The ComFor is a clinical instrument to obtain a precise indication of individualised communicative interventions, in particular augmentative communication. It addresses two core questions: first, what is the most suitable form of augmentation; second, at which level of sense-making can the means chosen be offered? More specifically, the ComFor measures perception and sense-making at the levels of presentation and representation.
The target group of the ComFor consists primarily of people with autism without or with only limited verbal communication, but can also be used for individuals with other communication problems, for example in the case of intellectual disabilities. The scope of the ComFor varies from a (psychomotor) developmental level of about twelve months up to approximately sixty months. The ComFor is appropriate for children and adults.
The ComFor aims to provide a clinical and individualised indication of augmentative communication. One considers for each individual client what he/she succeeded in doing and what went wrong. Comparison of the results of an individual with those of others is not relevant to the indication. The interpretation is content-referenced, not norm-referenced. The form of augmentative communication can be three-dimensional (objects) or two-dimensional (photographs, line drawings, pictograms and written text). With respect to the level of sense-making, three possible indications exist: sensation, presentation and representation. The manual provides a detailed explanation of the indication of the form and the level of augmentative communication; the further implementation of the indicated augmentative communication is briefly discussed.
The ComFor consists of two levels with a total of five series and 36 items. The script of the test activity is very straightforward: each item is organised as a sorting task. Level I concerns tasks at the level of presentation: identical objects or pictures have to be sorted according to shape, colour, matter and size. The tasks can thus be resolved on the basis of concrete, literally perceptible features. Series 1 is the so-called learning series, in which sorting is trained step by step. In series 2 and 3, objects (series 2) and pictures (series 3) have to be sorted. Level II concernst tasks at the level of representation: non-identical objects or pictures have to be sorted on the basis of sense-making beyond the concrete, literally perceptible features. Series 4 involves sorting within one form; series 5 sorting of different forms.
The ComFor should be administered by a psychologist, psycholinguist or a speech-language pathologist. In order to interpret the results and to translate the indication into clinical practice, insight into communication processes in general and more particular in people with autism is necessary. The ComFor course (introduction) is not mandatory for users outside Belgium or the Netherlands although highly recommended: see courses.
The administration will take on average 45 minutes. With regard to the wide range of developmental levels of clients, a large spread can occur in the time needed.
Psychoeducational Profile (PEP-3) Third Edition Eric Schopler • Margaret D. Lansing • Robert J. Reichler • Lee M. Marcus Ages: 6 months through 7 years Testing Time: 45 minutes to 1.5 hours Administration: Individual The PEP-3 is a revision of the popular instrument that has been used for more than 20 years to assess the skills and behaviors of children with autism and communicative disabilities who function between the ages of 6 months to 7 years. The profile resulting from the PEP-3 graphically charts uneven and idiosyncratic development, emerging skills, and autistic behavioral characteristics. This test meets the need for an assessment tool to assist in the educational programming for young children (ages 3 through 5) with disabilities and is particularly useful in planning for older students' Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).
The PEP-3 now includes a Caregiver Report. This report utilizes parent input and is completed prior to the administration of the assessment. The form asks the parent or caregiver to estimate the child's developmental level compared with typical children. This form has been shown to help orient teachers to a student's developmental inconsistencies. The PEP-3 has included additional data that identify special learning strengths and teachable skills. Also, the third edition is improved by offering normative data both from a group of children in the autism spectrum as well as from a comparison group of children without autism. It is the only test to date that provides data for within-group comparison to children in the autism spectrum.
Improvements to the PEP-3: The function domains have been revised to reflect current research and clinical concerns, especially in the area of social and communication functions. Normative data were collected from 2002 to 2003, with large national samples of children in the autism spectrum and of typical children ranging from 2 to 71/2 years of age. These are the first normative data provided for comparison of a child's PEP results with children of either comparison group. Reliability coefficients have been computed by age for subgroups within the normative sample (i.e., males, females, white, black, and Hispanic Americans.) Validity evidence is provided for children in the autism spectrum for all areas measured by the test. The scoring has been quantified as 0, 1, and 2; and each score is clearly defined, making statistical comparisons more accurate. At the same time, the flexibility of the previous system, using pass, emerge, and fail, has been maintained. A Caregiver Report has been added which includes Current Developmental Levels, Diagnostic Categories and Degree of Problem, and three subtests: Problem Behaviors; Personal Self-Care, and Adaptive Behavior. The Caregiver Report provides teachers and other professionals with information needed for a more thorough and complete planning for each child.
AAPEP extends the assessment of the PEP-R (Schopler et al) to the adolescent and older age group in the moderate to severe range of mental retardation. Emphasis is on evaluating functional skills from three areas of assessment: direct observation, home, and school work. Appropriateness of placement in residential, education, and vocational sites is suggested.
The AAPEP maual is available in English and in french. Swedish manuals can be ordered directly at the Riksföreningen autism in Stockholm.
The AAPEP material kit contains reading cards that are actually available in: english, french, dutch, german, danish, swedish, norwegian, finnish, italian and czechish.