Assessment of children, young people and adults with developmental communication needs

City Law School and IfJ joint CPD Courses

Event details


2 Mar 2023
9 Mar 2023


Thursday 2nd March
Thursday 9th March
Registration: 09:15


Zoom Online
United Kingdom

Event Fees

2-day course £ 280.00

Booking info

Max participants: 20

Course facilitator(s): Susan Stewart, Catherine Chamberlain, and guest speaker, Kev Smith

Course facilitator(s) bio: Susan and Catherine are Registered Intermediaries and Speech and Language Therapists each with +20 years of experience in assessing the communication skills of children and young people.

Course requirements: IfJ Member

Who is this course for: Both experienced and newly qualified intermediaries are welcome.

This course explores the rationale underpinning intermediary assessment and describes an intermediary assessment framework; illustrated by practical assessment examples.

(NB The course will not cover the assessment of adults with acquired or progressive conditions, those with a primary mental health difficulty or remote assessments.)

Course aims/objectives:

Participants will

  1. Understand police expectations of registered intermediary assessment
  2. Consider the different purposes of intermediary assessment
  3. Explore an intermediary assessment framework with shared practical examples
  4. Appreciate the different language and social communication skills needed for the police interview vs court situations
  5. Explore the difference in language and social communication skills needed for different allegations (for example assault vs neglect)
  6. Be aware of sources of existing informal language assessments
  7. Consider ways to feedback assessment findings to the interviewing officer to support interview planning

Course content:

The course explores the rationale underpinning intermediary assessment and describes an intermediary assessment framework; illustrated by practical assessment examples. It includes five workshops:

Workshop 1: The police perspective of intermediary assessment (Kev Smith)

  • Officer's expectations of RI assessment
  • Levels of officer involvement in the assessment
  • RI feedback of assessment findings with officers.
  • What is an interview plan and what is its relationship to a victim and witness strategy?

Workshop 2: The purpose, manner and thinking behind intermediary assessment

  • Initiating the assessment process
  • Establishing a safe space and sense of trust in us as professionals (Stephen Porges’ Polyvagal theory). Rapport. Normalising difficulties.
  • Engagement: attention levels, pace required, venue familiarisation, trauma and/or attachment
  • Assessment of communication and emotional regulation skills of the vulnerable person
  • Identifying appropriate communication aids and strategies
  • Assessing the communication skills of the interviewing officer
  • Awareness of the signs of emotional dysregulation and trauma, and knowledge for how to manage this (what to do immediately, asking about suicidal ideation/self-harming and strategies they have to cope)
  • Assessment of intermediary’s emotional needs to reduce vicarious trauma
  • Selecting the language areas needed for the particular allegation with regard to developmental expectations
  • Interview vs court: key language and social communication skills needed for each domain
  • Preparation for the interview rules
  • Providing an opportunity for narrative familiarisation for non-offence related events
  • Establishing familiarity with both visual supports and the structure of the interview
  • Preparing the witness for the change in RI communication for the interview
  • The process of giving IO feedback from the assessment and how this can be effective and practical

Workshop 3: An intermediary assessment framework

  • Developmental assessment topics and skills, and examples of how we can assess these
  • Strategies we may try in assess if a witness lacks the required specific skill in each topic
  • Case examples (child, teen and adult) to highlight how assess is adjusted
  • Developmental considerations: What we don’t assess because it’s not expected
  • Discussion re body part assessment: when and how this can be done
  • Links to published informal activities as possible sources
  • Sharing visual supports

Workshop 4: Providing assessment feedback to officer

  • How to be effective: timing, format and amount
  • Implications of assessment findings
  • Interview planning

Workshop 5: Tailoring assessments to investigation needs

  • Neglect: key definition as an act of omission
  • Physical vs emotional neglect
  • The 7 areas of development children need and effective parenting (Working together to safeguard children 2018)
  • Impact of normalisation on insight and the interview
  • Language demands for an interview regarding possible neglect
  • Vulnerable defendant assessment

Course method:
We are aiming this course at both newly qualified intermediaries and experienced intermediaries who may wish to reflect on their practice and share experiences of assessment. The course is interactive and discursive; with a philosophy of learning from each other. We encourage a sharing of information to collectively improve understanding and learning.

We follow IfJ’s template for small group online trainings and seek to take into account different learning styles. We will endeavor to ensure that learning is accessible to all. We will consider any requirement for pre-course reading and we will seek feedback after the course.

We will provide the following materials:

  • Pre-registration participant questionnaire
  • Timetable for the course dates
  • Slides from the day (available a week before the course)
  • Handout information regarding some areas of child language development relating to criminal justice situations
  • References for information that the course is based on.

Additional details:

- Participants to log on 15 minutes prior to start of each session.

- It is required that all participants keep their cameras on throughout the workshop.

- Participants to complete pre-course questionnaire, short activity prior to day 2 and the online feedback form post workshop.

Cancellation Policy

If you cancel your booking with 14 or more days notice, you will receive a full refund minus a £15 admin charge. If you cancel your booking with less than 48 hours' notice, we are unfortunately unable to offer a refund. However, you may substitute another delegate or transfer to another course by giving IfJ at least 24 hours’ notice.

In exceptional circumstances IfJ reserve the right to issue a full refund. Please inform us at the time of cancellation of your particular reason for cancelling. If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please do so by emailing:

We will endeavour to respond to all cancellation requests within two working days. Refunds will be made using the same method of payment as you used for the purchase and will be paid within seven days of refund confirmation.

Places are limited to a maximum of 20 participants. There is a minimum requirement of 12 participants. If the minimum number is not met, IfJ reserve the right to cancel the course with at least two weeks' notice and a full refund will be issued.