Approaches to communication assessment with children and adults with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities

Darren Chadwick, Susan Buell, Juliet Goldbart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
597 Downloads (Pure)


Communication assessment of people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD) has seldom been investigated. Here, we explore approaches and decision making in undertaking communication assessments in this group of people. A questionnaire was sent to UK practitioners. The questionnaire elicited information about assessment approaches used and rationales for assessment choices. Fifty-five speech and language therapists (SLTs) responded. Findings revealed that the Preverbal Communication Schedule, the Affective Communication Assessment and the Checklist of Communication Competence were the most frequently used published assessments. Both published and unpublished assessments were often used. Rationales for assessment choice related to assessment utility, sensitivity to detail and change and their applicability to people with PIMD. Underpinning evidence for assessments was seldom mentioned demonstrating the need for more empirical support for assessments used. Variability in practice and the eclectic use of a range of assessments was evident, underpinned by practice-focused evidence based on tacit knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-358
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number2
Early online date14 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Adult
  • Child
  • Communication Disorders/diagnosis
  • Disabled Persons/statistics & numerical data
  • Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability/complications
  • Language Tests/statistics & numerical data
  • Language Therapy/statistics & numerical data
  • Speech Therapy/statistics & numerical data
  • United Kingdom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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