The SCERTS® Model
How can you enhance the social and communication skills of children with ASD?
Follow the SCERTS® Model to make strides toward priority goals
The SCERTS® Model is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to enhancing the communication and socioemotional abilities of young children with autism spectrum disorder. SCERTS refers to Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, and Transactional Support, which are priority goals in supporting the development of children with ASD and their families.
The SCERTS approach recognizes that the most meaningful learning experiences occur in everyday activities within family and school contexts. Therefore, efforts to support a child’s development occur with a variety of partners (e.g., parents, other caregivers, brothers and sisters, other children) in everyday routines.
Determine the child’s communication stage by completing the Worksheet for Determining Communication Stage
Once you’ve determined the child’s communication stage, gather information from families and teachers or other caregivers using the appropriate SCERTS Assessment Process (SAP) Report form
Use the SAP Map for Planning the SAP-Observation (SAP-O) to map out assessment team members and settings for observations
Observe the child, documenting information on the SAP-O form; conduct behavior sampling to augment the observation if necessary; and tabulate the scores
Compile and integrate information with the SAP summary form to prioritize goals and recommend further assessment
Use the SCERTS Activity Planning form to design an education program, outlining a schedule to ensure intervention approximates 25 hours per week of active engagement in productive learning activities
Track the child’s progress to monitor the effectiveness of the program and modify the objectives as needed
At a glance
What is it?
A comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to assessing and planning interventions to enhance the communication and social-emotional abilities of preschool and elementary school children with autism spectrum disorders
Who implements it?
Professionals and caregivers work collaboratively in educational, home, and community settings
How often is it conducted?
Initially, and then quarterly to track progress and make adjustments
What are its components?
SCERTS includes two volumes: Volume 1: Assessment, used in tandem with Volume II: Program Planning and Intervention; a DVD of the model as well as Easy-Score software is also available
Which areas does it examine?
The SCERTS Assessment Process (SAP) addresses 3 domains divided into 2 core components each:
- social communication
- joint attention
- symbol use
- emotional regulation
- mutual regulation
- transactional support
- interpersonal support
- learning support
What is a sample item?
One objective for Social Communication at the Social Partner stage is that a child spontaneously imitates familiar actions or sounds immediately after a model, with the criterion being The child accurately imitates or closely approximates a familiar action or sound spontaneously (i.e., without direction to do so) immediately after a partner models the behavior. The child imitates at least two different behaviors. A familiar action or sound is one that the child will readily display spontaneously (e.g., clapping, imitating animal sounds). The child’s behavior is measured against this standard for the child to receive credit for this ability.
What do the scores tell you?
The SCERTS Assessment Process is a criterion-referenced, curriculum-based tool that provides a profile of a child’s strengths and needs in the critical areas of social communication and emotional regulation across settings and partners. A child’s scores on selected SAP objectives are combined to measure progress in 8 social-emotional growth indicators that reflect common priorities and concerns expressed by parents and professionals about children with ASD:
- sense of self
- sense of other
- active learning and organization
- flexibility and resilience
- cooperation and appropriateness of behavior
- social membership and friendship