Novel Approaches for the Measurement of Early Childhood Development
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Chair and Committee
Nico U. Dosenbach, Allison King
Carolyn Baum, Alexandre Carter, Kerri Morgan
Early identification of developmental delay (DD) is essential to providing timely and targeted intervention in the first years of life when the brain is considered to be the most malleable. Current evaluation methods are designed to measure developmental progress but fail to capture the child’s real-world activity and engagement. This thesis aims to describe innovative approaches to improve measurement of what children are doing in their everyday lives. Activity card sorts (ACS) provide a method for individuals to be an active part of their own healthcare team, yet there is none to support caregivers in this vulnerable age group. When DD are identified early, children 0-36 months can be eligible to receive early intervention. Motor deficits are often the first easily measurable sign of dysfunction, but subtle impairment is often missed by parents and pediatricians during brief clinical encounters. Wearable technology has opened up the opportunity for measurement of real-world movement during a child’s typical day and a method to affordably screen children at risk for motor deficits. Evidence suggests that movement measured with bilateral wrist-worn accelerometers can accurately describe upper extremity motor activity in children. The purpose of this dissertation was twofold: (1) Develop and validate the Infant Toddler Activity Card Sort (ITACS) to describe real-world engagement of infants/toddlers and (2) Use accelerometry to describe real-world activity of children with and without disability.
Hoyt, Catherine Rose, "Novel Approaches for the Measurement of Early Childhood Development" (2019). WUSM Theses and Dissertations – All Programs. 21.