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

City Law School and IfJ joint CPD Courses

Event details


20 May 2021
27 May 2021


20th May 2021 - 9.30am - 4.30pm
27th May 2021 - 9.30am - 4.30pm


Zoom Online
United Kingdom

Event Fees

IfJ Member £ 120.00

Booking info

Max participants: 20

Course facilitator(s): Susan Stewart, Catherine Chamberlain, 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 Full Members

Who is this course for: IfJ Full Members. 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 dates and times:

20th May 2021, 9.30am-4.30pm
27th May 2021, 9.30am-4.30pm
Registration 9.15am

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:

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 online feedback form post workshop.

Cancellation Policy

If you wish to cancel your booking 30 or more days before the start date, you have the option of receiving a full refund minus an admin charge of £15. If you wish to cancel with less than 14 days notice, you have the option of receiving a credit note for another course minus an admin charge of £15. If you are unable to attend the CPD SIG you may substitute another delegate by giving IfJ 24 hours’ notice - please email In exceptional circumstances IfJ reserve the right the issue a full refund. Please inform IfJ at the time of cancellation of your particular reason for cancelling. If you wish to cancel your booking please do so by emailing: We will endeavour to respond to all cancellation requests within 2 working days. Refunds will be made using the same method of payment as you used for the purchase and will be paid within 7 days of you informing us of the cancellation. If you are unable to attend the course you may substitute another delegate by giving IfJ 24 hours’ notice - please email Places are limited to a maximum of 20 participants. There is a minimum number of participants required to make the course viable. If the minimum number is not met, the course will be cancelled with a week’s notice and participants informed.