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Functional Emotional Assessment Scale (FEAS)

Research on the FEAS: Test Development, Reliability, and Validity Studies
Georgia A. DeGangi, Ph.D., OTR and Stanley I. Greenspan, M.D.

The Functional Emotional Assessment Scale (FEAS) was developed as a criterion-referenced instrument for children ranging in age from 7 months through 4 years of age. It was designed to measure emotional functioning in children with constitutional- and maturation-based problems (e.g., regulatory disorders), children with interactional problems leading to a variety of symptoms such as anxiety, impulsivity, depression, etc., and children with pervasive developmental difficulties. This includes children who experience constitutional or developmental maturational problems, such as those with regulatory disorders or pervasive developmental disorder, as well as caregivers and children with relational problems, such as attachment disorders, or children from multi-problem families with a variety of interactional difficulties (e.g., anxiety, depression, impulsivity, etc.). The FEAS provides a systematic assessment of the child and caregiver’s functional emotional capacities. For infants and young children, these capacities include the child’s ability to organize play interactions with objects and persons, to self-regulate mood and organize attention, to form an attachment with the caregiver, to engage in reciprocal emotional interactions and communications, and to represent feelings and ideas and engage in emotional thinking through play interactions. Caregiver behaviors are evaluated in relation to their capacity to support their child’s development in each of these areas.

The FEAS is intended for use to profile social-emotional functioning in infants and young children. As will be seen in chapter 5, it distinguishes between the child with a high-risk profile of emotional functioning and those without problems, as well as between different types of problems.

The FEAS is listed by The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC), Office of Special Education programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education, as one of the five social-emotional assessment instruments to be completed by professionals.

  • Ringwalt, S. (2008). Developmental Screening and Assessment Instruments with an emphasis on social and emotional development for young children ages birth through five. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, FPG Child Development Institute, National Early Childhoos Technical Assistance Center. Download publication