TIPS for BDI-2 Screening Test

Tip Sheet for BDI-2 Screener 

Below are items from the BDI-2 Screening Test which often present difficulty and inconsistency in administration and/or scoring. 

Adaptive Domain

ST 8:       Removes his or her shoes without assistance. (Structured or Interview)

The child must use their hands to remove the footwear; not just kick off shoes.  Parent must observe untying and/or unfastening straps, Velcro, or laces.  *flip flops are not considered for scoring.

Scoring:  90% of the time or more = Score 2; Sometimes = Score 1;  <10% (rarely or never) Score = 0.


ST 13:    Chooses the appropriate utensil for the food he or she is eating. (Structured)

This is a “STRUCTURED” item and must be administered as per manual to the child.

Scoring: 6 situations = 2; 4 or 5 situations = 1; 3 or fewer = 0

ST 19:  Goes to bed without assistance. (Interview)

Only source = parent/caregiver in home.  Contact for reliable response.  (Nighttime routines, excludes naptime)

Scoring:  Without Assistance = 2.  With some assistance = 1.  With a great deal of assistance = 0.

 Personal-Social Domain

ST 24:    The child is aware of his or her feet. (Observation or Interview)

The child must be observed lying quietly and playing with their feet, but at age 2 years to 2 years 5 months many children may have stopped doing this. Other examples might include taking their shoes off or participating in nursery rhymes like ‘This Little Piggy’ using feet, or the receptive domain item RC 15 ‘show me your foot’    

Scoring:  90% of the time or more = Score 2; Sometimes = Score 1;  <10% (rarely or never) Score = 0.

ST 28:  The child initiates social contact with peers in play(Observation or Interview)

‘Initiates’ can be a light touch/tap/tug, offering a toy, etc. It doesn’t have to be verbal. It must be WITHOUT caregiver or teacher prompting to be scored a 2.

See Manual for Scoring.  


Communication Domain

ST 43:    Responds to different tones of voice. (Structured or Interview)

Scoring:  Hesitates or stops when told in a firm voice NO = 2. Hesitates but continues to move toward toy = 1. Does not hesitate or stop = 0.

ST 45:  Identifies family members or pets when named. (Structured or Interview)

“Where is ______?” Person/pet 5 feet away.  Repeat question 2 times.  Child must look at, turn head, or point.  Total of three trials.

Scoring:  All 3 trials = 2.  Two trials = 1.  One or zero trials = 0.


 ST 49:  Responds to the prepositions out and on. (Structured)

Child is seated; place the ring and the sheet of paper 5 inches apart in front of the child.  Place the small toy in the ring.  DO NOT USE GESTURES when you give the instructions:

“The ___(toy) wants to get out of the ring, take the _____ out of the ring.”   Pause

When the child responds say “The ____ wants to be on the paper; put the _____ on the paper.”

Each request is a pass or fail.  Scoring:  Two requests = 2.  One requests = 1.  Zero requests = 0


ST 50:  Uses 2-word utterances to express meaningful relationships. (Observation or Interview)

Examples of spontaneous 2-word utterances:  more milk, no car, pretty dress, big ball, where go.

Scoring:  4 or more instances = 2; two or three instances = 1; one or zero instances = 0.


ST 59:  Recalls events from a story presented orally.  (Structured)

Child can respond orally or point to the correct picture.   Must use the story from the manual.

Scoring: All 3 questions = 2; Two questions = 1; One or zero questions – 0.


Motor Domain

ST 62:  Holds hands in an open, loose-fisted position when not grasping and object. (Observation)

 ST 64:  Transfers an object from one hand to the other.  (Structured)

Position the child either lying on his or her back or in a sitting position with support, if necessary. Place one cube in the child’s hand and then present a second cube to the child’s same hand. The child should pass the first cube to the other hand so that he or she can take the second cube. If the child correctly transfers the cube, present a third cube to encourage another transfer. Repeat this procedure one time if the child does not make two transfers in the first trial.

Scoring:  2 times = Score 2; 1 time = Score 1; 0 times = Score 0.

 ST 68:  Removes forms from a form board. (Structured)

Place the circle and the square in the form board. Say, “Watch me.”

Demonstrate removing the forms from the form board and placing them on the table between the child and the form board. Then place them in the form board again and say, “Now you do it. Take them out.”


If the child does not respond, repeat the demonstration one more time.

Scoring:  2 forms = Score 2; 1 form = Score 1;  0 forms or dumps forms out or does not respond= Score 0.

ST 70:  Scribbles linear and/or circular patterns spontaneously.  (Observation or Interview)

Not a structured item, but the materials should be provided and see what the child does with them.

Check manual for scoring.

ST 71:  Walks forward 2 or more steps on a line on the floor, alternating feet. (Structured)

Make the line on the floor out of reach of supporting objects. Demonstrate how to walk the length of the line, alternating feet, and say,

“Watch what I am doing. I am walking on this line without falling off. Now you walk on the line like I did. See how far you can walk on the line without falling off. Try it.”

If the child doesn’t respond, repeat the demonstration one more time before beginning the trials. Allow 2 trials.

The child’s feet only need to touch the line.

Scoring:  2 or more steps, alternating feet, in one or more trials = Score 2; 1 step in one or more trial = Score 1; 0 steps = Score 0.

ST 74:  Folds a sheet of paper. (Structured)

Show the child the half sheet of paper and say,

“Watch what I do. I’m going to make a little book with this paper. See? I fold it over this way and then press it down like this to make a little book.”

Show the child the folded paper. Then give the child another sheet of paper and say,

“Now you make a book just like mine. Here is your paper.”

Leave the folded demonstration paper exposed as the child folds his or her paper. If the child makes no attempt to fold the paper, repeat the demonstration and instructions. Allow three trials. Discontinue after three consecutive failures.

Scoring:  Give credit if the child continues to fold the paper, making two or three folds, instead of just one. The child does not need to fold the paper exactly in half. The child may fold the paper lengthwise or crosswise.

 Cognitive Domain

ST 81:    Visually attends to a light source moving in a 180-degree arc. (Structured)

The testing room should be dimly lit. Place the child on his or her back. Attract the child’s visual attention by placing the light approximately 6 to 8 inches in front of his or her face. Move the light to the child’s side, then back over the child in a half circle to the other side. Take about 5 to 7 seconds to complete this movement. If the child’s eyes move away from the light, place the light back in front of his or her eyes and continue making the half circle. Do not shine the light directly into the child’s eyes. (Do not attempt to score if child is sleeping.)

Make three attempts to recapture the child’s attention. Observe the child’s head and eye

Scoring:  Follows continuously with both eyes and head = Score 2; Follows partially with eyes or head = Score 1; Does not respond = Score 0.

 ST 82:    Turns his or her eyes toward a light source. (Structured)

The light should be approximately 15 to 16 inches from the midline of the child’s body. Take about 7 seconds to move from the surface level to a point next to your face. Repeat this procedure three more times. After moving the light up from one side, move it up from the other side. Repeat this procedure three more times. Note whether the child turns his or her eyes to look at the light and the location of the light when the child looks at it. Do not shine the light directly into the child’s eyes. (Do not attempt to score if child is sleeping.)    Check manual for scoring

ST 85:  Attends to a game of peekaboo for 1 minute. (Structured)

Note: Peekaboo may be a culture-specific name for this game. If the parent uses a different name for this game, that name should be used for this item.  If necessary, repeat this item throughout the test administration.

Scoring:  1 minute = Score 2; 30-59 seconds = Score 1;  29 or fewer seconds, or the child doesn’t need to be respond = Score 0.

ST 86:  Uncovers a hidden toy.   (Structured)

MUST use the cups (not see through)  from the kit along with a small quiet toy that fits under the cup. Score on frequency. Do not give credit if the child removes the cup accidentally, moves the cup by random arm movements, or becomes interested in the cup rather than the toy. The child does not need to secure the toy.

Check manual for scoring.

ST 88:  Imitates simple facial gestures.  (Structured)

If it is more comfortable for the child, the parent or caregiver may administer the stimulus on this item. Slowly make facial movements, such as moving your tongue in and out, moving your tongue in a circle on your lips, opening and closing your mouth, raising and lowering your eyebrows, or smiling.

Scoring:  Interacts for 30 seconds or more and imitates at least 1 facial gesture = Score 2; Attends to but does not imitate = Score 1; Does not attend to or imitate = Score 0.

ST 89:  Finds an object hidden under one of two cups.  (Structured)

Presentation of the item must be in correct order:  Child’s right/left/right/left

Scoring:  4 presentations = Score 2; 3 presentations = Score 1; 2 or fewer presentations  = Score 0.

ST 90:  Nests objects inside one another.  (Structured or Observation)

Nesting of objects must be in sequential order.

Scoring:  5 cups = Score 2; 4 or 3 cups = Score 1; 2 or fewer cups = Score 0.