EMI Administration Guidelines

Administering an IGDI assessment involves conducting a 6-minute play session with the child and a familiar adult who is the play partner.  Play focuses on the toys that are standardized for each IGDI measure.  The session should take place in a relatively sheltered, but convenient, setting with few distractions.  Use the EMI Administration Checklist to ensure sessions are administered with fidelity.

Two options for administering the EMI:

  • Live Scoring.  One adult, familiar to the child, serves as the play partner while a second adult is present and codes the appropriate IGDI key skills during the 6 minute play session.  The adult who is playing with the child during the assessment CANNOT live score while they are playing with the child.
  • Video Scoring. One adult, familiar to the child, sets up and videotapes (or someone else videotapes) the session for later scoring of the IGDI key skills during the 6 minute play session.

Using either option, the assessor must time the session to ensure it lasts for exactly 6 minutes.

During the play session, the play partner follows the child’s lead and comments on the child’s actions to encourage the child’s movement.  Re-direct the child only if they cease to move by sitting and seemingly ignore play with the toys provided.

Download the assessment forms and checklists from the EMI Forms page.

Play Toys/Materials Needed

The Pop up Enclosure with Balls and the Blocks with Balls are the “standard” play toys for the EMI.  All normative data used for decision making represent children’s movement with these two toys.  The toys can be purchased at local toy stores or from internet sites.  See the EMI toys page for links to purchase online.

General Set Up for an EMI Assessment

The familiar adult and child stand or sit in an area that is comfortable enough where there is room to move and play.  Infants and children who need extra support can be placed in a chair or seated but supported on the floor.  Make sure the child’s feet, head, and neck are supported as needed during the six-minute session.

Alternate toys one session to the next to maintain the child’s interest. The Individual Child Report or the child’s dashboard will indicate which toy set was used the previous EMI.  The toys should be set up and ready prior to bringing the child into the assessment.  Place either the Blocks and Balls or Pop Up Enclosure with Balls so that the toys are within reach of the child.

Video Camera Set Up

If the EMI session is to be video recorded, there are several things to keep in mind.

  • The camera view and sound quality affect later scoring accuracy.
  • Make sure the camera is set up to take in the entire assessment area where the child might be moving around.  That way any movements the child makes can be seen for later scoring.
  • If there is someone recording the session, they may have to move as the child moves during the 6 minutes.
  • The person recording the assessment should ideally have no interaction with the play partner or child during the 6 minute assessment.  They should not ask questions, nor give comments or suggestions to the play partner or child during those 6 minutes.
  • The start and stop times of the 6 minutes should be clearly marked for scoring later (say ‘start’ and ‘stop’, or the play partner makes a visual cue when the timer has started and stopped).
  • If the assessment needs to be paused, say “pause” and pause the timer, then say  “resume” so that the coder knows when to start/stop scoring.

Becoming a Familiar Play Partner (Warm Up Sessions)

It is always recommended to use a familiar adult as the play partner.  If a play partner unfamiliar to the child needs to be the play partner, spend some time with the child in their classroom/home settings where you plan to conduct the EMI assessment.  Ask to join in the child’s play when a familiar caregiver is present and engaging the child.  Once the child is willing to join you in play alone, let the child know that you are going to play with some toys as you start the EMI with them.

Adult Play Partner Checklist

The EMI Administration Checklist provides information on being a play partner.  Some important things to remember:

  • Play partner and child are positioned so that they are in proximity and can see each other
  • Play partner and child can see and reach toys
  • Play partner follows child’s lead (is not too directive)
  • Play partner comments about what the child is doing
  • Play partner interacts in a non-directive, friendly manner
  • Play partner uses questions sparingly
  • At the end of the session, play partner lets child know that the session is over
  • At the end of the session, play partner thanks the child for playing

Children from Bilingual Families

  • Play partner MUST be able to speak and understand the child’s primary language
  • Follow standard administration protocol
  • Communicate with the child in his/her primary language

Accommodations for Children with Physical and/or Sensory Impairments

  • Move toys closer to child
  • Introduce toys to the child allowing him/her to touch and manipulate
  • Position child in manner that allows best access
  • Adult provides physical guidance as needed for child to contact the toys
  • Orient (re-orient) child toward toys as needed
  • Provide verbal comments on what is happening as needed
  • Tell and show the child where you have placed toys