Full Spectrum Applied Behavior Assessments
To identify the root causes of challenging behaviors in children or adolescents on the autism spectrum, we use language and behavior assessments. This well-established approach has been demonstrated effective by empirical research and extensive experience. Based on the information from these assessments, our Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) will select appropriate interventions and design an individualized treatment plan that works for both your child and your schedule. Our consultants will also help you implement the treatment plan.
We begin by extensively evaluating your child’s current communication skills, barriers to communication, and his or her pre-academic, social and self-help skills. The information we gather forms the basis for your child’s individualized treatment plan.
- Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2) – The ADOS-2 is a semi-structured, standardized assessment of communication, social interaction, play, and restricted and repetitive behaviors. This revision improves an instrument already viewed as “the gold standard” for observational assessment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related disorders. The ADOS-2 is used to both measure skill level and provide medical diagnosis.
- Autism Diagnostic Interview, Revised (ADI-R) – The ADI-R is a comprehensive interview, which provides a thorough assessment of individuals suspected of having autism or other related disorders. The ADI-R has proven highly useful for formal diagnosis as well as treatment and educational planning. The administration of this instrument with the parent(s) by a trained professional ensures that parents have been a part of the evaluative process.
- Basic Language Assessment (BLA)—This pre-screening tool helps determine where a language program should begin. Distinct from standardized language assessments, the Basic Language Assessment is designed for children with a limited vocabulary (100 words or less) and covers a variety of early language skills and related areas.
- Preference Assessment—We use the preference assessment to identify behavioral reinforcement mechanisms and pinpoint environments where these mechanisms are most powerful. To start, we closely observe your child to identify high preference items and then we prioritize those items by presenting them to your child for selection. We use these items as a means to reinforce positive behavior. As your child’s preferences change, we update the preference assessment. Preference assessments are valuable because they help us form hypotheses about the relationship between behavior and the environment. They also provide information about the function of behavior, help identify reinforcement mechanisms and foster proactive, positive interventions.
- Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)—This assessment helps us uncover the function or purpose that a challenging behavior serves for your child, including attention, escape/avoidance, etc. In other words, we help determine why your child is displaying challenging behaviors. Once these behaviors are identified, we can identify replacement behaviors that serve the same function. Gradually, your child will learn that challenging behavior is no longer successful at meeting a goal.
- Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills—Revised (ABLLS-R)—This assessment measures your child’s skill level across a variety of benchmarks known to be deficit areas for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). These include response to reinforcement, visual performance, receptive/expressive communication, imitation, social, play and group responding. This assessment may also be used as an interview tool for caregivers. Additionally, our Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) may also directly observe your child completing the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS-R) tasks. This assessment is used to develop individualized program goals based on each child’s current functional skill level. Administered annually or biannually, it serves as a benchmark to gauge the progress your child is making in targeted skill areas.
- Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP)—This assessment is based on Dr. B.F. Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior and the typical verbal development of children without Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). It measures your child’s performance on several communication, language, and social skills benchmarks and gives an approximate developmental age for each skill. This information is useful in determining individualized goals and objectives. The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) also includes a Barriers Assessment that identifies behavioral challenges, and a Transition Assessment that helps the team determine the least restrictive environment for learning to take place. Administered annually or biannually, the VB-MAPP serves as a benchmark to gauge the progress your child is making in targeted skill areas.
- Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, Second Edition – All Vineland-II forms aid in diagnosing and classifying intellectual and developmental disabilities and other disorders, such as autism, Asperger Syndrome, and developmental delays. The scales of the Vineland II were organized within a three-domain structure: Communication, Daily Living, and Socialization. This structure corresponds to the three broad domains of adaptive functioning by the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Conceptual, Practical, and Social. In addition, Vineland-II offers a Motor Skills Domain and an optional Maladaptive Behavior Index to provide more in-depth information about your clients.
Creating the Behavioral Treatment Plan
After your child is assessed, our Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) will create an individual treatment plan. The plan is implemented by a skilled behavior technician, who is supervised by a CARE consultant. The behavior technician also collects data to evaluate the plan’s effectiveness. We set up a feedback loop based on ongoing data evaluation and periodic assessments, so that your child’s plan can be modified to ensure the intervention is maximally effective. This is particularly important in cases where a child does not show progress in any of the plan’s elements.
Treatment plan elements may include, but are not limited to:
- Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Principles
- Verbal Behavior
- Discrete Trials Training
- Incidental Teaching
- Positive Behavior Support
- Errorless Teaching
- Fluency Building
- Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
- Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH)