Thursday, January 21, 2016

My Little Cricket’s Delay: JASPER at UCLA taking the Early Social Communication Scales Test

Today was our second day at UCLA working with the amazing JASPER team. I came last week to visit the Mommy and Me class that they offer. The next 10 week course starts in a few weeks however in the mean time I was able to get my Little Cricket into the program twice a week. Right now he is getting 45 minutes of therapy on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s, where they use his sessions to train new people how to work in the JASPER method. I don’t care how he gets this therapy, I love it and I thank God we were lucky enough to get it.

Today they performed The Early Social Communication Scales test when we came to the clinic. The Early Social Communication Scales (ESCS) test is a videotaped structured observation method that measures nonverbal communication skills for a child between the ages of 8 and 30 months of age. The test is geared to elicit an interaction between the adult and child.

The toys for the test are selected because of their potential to elicit social interaction, joint attention and or behavioral request. The test took around 15 minutes and it was hard to watch. Mostly because I don’t do things the way these people do. I don’t keep toys away from him, I don’t push him against his will, I don’t try and make him sit and attend to a test. I was allowed to stay in the room but I was urged to not interact or interfere. However the test is necessary to gage not only where he is now, but also to be able to look back at how he improves over time.

From analyzing this test a child is scored for:
- a developmental stage (simple, complex, conventional or symbolic)
- communicative goal (social interaction between the two, to achieve joint attention, or to regulate the partners behavior for assistance or compliance)
- whether the child initiated the interaction or responded to the testers bid

The goal is to classify the child’s behaviors into one of three mutually exclusive categories of early social communication behaviors.
- joint attention behaviors – refer to the child’s skills in using nonverbal behaviors to share the experience of objects or events with other.
- Behavioral Requests – refer to the child’s skill in using nonverbal behaviors to elicit aid in obtaining objects or events
- Social Interaction Behaviors – refer to the capacity of the child to engage in playful, affectively positive turn-taking interactions with others

Being there, watching the video later, he didn’t do well. I know that his communication and social ability is low but seeing it in a test like this it really hits home how he rarely looks people in the eye, that he cannot use his words to communicate and that he has trouble restraining his body. I just hope to god a year from now he has improved.

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