Choice Beyond Preference: Conceptualization and Assessment of Choice-Making Skills in Children With Significant Impairments

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ObjectiveTo present a model of progressive skills involved in the development of expressing choice among children with significant speech and motor impairments.ProblemChoice making has often been defined and assessed as the expression of personal preference. Yet, for children with a combination of motor, speech, and possible cognitive impairments, communicating even basic knowledge often involves making a choice from predetermined options.ModelWhen planning and implementing educational goals, it is therefore critical to accurately assess choice-making abilities across the spectrum of domains, including choice making to express knowledge and skills. To date, few objective, systematic approaches to conceptualization and assessment of choice-making abilities exist. The authors describe a progression of skills involved in choice making and a framework for understanding the abilities that constitute the foundation for these skills and behaviors.ConclusionThere is evidence that the assessment of choice-making skills is a fundamental component in adapted cognitive assessments for children with significant motor and communicative impairments.

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