Assessment of social communication skills in preschoolers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This paper orients the reader to social communication assessment and reviews methods for assessing social communication behavior in children from toddlerhood through the preschool years. Most standardized, normed tests of language in this age range focus on morpho-syntactic and semantic comprehension and production abilities. While social communication is perhaps one of the most important skills for peer acceptance, these skills are often overlooked in language evaluation with children. However, there are a number of caregiver questionnaires, interviews, or direct social-communication sampling methods that are available to assist clinicians or researchers in documenting social-communication skills or behaviors. Since assessment of social communication is essential in clinical work with children with an autism spectrum disorder, some of the tools described below are outgrowths of autism research or provide autism-related scores. While many children receiving social communication assessments do not have autism, the need to assess social communication skills in children with language impairment is highlighted by the growing literature documenting social and pragmatic difficulties in this population (Bishop [2000] Causes, Characteristics, Intervention, and Outcome. Hove, UK: Psychology press). Regardless of whether the measures presented herein were initially designed for children with autism or not, they will provide insights into the social communicative behaviors or tendencies in young children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-252
Number of pages6
JournalMental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2005


  • Assessment
  • Communication
  • Preschoolers
  • Social

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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