The Communication Complexity Scale (CCS; Brady et al., 2012) was created to fill a void in measures of expressive communication skills in individuals who communicate primarily with presymbolic or early symbolic means. CCS scores reflect expressive communication observed during interactive communication contexts.
Two studies were completed to examine the reliability and validity of the revised CCS scores. Participants in both studies had minimal verbal skills (i.e., produced less than 20 functional words). Study 1 examined interobserver agreement, test–retest reliability, and concurrent validity for 239 participants with intellectual disabilities between the ages of 3–66 years, assessed with the protocol developed at the University of Kansas (KU CCS). CCS scores were compared with scores from the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales–Second Edition (Sparrow, Cicchetti, & Balla, 2005) and the Communication Matrix (Rowland & Fried-Oken, 2010). Study 2 examined the reliability and concurrent validity for CCS scores derived from 110 children (chronological age = 3–9) with autism from diverse backgrounds. These children were assessed with the Early Social Communication Scale (Mundy et al., 2003). CCS scores were compared with rates of communication derived from the Early Social Communication Scale.
CCS scores were moderately correlated with scores from existing measures of early communication. In addition, CCS scores from different raters were reliable, and test–retest scores were highly similar.
These findings support the validity and reliability of the CCS when used with individuals across a wide range of ages and with various types of disabilities. The CCS can be used in research and clinical practice to describe extant communication levels in individuals with minimal verbal skills.
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