Recently, strength-based assessment has garnered considerable support in education, mental health, family services, and other social services (e.g., Dunst, Trivette, & Deal, 1994; Nelson & Pearson, 1991). Strength-based assessment has been defined, " as the measurement of those emotional and behavioral skills, competencies, and characteristics that create a sense of personal accomplishment; contribute to satisfying relationships with family members, peers, and adults; enhance ones ability to deal with adversity and stress; and promote ones personal, social, and academic development" (Epstein & Sharma, 1998, p. 3.). Strength-based assessment is based on a set of core beliefs:
1. All children have strengths.
2. A childs motivation may be enhanced when the adults around him/her point out their strengths.
3. Failure of a child to acquire a skill does not mean a deficit; instead it indicates that a child has not been afforded the experiences and instruction to master the skill.
4. The goals, objectives, and services included in Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and family service plans need to be based on the strengths of the child and family.Next Section
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