed by the parent). The HELP would be the best planning measure. It is encouraging that many organizational developmental milestones are picked up here.

For middle infancy, we recommend the I/TSC (especially because it gives the parent's perspective, and as it continues to be refined) and either the Structured Playroom or the LM system for screening, the BRS and ECI for diagnosis, and either the HELP of TPBA for program planning. For late infancy, we would use the I/TSC and TUT for screening (and add either Meier or Zabel if the child is in day care). The same diagnostic and planning tools can be used as in middle infancy. The TPBA would be much more useful if there were direct ties to intervention curriculum objectives, and if a developmental age were obtainable. Clearly, shortcomings abound for measures in age ranges regarding coverage of developmental milestones.

For the preschool period, we would recommend the same measures for screening, with the BRS or PSP for diagnosis and the HELP-SP or TPBA for planning. We would like to see even better coverage of developmental milestones in our measures at this age level, although the problem is not as severe as for the two preceding age periods. As for transactional measures, where at all feasible, the PBP and the HOME are recommended for all ages at which they are appropriate.

Basically, we have not recommended the NBAS or NCAST only because of their expense and the necessity of extensive training. They are excellent tools to be included when deemed possible or necessary. As for the FEASIE and the NCCIP diagnostic system, we feel that clinical training is of paramount importance. Applied developmental psychologists who can sensitively and accurately make judgments regarding emotional development are crucially needed.

In short, there is much work to be done to unite a developmental perspective with the practical issue of assessment. We would encourage psychologists and psychologists-in-training to take the recommendations made here seriously; perhaps a more unified approach can yet be found.


Achenbach T. M. ( 1992). Manual for the CBCL/ 2-3 and 1992 Profile. Burlington: University of Vermont Department of Psychiatry.

Achcnbach T. M., & Edelbrock C. S. ( 1986). Child Behavior Checklist and Youth Self-Report. Burlington, VT: Author.


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Emotional Development in Atypical Children


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