- Make sure the child is attending to the device before each trial
Examiners should ensure they have the child’s attention at the start of each trial and during the directions. If a child’s attention continually drifts despite the Examiner’s efforts, this can be considered relevant to the measurement and the task should continue.
- A child may ask for help or express frustration.
If you’d like to review ways in which children ask for help during the assessment, you can revisit Commonly Asked Questions by Students.
If a child expresses frustration at Examiners repeating the rule or continually labeling the card, the Examiner can tell them, “I have to say it because that is how the game is played.”
- A child may want to change an answer.
Once the card is in a box, the trial is over, even if the child changes his/her mind.
- A child being “silly”
Sometimes children give the indication that they are not taking the rules seriously, or that they are deliberately putting things in the wrong place.
It can be difficult to distinguish between non-compliance due to difficulty with the task versus an unwillingness to follow the rules.
Purposeful “silliness” is often a response to being confused or having trouble with a switch. As a result, take whatever answer the child gives, as it can still be an accurate indicator of current EF ability. It is important to make a note of this in the Examiner Comments section.
It may be worth assessing the child again on a different day to see if the child really was struggling with that particular level or if they were disinterested and/or having a bad day. Here is an example of a child being purposefully “silly” as a response to being confused:
- Refusal to complete the task
If the child does not complete the task and the Examiner has made several attempts to get the child back on track, that administration must be discarded (click “no” for save). The Examiner may attempt the task again at another time.
- A child has a security toy
Security toys are OK, but attempt to place them out of the child’s view or on the floor so as not to interfere with the task.
- Parent/Third Party involvement
If it is necessary to have a parent or other third party nearby, advise them before the session that it is important that they not respond to the child should they be asked for help. Give them a magazine to read, and instruct them to say, “I’m busy right now but (E) is here to do the game with you” if the child attempts to get their attention. Lap sitting should be avoided if possible.
- The device falls asleep
We recommend that you change the setting to “Never” so that the device will not fall asleep during testing. Be sure to keep it charged. Most devices give a warning when they fall below 10% power level; this should be avoided.