Cognition & Learning

Responsiveness: Assessment of responsiveness should evaluate any change in a pupil’s behavior that demonstrates he or she is being attentive to a new stimulus or reacting in a meaningful way. This type of assessment is important for establishing what differing stimuli motivate a pupil to pay attention. This is a prerequisite for learning. It is particularly relevant for assessing pupils with multiple sensory impairments who have reduced and/or atypical sensory awareness and perception.

Curiosity: Assessment of curiosity demonstrates how a pupil is building on an initial reaction to a new stimulus, perhaps by reaching out or seeking the source of a new stimulus.

Discovery: Assessment of discovery provides information about the changing ways in which a pupil interacts with, or responds to, a new stimulus, sometimes accompanied by expressions such as enjoyment and excitement. Curiosity and discovery are closely linked. At a more advanced point of development they both help to demonstrate a pupil’s degree of interest in, and exploration of, activities and concepts. These both help to drive the acquisition of new knowledge and skills.
Anticipation: Assessment of anticipation should demonstrate whether a pupil is able to predict, expect or associate a particular stimulus with an event. This is important for measuring a pupil’s concept of cause and effect.

Persistence: Assessment of persistence measures the extent to which a pupil is sustaining attention towards a particular item or action and is therefore beginning to develop conceptual understanding. The ability to sustain attention is important for maintaining an activity long enough to develop the learning associated with it and for consolidating that learning.

Initiation: Assessment of initiation demonstrates the different ways, and extent to which, a pupil investigates an activity or stimulus in order to bring about a desired outcome. It is an important part of developing the autonomy required for more advanced cognitive development and learning.

Investigation: Assessment of investigation measures the extent to which a pupil is actively trying to find out more about an object or activity via prolonged, independent experimentation. This demonstrates a more advanced degree of autonomy than the other aspects of engagement and is important for ongoing learning.


Expressive Communication

Intentional and pre-intentional patterns of behavior and communication designed to help the child get their needs met.

Receptive Communication

Comprehension of simple verbal, symbolic and body language.


Social Affection

Skills an individual requires in order to be able to get their needs met, co-operate with others and share understanding in their environment.

Emotional Affection

Skills an individual requires in order to recognise their own feelings, control some behaviors and

demonstrate their own emotions.


Sensory Operation

  • Visual: the sensation and perception of light.

  • Auditory: the sensation and perception of sound.

  • Tactile: the sensation and perception of touch.

  • Olfactory/Gustatory: the sensation and perception of smell and taste.

  • Vestibular: the sensation and perception of balance and motion.

  • Proprioceptive: the sensation and perception of one’s own body.


Physical Operation

  • Fine Motor: the precise movements that use the small muscles of the fingers, toes, wrists, lips, and tongue.

  • Gross Motor: the bigger movements that use the large muscles in the arms, legs, torso, and feet.

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