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Assessing Infants and Children with VABS

written by: Mayflor Markusic • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 9/11/2012

The VABS is a popular assessment tool to evaluate the social skills of minors, usually from preschool to 18 years old. But there is another version of the VABS that can be utilized to assess the development of infants and toddlers.

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    VABS for the Youngest Children

    The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale (VABS) for infants and toddlers is called the Vineland SEEC Scales. The SEEC stands for Social-Emotional Early Childhood. Similar to the original VABS, the Vineland SEEC was developed by Sara S. Sparrow, Domenic V. Cicchetti and David A. Balla. But, unlike the original VABS that is used for preschool-age children and older, the Vineland SEEC is developed specifically for children of ages zero to 5 years and 11 months. Instead of the usual four behavioral domains found in the VABS (Communication, Daily Living Skills, Socialization, and Motor Skills), the Vineland SEEC Scales has three. These are:

    1. Interpersonal Relationships
    2. Play and Leisure Time
    3. Coping Skills

    There will be scores for each of these and then a total score that is referred to as the Social Emotional Composite. The composite score is interpreted to describe the infant or toddler's ability to pay attention, to recognize verbal and nonverbal ways of expressing emotions, to work cooperatively with others, to observe and develop relationships, and to manage and regulate behaviors.

    The Vineland Social-Emotional Early Childhood Scales utilizes the same semi-structured interview format found in the VABS. The respondent is the parent, the guardian, or the caregiver. The questions, however, are fewer and the administration time is shorter. In the original VABS, the Survey Form has 297 questions while the Expanded Form has 577. In the Vineland SEEC Scales, there is a total of 122 questions (44 for Interpersonal Relationships, 44 for Play and Leisure Time, and 34 for Coping Skills). The questions are open-ended and centered around crucial developmental milestones of infants and toddlers.

    Although the questions are open-ended, there are five general categories of answers for each item. These are:

    1. Usually performs
    2. Sometimes performs
    3. Never performs
    4. Never had the opportunity to perform
    5. Don't know or never observed the child to perform

    Due to the complexity of interpreting the answers to the open-ended questions, the administrator must be a highly trained psychologist, preferably one with a graduate degree. The results of the Vineland SEEC will reveal developmental delays and can be utilized as basis to plan an individualized educational program or a clinical intervention. In such a case, the Vineland SEEC is administered regularly to monitor the progress of the toddler's development.