Classifying Typically-Developing Toddlers Using the Communication Function Classification System (CFCS)

Hopkin, Ashley
The CFCS ( consists of five levels of communication performance with familiar and unfamiliar partners, from Level I (most functional) to Level V (least functional). In pilot data of 32 children, ages 24-to-60-months, communication performances of children older than 31 months were generally classified as CFCS Level I. However, the relationship between CFCS levels and age needs further study. The purpose of the study is to use the CFCS to determine at what age 90% of typically developing toddlers consistently communicate at Level I and to compare those results to the Focus on the Outcomes of Communication Under Six (FOCUS). The objective of this study is to determine the age range and FOCUS outcomes of typically-developing toddlers for each CFCS Level. Methods: Two researchers will observe 30 to 60 toddlers, between 12-and-42-months-old, interact with familiar and unfamiliar communication partners (e.g., parents, siblings, teachers, peers). The observation will last approximately 30 minutes, with each research team member individually noting the child's CFCS classification at five minute intervals. Familiar communication partners will also complete the FOCUS to quantify real-world changes in children's communication. If both CFCS researchers did not classify a child's communication as a CFCS Level I, the researchers will re-observe the child at one month intervals. Significance: This research will expand the number of children observed by including a younger sample and adding the FOCUS information. Speech-language pathologists may use this information to determine if a toddler or preschooler is making typical communication progress and when to intervene.
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