Measuring Early Communication in Students with Autism

Measuring Early Communication in Students with Autism (MECSA) project builds upon previous research involving the Communication Complexity Scale (CCS). The CCS was developed by Dr. Nancy Brady and colleagues. The scale looks at communication development from pre-intentional to intentional symbolic communication. Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, the MECSA project partners with regional school districts to expand the use of the CCS by testing its applicability to naturalistic classroom settings. By getting ongoing feedback from school partners, the project aims to develop ways in which the CCS can be adapted for use by educators in order to better meet the assessment needs of minimally verbal students with autism.


Overview of the CCS:

The Communication Complexity Scale (CCS) is a 12-point scale that can be used to describe how a student with minimally verbal skills communicates. The term “minimal verbal skills” is used to describe expressive communication that includes preintentional behaviors (such as gestures, eye gaze, and non-speech vocalizations), intentional communication acts and some symbolic communication including single words spoken, signed or selected in a graphic mode. There is no lower limit. The scale describes the complexity of specific communication behaviors observed, and summary scores can characterize the overall communication level across the observation. The CCS can be used to measure early communication in scripted and naturalistic (e.g., classroom and parent/child interactions) settings.  

CCS Trainings Are Avalible and Include: 

-In-person or virtual trainings typically require  1 and 1/2 days.

-Eleven online modules that are viewed ahead of the in-person or virtual training (approximately 9 hours to complete).

-An additional 7 modules on coding in naturalistic settings (approximately 3 hours to complete)

-Follow up training activities required for becoming research reliable in administration of the scripted play assessment or CCS scoring (additional cost)

-Please contact us for further information




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Measuring Early Communication in Students with Autism
Dole Human Development Center
1052 Dole, 1000 Sunnyside Avenue
Lawrence, KS 66045 | 785-864-1153

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