The Devereux Early Childhood Assessment for Infants and Toddlers (DECA-I/T) is a premier tool for assessing protective factors and screening for potential risks in the social and emotional development of very young children. It includes 50 record forms (20 Infant and 30 Toddler), Strategies Guide, User Guide, Set of 5 reproducible Parent Teacher Masters, 20 Parent Strategy Guides (For Now & Forever), 3 Adult Resilience Journals (Building Your Bounce) and Forms CD. This assessment is standardized, norm-referenced, reliable and valid, making it appropriate for child and program outcomes.
The Devereux Early Childhood Assessment for Infants and Toddlers (DECA-I/T) is a standardized, norm-referenced, strength based assessment that assesses protective factors and screens for social and emotional risks in very young children. Just like the preschool version, the DECA-I/T is completed by parents and caregivers of infants and toddlers.
DECA Infant (4 weeks up to 18 months)
The DECA Infant assessment (DECA-I) has 33 items that reflect positive behaviors (strengths) typically seen in resilient infants. These positive behaviors comprise two protective factor scales:
- Initiative (18 items) assesses the infant's ability to use independent thought and actions to meet her or his needs. Sample items include "try new things," "imitate actions of others," "show interest in what others are doing," "express her/his dislikes," and "look to a familiar adult when exploring her/his surroundings."
- Attachment/Relationships (15 items) assess the mutual, strong, long lasting relationship between the infant and significant adults such as family members and teachers. Sample items include "enjoy interacting with others," "show affection for a familiar adult," "seek comfort from familiar adults," and "smile at a familiar adult."
- A Total Protective Factors scale, which is a composite of the above two scales, provides an overall indication of the strength of the infant's protective factors.
The DECA-I has 4 scoring profiles for the following age ranges to increase sensitivity to the differences in development at this age span:
- 1 month up to 3 months
- 3 months up to 6 months
- 6 months up to 9 months
- 9 months up to 18 months
DECA Toddler (18 months to 36 months)
The DECA Toddler assessment (DECA-T) has 36 items that reflect positive behaviors (strengths) typically seen in resilient toddlers. These positive behaviors comprise three protective factor scales:
- Initiative (11 items) assesses the toddler's ability to use independent thought and actions to meet her or his needs. Sample items include "show concern for other children," "try to comfort others," "play make-believe," and "try to clean up after herself/himself."
- Attachment/Relationships (18 items) assesses the mutual, strong, long lasting relationship between the toddler and significant adults such as family members and teachers. Sample items include "make needs known to a familiar adult," "accept comfort from a familiar adult," "act happy when praised," and "make others aware of her/his needs."
- Self-Regulation (7 items) assesses the toddler's ability to gain control of and manage emotions, and sustain focus and attention. Sample items include "handle frustration well," "accept another choice when the fist choice was not available," "adjust to changes in routine," and "easily follow a daily routine."
- A Total Protective Factors scale, which is a composite of the above three scales, provides an overall indication of the strength of the toddler's protective factors.
Validity and reliability data are presented in the DECA I/T Technical Manual.
"Resilient children," refers to their capacity to achieve positive outcomes despite stress and adversity. Learn more about the "Resilient children" theory.
Five Step Systems
The DECA I/T program encourages authentic partnerships between early childhood providers and families. Learn more about these partnerships.
Be sure to read our Insights and Inspirations article for a list of guidelines you can use when choosing an infant-toddler assessment.