A solid Applied Behavior Analysis treatment plan should be based on a standardized assessment of your child’s skills and behaviors. Ask your child’s Board Certified Behavior Analyst why they chose the assessment tools they did and how they are being used to measure your child’s progress! The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP), assesses the developmental milestones a child would typically demonstrate in social, language and learning domains by the age of four. A VB-MAPP assessment allows providers to accurately get a starting measure of a child’s abilities, and helps to identify potential barriers to learning that may come up in therapy.
The VB-MAPP breaks milestones down into three different levels of typical development (0-18 months, 18-30 months, and 30-48 months). This is helpful in making sure that a solid foundation of skills is built before advancing to more complex goals. An initial assessment may test areas of requesting, labeling, following directions, conversation skills, play and social skills, visual perception, motor imitation, and even pre-academic and group learning skills. Your child’s initial score and results will inform the goals outlined in their treatment plan. Reassessments over time will show areas of growth, as well as skills that need additional focus.
Another commonly used assessment is the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (Vineland-3). The Vineland-3 focuses on adaptive behavior of children, including their ability to learn new skills, demonstrate independence, and cope with environmental changes. The test measures five different domains including communication, daily living, socialization, motor skills and maladaptive behaviors. Typically, a parent or caregiver/teacher will complete this assessment based on what they see the child doing in day to day life.
The combination of both of these assessments can provide a Behavior Analyst with an accurate picture of the skills the child has upon starting therapy, act as a road map and guide for appropriate areas to target in treatment, and reflect the growth and progress your child is making over time. Instruction and programs should be meaningful and thoughtfully chosen, and progress should be reflected both on assessment scores as well as in what parents and caregivers see their child doing every day!
Are you concerned about your child’s development? Do you think your child might be showing signs of autism? The M-CHAT is a parent-screening tool intended for children 16 to 30 months of age that helps identify children who should be referred for a more thorough autism evaluation.