Skill Base

The SKILL BASE courses provide content to help Early Start providers support development within specific developmental domains and for children with specific disability conditions.

Facilitating Cognitive Development

Topics covered in this course include: cognitive developmental milestones, assessment in the cognitive domain, indicators of common disabilities related to cognitive development, service planning to address needs in cognitive development, and evidence-based intervention strategies.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe terms, components, and the elements of cognitive development in young children.
  • Identify common conditions that include intellectual disability as a characteristic.
  • Increase knowledge of current practice and approaches to communicating about and supporting the development of children with intellectual disabilities.
  • Discuss tools and practices appropriate for evaluation and assessment of communication development.
  • Develop functional, relationship-based outcomes based on the needs identified through a developmental assessment and a family interview.
  • Describe appropriate, evidence-based intervention practices that may be used to promote overall cognitive development and to address concerns in the cognitive domain.

Course Content Week-by-Week

Weeks 1-2: Development of Cognitive Skills
  • Define essential components of infant-toddler cognition.
  • Describe the scope and sequence of typical cognitive development in infants and toddlers.
  • Define common terms in the cognitive domain pertinent to infants and toddlers.

Weeks 3-4: Red Flags, Common Disabilities, and Referrals
  • Recognize behaviors and characteristics that indicate a need for assessment.
  • Identify the most frequently occurring disabilities that have cognitive delays or disabilities and primary characteristics.
  • Describe the challenges associated with referring a child for assessment based on red flags for cognitive delays or disabilities.
Weeks 5-6: Essentials of Assessment of Cognitive Development
  • Identify multiple tools and practices to assess development and progress in the cognitive domain.
  • Restate findings of a cognitive evaluation/assessment report(s) to a child’s family.
  • Describe how cognitive assessment can be conducted using typical family routines and activities.
Weeks 7-8: Outcomes, Services, and Coordination
  • Identify a family’s concerns, priorities, and resources for their child’s cognitive development.
  • Identify possible functional, family-focused outcomes for a child with a cognitive disability.
  • Explore service and support options based on the needs of the child and family.

Weeks 9-10: Intervention Strategies to Work with Children and Their Families
  • Identify resources and strategies for promoting the cognitive development of young children.
  • Describe relationship-based intervention strategies to support families as they support the cognitive development of their young children with cognitive delays or disabilities.
  • Identify strategies for integrating developmentally appropriate intervention into natural environments to support the cognitive development of young children.
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