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Boston College Campus School

Cognitive Milestones Research Project

boston college campus school

In 2006, the Boston College Campus School began participation in Dr. Susan Bruce's research study, "Applying a Transdisciplinary Approach to the Assessment and Systematic Instruction of Pivotal Milestones." The study focuses on the experience of children with severe disabilities in achieving the following pivotal developmental milestones: object permanence, joint attention, imitation, means-end, self-recognition, and discrimination categorization. These milestones are considered “pivotal” because of their importance in cognitive, social, and language development.

Teachers, paraprofessionals, and related service professionals participate in both the assessment and instruction phases of the research study, which applies a transdisciplinary approach to systematic instruction. Dr. Bruce has developed structured informal assessment tools for each of the milestones, and the research team is currently analyzing ten commercial assessment tools for their coverage of these same milestones.

Using the research base on instructing these milestones, as well as the new assessment tools as the foundation for lesson plans, the study aims to support children in achieving these pivotal milestones, as well as positively affecting development in other areas of learning.