Baby Toolbox

Contains more than 30 assessments of Cognition, Motor, and Social-Emotional domains in one iPad app. Our valid, reliable, and norm-referenced measures allow for assessment of children throughout infancy and early childhood (ages 0 to 42 months).


In response to demand for a more portable assessment system, Version 2 of the NIH Toolbox launched to researchers and clinicians on the App Store for iPad.


The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development awarded the NIH Baby Toolbox contract to Northwestern University using NIH Blueprint funds. Dr. Richard Gershon, Principal Investigator, and a team of 48 researchers started work to develop a brief, standardized assessment of neuropsychological, cognitive and social assessment of infants and toddlers ages 1-42 months.


NIH Baby Toolbox began early validation.


Collected validation and normative data for the NIH Baby Toolbox tests aligned with the 
U.S. Census.


The analytics team for the NIH Baby Toolbox is developing scores and norms for the iPad-based tests. Public release is expected in the second half of 2024.


Cognition refers to the mental processes involved in attention, executive functioning, gaining knowledge, and comprehension, such as thinking, knowing, remembering, judging, and problem solving.

Through gaze-based and touch-based tasks on the iPad, behavioral observation, and parent report, the NIH Baby Toolbox Cognition domain produces individual measure-level scores and composite scores. Supplemental tests are not used in the calculation of composites but can be administered to better understand the participant’s cognitive functioning.

Cognition Tests

Social-Emotional Functioning

Social-Emotional functioning refers to the social competencies related to the perception/recognition of others, social responsiveness/reciprocity, positive social interactions and communication, and relationships with adults and peers. It also covers the experience, expression, and management of any strong feelings (i.e., emotions), such as excitement, fear, or anger.

Early social-emotional functioning is foundational for lifelong health and well-being. Social-Emotional functioning is assessed in the NIH Baby Toolbox through behavioral observation and parent proxy report.

Social-Emotional Functioning Tests

Motor Functioning

Motor function involves complex physiological processes and requires the integration of multiple systems, including neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, neural motor and sensory-perceptual systems.

The NIH Baby Toolbox motor measures assess both Fine Motor and Gross Motor abilities.

Motor Functioning Tests

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