The Early Sociocognitive Battery (ESB) is a new, engaging, and innovative way to assess social communication skills and deficits in young children. The 15-minute assessment is quick but thorough, and designed to target 2-5 year olds directly, looking at key areas of social communication and language development.
The ESB, developed with authors from City, University of London, is a battery of three subtests assessing sociocognitive skills known to be associated with language development and impairment in very young children with social communication difficulties and autism spectrum disorder. The subtests measure social responsiveness, joint attention and symbolic comprehension -- helping to identify deficits in key sociocognitive skills and enabling early years professionals to target their intervention strategies appropriately.
The complete kit comes with more than 60 items including colourful, engaging toys and test materials that young children enjoy playing with. Watch the video below to see how an assessor follows the scripted instructions to guide children through some of the tasks included in the three subtests.
Suitable for use by speech and language therapists, clinical and educational psychologists, and paediatricians, the ESB can also be used by individuals who have:
- Certified training and experience in a relevant discipline
- Membership of a professional organisation appropriate to the focus of the test
- Evidence of competence in the use of psychological tests
A one-day training course is recommended to qualified individuals through City, University of London, and will provide attendees with the skills required to reliably administer, score and interpret the results of this preschool assessment. Training takes place in London and Oxford, and includes the background to the development of the ESB, use of the ESB kit, as well as training and practice in scoring and interpreting results.
Example of where the ESB can help to target intervention: Jack’s story
Jack had an 8-year-old elder brother with a diagnosis of ASD. His brother attended a special school and was nonverbal. Jack presented as a late talker and his parents were worried that he might also be showing signs of ASD. He had been seen by a paediatrician who did not share the parents' concerns.
Jack had been known to the speech and language therapist for six months. The therapist was aware of parental concerns and used the ESB as a tool for parents to observe Jack’s relative strengths in early sociocognitive skills. Jack’s ESB performance was consistently in the normal range with all scores at or just above average, confirming his strengths in this area.
The ESB helped the therapist to explain these skills to Jack’s parents and reassure them, and enabled them to focus on interventions needed to target his language delay.