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Evaluation of Social Interaction (ESI)

The Evaluation of Social Interaction (ESI) is a dynamic observational instrument used by occupational therapists to evaluate a person’s quality of social interaction during natural social exchanges with typical social partners. It can be used with any person of any age with or without a disability where the person has difficulties with social interactions. It can also be used alongside the AMPS to complement the identification of a person's level of motor, process and social interaction skill. It can help the occupational therapist answer the following questions:

  • What is this person's quality of social interaction? (a criterion-referenced interpretation)
  • How does the quality of this person's social interaction compare with healthy, well persons of the same age? (a norm-referenced interpretation)
  • Which social interaction performance skills are most impacting this person's occupational performance?
  • What is the best focus of planned intervention intended to improve quality of social interaction?
  • Has there been a change in this person's quality of social interaction performance since the last ESI evaluation?

The Evaluation of Social Interaction (ESI) provides a tool that:

  • Can be used to evaluate persons with any level of social interaction
  • Is standardized on persons 2 years of age through older adulthood
  • Is based on criterion-based scoring, and both criterion- and norm-based interpretation
  • Is developed and standardized using Rasch measurement methods
  • Has strong evidence for internal scale validity and reliability

The 3-day training workshop provides critical information related to the theoretical basis of the ESI as well as experiential learning of administering and scoring ESI evaluations. Participants obtain valuable, hands-on information regarding occupation-based assessment and intervention, as well as viewing and scoring videotaped and live ESI observations during the course. Rater calibration is required following the 3-day course, potential ESI raters must complete 10 live observations after the course and submit these data for rater calibration. Rater calibration allows each rater’s severity to be determined and whether or not he or she is scoring the ESI in a reliable manner.

After taking an ESI training course, participants have often commented that they have finally found their niche, their unique occupation-based role, within the rehabilitation team. With the new skills and insights they developed during the course, their confidence is enhanced, and they are more capable and proactive advocates for occupational therapy and the use of occupation as both a means and an end when providing occupational therapy services.