A key feature of the Strands protocol is that the sequence of skills is hierarchical within most strands (see 2 exceptions explained below). Hierarchical arrangement means that within a Strand each skill builds on the previously listed skills.
This feature permits quicker assessment since a basal and ceiling for each Strand can be determined more quickly. More on crediting later in Lesson 4!
This feature also facilitates intervention planning by indicating next steps within the conceptual area.
One example of a strand with hierarchical arrangement is Cognitive Strand 1-4, Problem Solving.
In the example shown, Cognitive 1-4, on page 5, note that the skill numbers in the Strands are not always in numerical order because they are grouped according to the hierarchical order in which the skills begin to develop. Note the following details shown in Strand 1-4 Problem Solving:
- The strand illustrates the hierarchical ordering of skills in the Strands, as opposed to the numerical ordering of the Checklist.
- If you look at the Strands protocol pictured on this slide, you will see Cognitive Domain 1.0 listed in the upper right-hand corner of page 5.
- The Strand is 1-4, Problem Solving, as indicated on the top left of page 5.
- In sub-strand 1-4C, Cause and Effect, note that the sequence of skills goes from 1.21 to 1.30 and then to 1.24; illustrating that the skills are hierarchical but not numerical.
- Note the emerging age intervals corresponding to these three skills: they range from 4 to 5 months for skill 1.21, to 5.5 to 8 months for skill 1.30, and to 5 to 9 months for skill 1.24.
From this example, you can see how skills build in complexity within the conceptual area of cause and effect.
*NOTE these two exceptions: 0.0 Regulatory/Sensory Organization and 1-5 Spatial Relationships
0.0 Regulatory/Sensory Organization: Skills in this section are sequential but not hierarchical, in other words, the earlier skills develop earlier, but may not be foundational for later skills in the strand. The skills in Regulatory/Sensory Organization (RSO) are pulled from many domains, and are in sequential developmental order, but the skills may not be hierarchical; that is, they may not build on earlier listed skills. The skills in RSO represent a collection of many different skills across the birth to three-year age span. This section is considered the “glue” for child regulation. The section includes a list of behaviors that reflect sensory processing and organizational issues, which are also listed in their original domains. Repeated skills are noted in the protocol after the brief skill description; for example, on page 3, skill 5.05, Molds and relaxes body when held, is also listed in Strand 5-5.
1-5 Spatial Relationships: In the Cognitive strand 1-5, Spatial Relationships, items also are sequential but not hierarchical, as earlier skills listed may not be foundational for later spatial skills. See the strand on page 6 of the protocol, where items are listed in order of development from 2.5 months to 36 months, but earlier skills may not be necessary for the development of later skills in this strand.
More skills must be assessed in 0.0 Regulatory/Sensory Organization (page 3) and Strand 1-5 Spatial Relationships (page 6) to establish a basal and ceiling, since the skills are not hierarchical. More on crediting in Lesson 4!