Check Your Knowledge 4.1: “More Than Just Skills” Activity

In this activity, we will demonstrate how the HELP® assesses more than “just skills” by illustrating adaptation of activities for a child’s special needs.

Carefully view the Early Intervention in Action (Chen, 2008) video clip of Michael and his father.


Record your answers in your 📝 handout.

TOPIC 4.6: Practice Gathering Information across Strands

What type of skills and behaviors might you observe across Strands while watching a parent play ball with her toddler?  Read the scenario below.

Marquita, Alex’s mother, sits on the floor across from Alex and says, “Throw the ball to me.”  Alex repeats “bawl,” and throws the ball in a playful way.  Then he puts out his arms and waits for his mother to throw it back to him.

Which Strands apply for this observation of Alex?

💭 Think Spot: Identify Strands for Alex’s play

Consider which of the Strands below could be partially assessed using information gathered during the observation of Alex described.

Record your answers on your 📝 handout.

  1. Receptive language: Understands the meaning of the words “ball” and “throw” (Strand 2-1)
  2. Receptive language: Understands and follows a direction (Strand 2-2)
  3. Expressive language: Says an approximation of “ball” (Strand 2-3)
  4. Expressive language: Produces single consonant sounds (Strand 2-6)
  5. Gross motor: Throws while sitting (Strand 3-7F)
  6. Social-emotional: Plays ball/games interactively (Strand 5-5)


💭 Think Spot: Identify skills for Alex’s play

Which skills might you observe for Alex from these Strands based on the scenario?

Record your answers on your 📝 handout.

TOPIC 4.3: Consider Logan

Let’s meet a young man with whom we’ll practice crediting in the HELP®. Logan is Marcia and Raymond’s 26-month-old son.  Marcia had an uneventful pregnancy, and Logan is a beautiful blonde-headed boy.  He seemed typical in his development for the first year, but then Marcia became concerned that Logan was not doing all the things that her friends’ toddlers were doing. He wasn’t saying “Mommy” and “Daddy,” and didn’t stay interested in his toys for more than a few seconds.

Logan’s pediatrician suggested a referral to early intervention to examine Logan’s development.  Marcia and Raymond were pleased with the interest that the intake coordinator showed in Logan and in their home routines.  Now the evaluator wants to do a “developmental assessment” to determine what Logan does and doesn’t do.  Marcia feels rather nervous when the evaluator starts to ask her so many questions.

TOPIC 4.1: “It’s NOT just about the skills…”

Although this course has thus far focused upon the organization of HELP® skills and characteristics of the various HELP® components, a most important feature of the HELP® is that:

  • HELP® is “NOT just about the skills.”
  • Skills provide the framework for assessment and planning.

If it is “NOT just about the skills,” what is it about?


How does the HELP® assess more than just the skills?

Modifications available through the HELP® include:

  • Gives a range of crediting options, including:
    • Atypical (A)
    • Circling the credit (to indicate family concern)
  • Involves families in the assessment process
  • Does not use a rigid, standardized administration process (materials, methods); instead, suggests example opportunities for observation
  • Encourages meaningful assessment: provides family-friendly explanations regarding what you are assessing and why it is useful to assess
  • Includes adaptations for disabilities

Now, let’s see how you can put these steps into action!

TOPIC 3.3: Skills are hierarchically arranged (in most strands)

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.

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!

TOPIC 3.2: Some skills are included in more than one Strand

Some skills are included in more than one Strand, because the skill involves development in more than one domain, such as cognition and language.  In these instances, there is a note in the HELP Skills/Behaviors row directing you to the additional Strand in which the same skill is listed, so that you can give credit there also.

Go to Strand 2-3 Expressive Vocabulary on page 9 of the Strands protocol and look at skill 2.76 “Uses size words.”  See notation in the HELP Skills/Behaviors row, “also in Strand 1-7B.”   You will find the same skill, 2.76, in the Cognitive Strand 1-7B on page 7 of the protocol.

TOPIC 2.4: Introduction to the Protocols

There are two version of the HELP® crediting booklet or protocol: The Checklist and The Strands protocols.

First, The HELP® Checklist

The HELP® Checklist was the first version of the crediting booklet or protocol for the HELP®.  See booklet cover below.

The HELP Checklist Cover

In the Checklist, all skills are numbered sequentially according to the age at which they emerge within each of the 6 domains. See sample page next.

Example of the HELP Checklist, 1.0

The HELP® Checklist groups all 685 skills by domain. Then, within each domain, the skills/behaviors are listed according to the age range during which they emerge.  They are numbered sequentially within each domain, with each domain being assigned a different first number, as indicated next.

  • Cognitive (skill numbering starts with 1)
  • Language (skill numbering starts with 2)
  • Gross Motor (skill numbering starts with 3)
  • Fine Motor (skill numbering starts with 4)
  • Social (skill numbering starts with 5)
  • Self-Help (skill numbering starts with 6)

Important Checklist Note

Although skill numbers and ages are in sequential order in the Checklist, one skill does not necessarily relate to, or act as a foundation for, the next skill within the domain.

For example, on page 3 of the Checklist, if a child learns skill 1.29, Brings feet to mouth, it does not necessarily mean that the child is ready to learn the next numerical skill 1.30, Shows interest in sounds of objects. See illustration next.

Second, The HELP® Strands

The HELP® Strands is an assessment crediting booklet or protocol that was developed after the original Checklist.

In the HELP® Strands (1992-2013), skills are grouped in the same 6 domains as in the Checklist, and then are further grouped into 41 Strands according to concept areas within each domain (see page 30 or 31 of the Strands booklet). This organization allows for easier administration and crediting of skills.  In addition, a new section was added:  Regulatory/Sensory Organization.

  • Refer to your stapled 1992-2013 version of the HELP® Strands for this slide. All of the Strands are listed on page 30 and repeated on page 31.
  • Skills in each Strand are listed in the order in which they emerge for children within each domain; they may not be in numerical order as in the Checklist.
  • The organization by Strands in the crediting booklet matches the organizational layout of Inside HELP®.

The HELP Strands cover page

There are two versions of the HELP® Strands recording booklet. Be sure to use the most recent version for this course – see dates below.

  1. One version is stapled (dated 1992-2013) and is used for this course, shown above.
  2. The other version is unstapled so as to be pulled apart for use by multi-disciplinary teams (dated 1992-2013). Each pull-apart sheet includes all skills for one domain.

The Regulatory/Sensory Organization section addresses a child’s self-regulation, and ability to perceive and organize sensory experiences. It is on page 3 of the stapled booklet, and includes skills pulled from several of the 6 domains.

TOPIC 1.2: Required Course Components

You will need the following components to complete this course, which must be purchased from VORT Corporation at the VORT Corporation Website.

  • Inside HELP® Administration and Reference Manual (for Birth – 3 years); order item #159; required
  • HELP® Strands (2013 version) stapled booklet; order item #158; required
  • HELP® Checklist 2004 version; order item #151; optional

Important Note:  We recommended using the Strand version listed above, to ensure page numbers cited in this course will correspond.  If you use an older Strand version, refer to the Strand and/or Skill #.

Be sure you have all of these components, plus a pencil, before continuing!!

Do not duplicate any of the HELP® protocols. You must purchase one copy of the Strands or Checklist for EACH child being assessed in your practice. Protocols can be purchased directly from the VORT Corporation website.

Interchangeable Terms used during this course

  • HELP® ~ Hawaii Early Learning Profile®;
  • HELP® 0-3 System ~ HELP® 0-3 Curriculum-Based Assessment System ~ the HELP®;
  • HELP® Strands Protocol ~ HELP® Strands Assessment Recording Booklet;
  • HELP® Checklist ~ Protocol;
  • DAL ~ Developmental Age Level;
  • Items ~ HELP® skills ~ Skills/behaviors;
  • CBA ~ Curriculum-Based Assessment;
  • Crediting ~ Skills are credited in the HELP® rather than scored.

TOPIC 1.1: Overview of the Course

The purposes of this course include:

  • Provide self-paced accessible training for those who need to assess and monitor young children’s developmental status with the HELP® 0-3;
  • Comply with federal and state mandates to provide accurate, timely, and valid measures of child progress.

Workplace Outcomes

After completing this course, you will possess the skills to:

  • Identify components of the HELP® 0-3 Curriculum-Based Assessment System;
  • Describe the components of the HELP® Strands and Checklist for children aged birth to three years;
  • Begin assessing children using the HELP® 0-3.

Training Outcomes

During completion of the course, you will:

  • Gain knowledge of the various resources available related to the Hawaii Early Learning Profile (HELP)® 0-3;
  • Describe methods for collecting information and the types of information to collect during the HELP® 0-3 assessment process;
  • Use various video clips to credit children’s skills using the HELP® 0-3 Strands protocol;
  • Locate resources for determining approximate Developmental Age Levels for the HELP®0-3 Strands.


Organization of Course

This course is divided into multiple lessons, with topics within each lesson. Each lesson and topic must be viewed in order.

  • Lesson 1: Introduction & 📝 Handout
  • Lesson 2: Components of the HELP® 0-3 System
  • Lesson 3: Additional Features of the HELP® Strands
  • Lesson 4: Assessment Procedures and Crediting with the HELP®
  • Lesson 5: Practice, Practice, Practice
  • Lesson 6: Conclusion

This course does not include:

Discussion of state and federal regulations: Since regulations and procedures for early intervention vary between states, and because federal regulations change, we will not delve into this area.  The focus of this course is learning to administer the HELP®, so that you may understand the tool and be able to use it to assess young children.

Topic 2.4: Personal Wireless (FM) Systems

Personal Wireless (FM) Systems

Individuals with hearing impairment may use some type of assistive device to augment residual hearing capacity. These may include hearing aids, personal FM systems, or induction loop systems (see Resource Document link for more information).

Personal wireless (FM) systems consist of a microphone/transmitter and receiver component which is typically small enough to be discretely worn on the body. Normal radio signals are transmitted from a microphone carrying the audio content to the receiver. The microphone may be worn by the speaker or be used in a loop system on a desktop. There are three types of receivers: those worn on the body, those worn behind the ear, and those used on a desktop. FM systems work by broadcasting the speaker’s voice directly to the listener’s ear and optimizing signal to noise ratio. FM receivers are often used in conjunction with hearing aids. Some types of hearing aids are available with built-in FM receivers. FM systems may be susceptible to interference from other radio users.

The dentist should also be aware that assistive listening devices frequently distort in the presence of loud or high pitched environmental noise – thus devices such as hearing aids or FM systems may need to be turned off during some aspects of treatment. An alternative method of communication should be established for the patient in this situation – such as the use of hand signals. Increasing the volume of one’s voice is not typically helpful for individuals using assistive devices, as distortion may occur.