(The Application of Cognitive Functions Scale)
S. Lidz and Ruthanne H. Jepsen
ACFS is appropriately administered to typically
developing children between the ages of three through five years
and to children with developmental delays who function approximately
within those age levels.
ACFS taps basic cognitive processes
and learning strategies associated with typical early childhood
learning activities. There are six subscales, or activities, as
- Classification (materials: blocks; processes:
grouping and alternative thinking)
- Perspective taking (materials: paper and crayons;
processes: communicating in a way that reflects awareness of another's
presence, need to understand, and point of view)
- Short Term Auditory Memory (materials: short stories;
processes: short term auditory recall and sequential narrative)
- Visual Sequential Memory (materials: small toys;
processes: short term rote recall of visual objects and application
of visual memory strategies)
- Verbal Planning (materials: picture sequence;
processes: communication of strategic plan for completion of a
- Sequential Pattern Completion (materials: set of
diagrams; processes: awareness of repeated shape pattern and completion
of the pattern)
Each activity is presented in a
"dynamic format or with a pretest-intervention transfer administration.
Both the pretest and transfer segments ask the child to engage in
the activity without adult assistance, to demonstrate the child's
independent functioning. The intervention segment offers standard
assistance that emphasizes the strategies and type of processing
that is involved in successful completion of the activity. If administered
in the standardized format, the procedure can be scored. If the
standardized procedure is not strictly followed, the ACFS can be
used diagnostically or for individual exploration of the child's
functioning in the areas tapped by the activities.
The ACFS has been developed to yield
information that relates to the child's ability to learn as inferred
from observation of the child's responsiveness to the instruction
that is offered during the course of the procedure. This information
should connect directly to the classroom instructional setting,
as well as provide in depth insight into the nature of the child's
cognitive functioning, as the activities are typical of those found
in early childhood programs. If used diagnostically, ACFS should
provide insight into successful teaching strategies.
will group objects on the basis of abstracted features of color,
size, function, shape. Children will change the basis of grouping
objects when asked to "do it another way".
- ability to detect distinctive features
- ability to respond to directions including "things
that go together," and "make groups."
- ability to make groups based on abstracted distinctive
- application of grouping concepts across variety
of materials, such as toys, clothes, foods (real simulations,
as well as pictures)
Children will communicate
with another person in a way that reflects awareness of that person's
need for information.
- ability to read behavioral cues of others, such
- ability to comprehend and distinguish among verbal
communications of others, such as statements versus questions
- ability to provide verbal and behavioral communications
to allow another person to engage in reciprocal interchanges.
Children will tell the
steps of commonly experienced activities in correct sequence. Children
will determine when they need a plan.
- ability to retrieve and keep in working memory
an activity sequence
- ability to detect when something is out of order
- ability to anticipate what comes next
- ability to sequence pictures portraying common
- comprehension of planning words such as first,
- use of planning words to communicate a sequence
Short Term Visual Memory:
recall the names of a series of objects placed in front of them
and then removed from sight.
- knowledge base for objects (vocabulary and experience)
- strategies for rote recall, such as rehearsal,
- elaborate self talk during object play
ACFS Behavior Rating Scale Components:
Self Regulation: Child maintains attention and
refrains from impulsive interaction with materials.
Child completes task without seeking to terminate.
Tolerance: When child shows upset from frustration, is readily calmed
Motivation: Child shows enthusiastic reaction
to the materials and task.
Flexibility: Child does not repeat
unsuccessful task solutions and develops alternative approaches
to the task.
Responsivity: Child is willing to learn and open
to input from the mediator.
Interactivity: Child engages in
turn-taking conversational exchanges with some degree of elaboration.