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Sunday 21 Jan 2018

For Educators

Getting Started

Whether you’re a special education teacher, general education teacher or a private provider, you will find the tools and tips found here useful in your with individuals with autism of all ages. The topics covered include:

A fantastic resource for all teachers of students with autism and other disabilities is Applied Behavior Analysis for Teachers. Some of the information here was adapted from this text.

Tools for Assessing Students

There are a variety of assessment tools out there for individuals with autism, but the most valuable assessment tools are those ones which are formative. This means that the results of the assessment directly guide instruction. Here are some of the most widely used and valuable assessments available:

ABLLS-R: The Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills-Revised

The ABLLS assesses the strengths and weaknesses of an individual in each of 25 skill sets. Each skill set is broken down into multiple skills, ordered by typical development or complexity. The ABLLS was developed based on principles from B. F. Skinner’s book Verbal Behavior. Verbal behavior states that language can be treated as a behavior like any other. This behavior can be broken down into smaller and smaller components, which can be used to track deficits and strengths in a child’s language or social abilities.

Skill Sets:

  • Cooperation & Reinforcer Effectiveness: How well a child responds to motivation and others
  • Visual Performance: The ability to interpret things visually, such as pictures and puzzles
  • Receptive Language: The ability to understand language
  • Motor Imitation: Being able to mimic the physical actions of others
  • Vocal Imitation: Being able to mimic the sounds and words others make. Also called Echoic in ABA
  • Requests: Also called Manding in ABA
  • Labeling: Naming objects, or their features, functions, or classes
  • Intraverbals: Responding to only the stimulus of words without objects/motivators present
  • Spontaneous Vocalizations: Using language without being prompted
  • Syntax and Grammar: How well words and sentences are put together
  • Play and Leisure: Solitary and group play skills
  • Social Interaction: Abilities regarding interaction with peers and adults
  • Group Instruction: Ability to learn in a group setting (not just one-on-one)
  • Classroom Routines: Ability to follow rules and common school routines
  • Generalized Responding: The ability to generalize material learned and use it in real-life or novel situations
  • Reading: Alphabet, pre-reading, and reading skills
  • Math: Numbers, counting, less-more-equal, basic addition and subtraction
  • Writing: Coloring, drawing, copying, and writing skills
  • Spelling
  • Dressing: Ability to dress or undress self independently
  • Eating: Basic self-help skills regarding eating and preparing of food
  • Grooming: Basic self-help skills regarding grooming and hygiene
  • Toileting: Basic self-help skills regarding toileting
  • Gross Motor Skills: Large motor activities such as: Playing ball, swinging, crawling, running, skipping, etc
  • Fine Motor Skills: Fine motor activities such as: writing, pegboard, turn pages in a book, cutting, pasting, etc

**Information from Wikipedia

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VB-MAPP: The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program
There are five components of the VB-MAPP, and collectively they provide a baseline level of performance, a direction for intervention, a system for tracking skill acquisition, a tool for outcome measures and other language research projects, and a framework for curriculum planning.

Assessment Components:

  • Milestones Assessment: Designed to provide a representative sample of a child’s existing verbal and related skills. The assessment contains 170 measurable learning and language milestones that are sequenced and balanced across 3 developmental levels (0-18 months, 18-30 months, and 30-48 months). The skills assessed include mand, tact, echoic, intraverbal, listener, motor imitation, independent play, social and social play, visual perceptual and matching-to-sample, linguistic structure, group and classroom skills, and early academics.
  • Barriers Assessment: Provides an assessment of 24 common learning and language acquisition barriers faced by children with autism or other developmental disabilities. The barriers include behavior problems, instructional control, defective mands, defective tacts, defective echoic, defective imitation, defective visual perception and matching-to-sample, defective listener skills, defective intraverbal, defective social skills, prompt dependency, scrolling, defective scanning, defective conditional discriminations, failure to generalize, weak motivators, response requirement weakens the motivators, reinforcer dependency, self-stimulation, defective articulation, obsessive-compulsive behavior, hyperactive behavior, failure to make eye contact, and sensory defensiveness.
  • Transition Assessment: Contains 18 assessment areas and can help to identify whether a child is making meaningful progress and has acquired the skills necessary for learning in a less restrictive educational environment. This assessment tool can provide a measurable way for a child’s IEP team to make decisions and set priorities in order to meet the child’s educational needs.
  • Task Analysis and Skills Tracking: Provides a further breakdown of the skills, and serves as a more complete and ongoing learning and language skills curriculum guide. There are approximately 900 skills presented covering the 16 areas of the VB-MAPP. Once the Milestones have been assessed and the general skill level has been established, the task analysis can provide further information about a particular child.
  • Placement and IEP Goals: Provides specific direction for each of the 170 milestones in the Milestones Assessment as well as suggestions for IEP goals. The placement recommendations can help the program designer balance out an intervention program, and ensure that all the relevant parts of the necessary intervention are included.

**Information from Mark Sundberg

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BCP – the Behavioral Characteristics Progression
The Behavioral Characteristics Progression (BCP) is a criterion-referenced assessment and instructional planning system for use with children and adults. As an assessment tool, the BCP provides the teacher and/or diagnostician with a comprehensive chart of pupil behaviors to assist in identifying which behavioral characteristics a pupil displays and which he does not. As an instructional tool, the BCP helps the special education teacher develop individualized and appropriate learner objectives for each pupil. As a communication tool, the BCP provides a historical recording device used throughout the schooling of the pupil to display his progress and to help communicate this information to all those concerned with the pupil’s educational program.

The BCP is a nonstandardized continuum of behaviors. It contains 2,300 observable traits referred to as behavioral characteristics. Ages and labels have been omitted and behavioral characteristics have been grouped into categories of behavior called Strands. Strands generally begin at age 1 year (skill #.01 within a Strand), and progress toward more complex characteristics. Strands generally end (e.g., skill #.50) with characteristics which approximate what society considers “appropriate” or “acceptable” adult behavior. There are seven main strands which contain a total of 56 goal areas.

Main Strands:

  • Cognition: Goal areas include attention, task completion, academic skills and reasoning
  • Language: Goal areas include auditory perception, articulation, language development and language comprehension
  • Gross Motor: Goal areas including gross motor movement, orientation, mobility and swimming
  • Fine Motor: Goal areas include sensory perception and visual-motor skills
  • Social: Goal areas include adaptive behaviors, impulse control, interpersonal relations, social speech and responsible behaviors
  • Self-Help: Goal areas include eating, drinking, toileting, grooming, dressing/undressing and hygiene
  • Vocational: Goal areas include pre-vocational skills, kitchen skills, homemaking skills and outdoor skills

**Information from VORT

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HELP Assessment
The HELP (Hawaii Early Learning Profile ages 3-6) is a comprehensive assessment tool for early childhood educators. The second edition (published in 2010) is a great tool for developing individualized goals for children. This is a curriculum-based assessment, covering Cognitive, Language, Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Social, Self-Help for working with children ages 3-6 years and their families. The assessment tool is developmentally organized which helps to identify the “next steps” in development which could be targeted for instruction. The assessment categorizes skills into 6 domains which include 47 developmentally sequenced strands.

Skill Domains:

  • Self-Regulation: Strands include problem solving, classification, attention, academic readiness, time and dramatic play
  • Language: Strands include receptive understanding, expressive vocabulary, verbal communication and sign language
  • Gross Motor: Strands include balancing/standing, walking/running, jumping, catching/throwing, bilateral play and swimming
  • Fine Motor: Strands include pre-writing, blocks/puzzles, paper activities, stringing beads and scissor skills
  • Social: Strands include responsibility, social interactions and play, social manners, social language and safety skills
  • Self-Help: Strands include dressing/undressing, eating/drinking, grooming, toileting and hygiene

**Information from VORT

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Basic Skills Checklist
This book is an easy-to-use, informal assessment tool that brings method to the madness of classroom assessment. It focuses on pre-academic, readiness, and academic skills expected from learners in the early elementary years. Author and experienced teacher Marlene Breitenbach developed these helpful checklists in special-needs and inclusive classrooms while serving children with autism and other developmental disabilities. The checklists have been used by resource teachers, special educators, mainstream teachers, and paraprofessionals. Simple, customizable charts make it easy to record children’s progress in skill areas such as basic concepts, reading/language, math, fine motor, and independence. These checklists can help educators identify current skills and problem areas, develop appropriate, realistic learning objectives, create individualized programs and monitor and measure progress over time.

Checklist Areas:

  • Basic Concepts: Includes matching, sorting, colors, shapes, body parts, categories, sequencing and prepositions
  • Reading and Language Arts: Includes alphabet skills, community signs, dictionary skills and capitalization/punctuation
  • Math: Includes number concepts, addition, subtraction, calendar, time, money and measurement
  • Fine motor: Includes functional hand skills, manipulative play, clothing management, art, writing and clerical skills
  • Independence: Includes school skills, schedule use, work skills and home/school jobs
  • Parent Checklist: Includes eating, grooming, dressing, toileting and domestic tasks

**Information from Amazon

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Reinforcer Assessment
In addition to assessing which skills need to be taught, it is of the utmost importance to assess student preferences. This will help guide you in the selection of reinforcers to be used as motivators and place those reinforcers into a preference hierarchy (i.e. which reinforcers are most preferred, slightly preferred, etc.). There are 5 steps to completing a reinforcer assessment.

Assessment Steps:

  • Collect information about the student’s preferences: Use information collected from interviews with the student’s teaching staff and care-givers–as well as results of direct observations of the student–to create a list of reinforcers that are likely to motivate the child. Possible choices might include food items, social interactions with specific people, access to toys, and preferred activities (e.g., computer time).
  • Prepare for the assessment survey: Narrow your reinforcer list to no more than 6 items or activities that can easily be obtained and given out in a classroom setting. Be sure to have these items on hand for the reinforcer assessment. Choose a time to conduct the assessment when there are no distractions in the room and you can give the student your complete attention. If necessary, use two or more sessions to complete the reinforcer assessment.
  • Allow the student to sample reinforcers: At the start of your assessment, give the child a brief opportunity to sample each reinforcer.

    * If the reinforcer is a food item, the child is given a tiny taste of the food or beverage.
    * If the reinforcer is an activity such as working on the computer, the child has 5-10 seconds to engage in the activity.
    * If the reinforcer is access to a preferred object (e.g., stuffed toy), the student has 5-10 seconds of access to the object.

  • Conduct a ‘forced-choice’ assessment (follow link above): Randomly pick 2 of the 6 choice-items, present them together in front of the student and allow the child 5-10 seconds to select one of the two. (Depending on what is most convenient, the examiner can hold choice-items in his or her hand, or display them on a table.) NOTE: the child may signal ‘choice’ by touching or picking up an item, looking fixedly at the item, pointing to the item, or engaging in any other behavior that he or she typically uses to indicate preference. If the student selects an item within the time limit, record the child’s choice. If the child fails to choose before the time expires, remove the two reinforcer choices and record that the child did not choose an item. Continue to present sets of two reinforcer choices to the child until all choices have been paired with one another. Record the child’s preferences.
  • Rank-order student preferences: Analyze the student’s choices to determine the most preferred and least preferred items. You can compute a ‘preference percentage’ for any item by: (a) calculating the number of times that the child selected item X, (b) dividing that figure by the total number of pairs in which item X appeared, and (c) multiplying the answer by 100 (See assessment worksheet).

**Information from Intervention Central

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Tools for Writing Behavioral Objectives

Before behavioral objectives can be written, we need to write educational goals based on the assessment data collected. Educational goals are usually written with an entire year in mind, in other words they are annual goals. These are statements of what you expect the student to accomplish within a year. For many students with autism, you will likely have educational goals in the areas of cognitive/academic skills, communication, motor, social, self-help, vocational, and maladaptive behavior. Each of these goals are then broken down into smaller teachable components which we call behavioral objectives. These are the steps you’re going to take to help the student attain their annual goals.

There are 4 main components of a behavioral objective: the learner, the target behavior, conditions of intervention, and criteria for acceptable performance. The learner is the person who is expected to achieve the goal. The target behavior is the observable and measurable action the learner is expected to perform. The conditions of the intervention include the specific instructions, materials and settings in which the student supposed to perform the target behavior. The criteria for acceptable performance is the numerical value associated with the target behavior which indicates that an objective has been mastered. The help illustrate how these goals and objective might be written, we’ve provided two examples below.

Educational Goal: Dawn will master basic mental math at the third-grade level.

Behavioral Objectives:

1. Given a worksheet of 20 double-digit plus single-digit addition problems in the form 24+7= and the written instruction “find the sums”, Dawn will write the answer to all problems with 90% accuracy for 3 consecutive math sessions.

2. Given a worksheet of 20 double-digit minus single-digit subtraction problems in the form 24-7= and the written instruction “find the difference”, Dawn will write the answer to all problems with 90% accuracy for 3 consecutive math sessions.

3. Given a worksheet of 20 multiplication facts (with factors ranging from 0 to 12) in the form 6×5= and the written instruction “find the product”, Dawn will write the answer to all problems with 90% accuracy for 3 consecutive math sessions.

Educational Goal: Collin will independently feed himself using a spoon.

Behavioral Objectives:

1. Given a bowl of food with a sticky consistency (i.e. pudding, oatmeal, yogurt) and the verbal instructions “use your spoon”, Collin will successfully complete all steps of the task independently on 3 out of 4 opportunities per day for 3 consecutive days.

2. Given a bowl of food with a chunky consistency (i.e. rice, beans, corn) and the verbal instructions “use your spoon”, Collin will successfully complete all steps of the task independently on 3 out of 4 opportunities per day for 3 consecutive days.

3. Given a bowl of food with a liquid consistency (i.e. broth, soup, cereal) and the verbal instructions “use your spoon”, Collin will successfully complete all steps of the task independently on 3 out of 4 opportunities per day for 3 consecutive days.

There are a few things to take into consideration when writing behavioral objectives. When planning for how you’re going to teach a skill to a student, many times you will need to look beyond their acquisition of the skill and focus on their fluent use of the skill, their maintenance of the skill and the generalization of the skill.

Fluency is the rate at which a person can perform a skill. Looking back at our example objectives above, there is no way to guarantee the skills are being performed at a reasonable rate. It could be taking Dawn an hour to complete 20 addition problems, but if she gets 90% she has technically mastered the skill. Collin may be able to independently feed himself with a spoon, but it takes him 30 minutes to eat a container of pudding. In cases like this, we will need to modify our criteria of acceptable performance to address their fluency. Here are examples of how you could modify the objectives to meet the fluency component (the modifications are in italics):

Dawn: Given a worksheet of 20 double-digit plus single-digit addition problems in the form 24+7= and the written instruction “find the sums”, Dawn will write the answer to all problems with 90% accuracy (within 20 minutes) for 3 consecutive math sessions.

Collin: Given a bowl containing 1/2 cup of food with a sticky consistency (i.e. pudding, oatmeal, yogurt) and the verbal instructions “use your spoon”, Collin will successfully complete all steps of the task independently on 3 out of 4 opportunities (within 10 minutes) per day for 3 consecutive days.

For students to maintain skills, they need to practice them on a regular basis. This doesn’t necessarily need to be written into the behavioral objectives, but it is good practice to check on a regular basis whether or not the student is still able to perform the skill. Just like with any skill that’s not practiced, even though it’s been learned it can be lost.

Programming for generalization of skills is the most important but typically most overlooked component of writing behavioral objectives. It is one thing for a student to be able to use a skill on demand, it is another to use a skill functionally under conditions different than when they learned the skill (acquisition). Depending on the student and the skill, we may consider modifying the behavioral objectives to reflect the generalization of the skill to various verbal or written instructions, materials, persons, and environments. Here are some examples of how you could add information about how these skills will be generalized to the behavioral objective:

Dawn: Given a worksheet of 20 double-digit plus single-digit addition problems in the form 24+7= and the written instruction “find the sums” (instruction generalization: “Solve these problems”, “Write the answers to these questions”), Dawn will write the answer to all problems with 90% accuracy (within 20 minutes) for 3 consecutive math sessions.

Collin: Given a bowl containing 1/2 cup of food with a sticky consistency (i.e. pudding, oatmeal, yogurt) and the verbal instructions “use your spoon” while sitting at the table at home (setting generalization: at school, at a restaurant, at a friend’s house), Collin will successfully complete all steps of the task independently on 3 out of 4 opportunities (within 10 minutes) per day for 3 consecutive days.

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Tools for Collecting and Graphing Data

There are many reasons to collect data. We can collect data to track student progress toward an objective, determine success or failure of intervention strategies, help us make informed decisions and alterations to instruction in a timely manner, and to maintain accountability for student progress. In many classrooms, “data” is many times collected in the form of pre-tests and post-tests. This is fine, but the frequency of this data is usually once a month or once a quarter which does not allow for timely decisions to be made regarding the efficacy of instruction. Take as an example a student who has tying their shoes as an educational goal. The goal is defined by a task analysis of the behavior which looks something like this:

Educational Goal: Maurice will independently put on his shoes and tie them.

Task analysis of behavior:

  • Loosen shoe laces so foot can slip in easily
  • Slide foot into shoe
  • Gently pull on laces so to re-tighten
  • Hold the right lace in the right hand
  • Hold the left lace in the left hand
  • Cross laces, right over left, you are now holding the right lace with the left hand and the left lace with the right hand
  • Place left lace over, and then under the right lace and pull tightly on the end of both laces until the middle (or crossed section) touches shoe
  • Take the right lace and make a loop (it will look like a bunny ear)
  • Take the other shoelace and wrap it around the loop (the bunny runs around the tree)
  • By doing this, you make a smaller loop
  • Put the middle of the shoelace that you haven’t looped, through the small hole (the bunny sees a dog and jumps through the hole)
  • By putting your shoelace through the hole, you make another big loop
  • Pull tightly on the big loops until it feels snug on your foot

Behavioral Objectives:

1. Given two untied shoes (material generalization: 3 different pairs of shoes) and the verbal instruction “put on your shoes and tie them”, Maurice will complete 5/13 steps of the task analysis independently (fluency: within 1 minute) on 6 out of 6 consecutive opportunities (1 opportunity = 1 shoe).

2. Given two untied shoes (material generalization: 3 different pairs of shoes) and the verbal instruction “put on your shoes and tie them”, Maurice will complete 9/13 steps of the task analysis independently (fluency: within 1 minute) on 6 out of 6 consecutive opportunities.

3. Given two untied shoes (material generalization: 3 different pairs of shoes) and the verbal instruction “put on your shoes and tie them”, Maurice will complete 13/13 steps of the task analysis independently (fluency: within 1 minute) on 6 out of 6 consecutive opportunities.

If this skill was being worked on and data was only being collected 4 times a year (quarterly data), the data might look something like this: (1) September (baseline data) – completed 2/13 steps independently; (2) December – completed 4/13 steps independently; (3) March – complete 5/13 steps independently; (4) June – completed 6/13 steps independently. A few problems that can be identified from the data alone are that the educational goal was not achieved and that over the course of 9 months working on this skill only 4 new steps were taught. This suggests that something wasn’t going quite as planned with the instruction.

If, on the other hand, data was being collected on a weekly basis we would be able to identify sooner than later that the instructional strategy wasn’t being as effective as planned and make changes accordingly. Frequent data collection helps us avoid the “teach and hope that it sticks” method by giving us information about progress which can guide our instruction and ultimately student success and teacher accountability.

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Data Collection
There are many different ways to collect data and the method we choose will depend on the skill we are trying to teach and how we are going to measure success. There are 7 ways behaviors can be measured and changed:

  • Frequency: the number of times a person engages in a behavior
  • Rate: the frequency of a behavior expressed as a ratio with time (i.e. the behavior occurred .5 times per minute)
  • Duration: how long the person engages in a behavior
  • Latency: length of time between the instruction and the behavior actually occurring
  • Topography: the “shape” of the behavior (i.e. what it looks like)
  • Force: the intensity of the behavior
  • Locus: where the behavior occurs either in the environment or location on the body

The most commonly used forms of data are frequency/rate, duration, latency and force. Some times we will create our own data sheets specifically for behaviors or skills we’re trying to track, but most of the time there are generic data sheets which will suit your needs. Here are some example data sheets you can use or modify:

Frequency/Rate Data Sheets:
Discrete Trial Data (20 Trials)

Task Analysis

Interval Data Recording

Duration Data Sheets:
Duration Data 1

Latency Data Sheets:
Latency Data 1

Force Data Sheets:
Behavioral Observation Forms – Intensity of Behavior

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Graphing Data
In addition to collecting the data, it is many time useful to graph the data you’ve collected. Graphing the data provides you with a visual snapshot of progress. This can be useful for monitoring progress and for sharing progress with other team members including parents. There are many ways to create graphs from data. Many people choose to enter their data into graphing software (i.e. excel) and utilized their automatic graphing functions. Here are some examples of graphs you fill in by hand which you could use to display data:
Percentage-Based Graph

Standard Celeration Chart

Standard Celeration Chart – FAQ

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Tools for Teaching Skills

Discrete Trial Teaching
The discrete trial is the primary teaching method for a number of the behaviorally-based interventions used in teaching children with autism. Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT) is often used synonymously with Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), but it is actually an intervention based on the principles of ABA. DTT helps us break down skills and teach their component parts which enhances rate of learning. For a comprehensive discussion of DTT, please visit PolyXO.

Behavioral Intervention for Young Children With Autism: A Manual for Parents and Professionals
This manual contains chapters on choosing an effective treatment, discusses how to evaluate claims about treatments for autism, and what the research says about early behavioral intervention and other treatments. Subsequent sections address what to teach, teaching programs, how to teach, and who should teach. The curriculum guide is divided into a beginner, intermediate and advanced sections broken down into various skills such as:

  • Attending
  • Imitation
  • Receptive Language
  • Expressive Language
  • Abstract Language
  • Academic
  • Social
  • School Readiness
  • Self-help

**Information from Epinions

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A Work in Progress: Behavior Management Strategies & A Curriculum for Intensive Behavioral Treatment of Autism
A Work In Progress is a two part manual that serves as a guide for any parent or professional working with Autistic children. The ABA based behavioral intervention strategies and the detailed curriculum focus on facilitating the child¹s development and helping him or her to achieve the highest level of independence and quality of life possible. The book has served as a launching pad for many parents in the beginning stages of diagnosis and has been used as the cornerstone of countless intervention programs, meeting with enormous success.

The first half of the book, entitled Behavioral Management and Teaching Strategies with Autistic Children, gives parents insights and methods for dealing with difficult behaviors and self-stimulation, aiding in the management and reduction of disruptive behavior. These beginning chapters also offer guidelines on how to address and manage sleep problems, toileting issues, eating problems, as well as how to incorporate social skills and play skills.

The second half of the book is a detailed curriculum entitled, Autism Partnership Curriculum for Discrete Trial Teaching with Autistic Children. This is a complete guide that provides step-by-step instructions as well as creative ideas on how to make learning a natural progression. Emphasis is placed on learning in different settings, the importance of learning age-appropriate skills, and creating a home program that emphasizes the joy of learning.

**Information from DRL Books

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The Verbal Behavior Approach: How to Teach Children With Autism and Related Disorders
The Verbal Behavior (VB) approach is a form of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), that is based on B.F. Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior and works particularly well with children with minimal or no speech abilities. In this book Mary Lynch Barbera draws on her own experiences as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and also as a parent of a child with autism to explain VB and how to use it.

This step-by-step guide provides an abundance of information about how to help children develop better language and speaking skills, and also explains how to teach non-vocal children to use sign language. An entire chapter focuses on ways to reduce problem behavior, and there is also useful information on teaching toileting and other important self-help skills, that would benefit any child.

This book will enable parents and professionals unfamiliar with the principles of ABA and VB to get started immediately using the Verbal Behavior approach to teach children with autism and related disorders.

**Information from Amazon

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Pivotal Response Treatments for Autism: Communication, Social, & Academic Development
Recognized as one of the top state-of-the-art treatments for autism in the United States, the innovative Pivotal Response Treatment uses natural learning opportunities to target and modify key behaviors in children with autism, leading to widespread positive effects on communication, behavior, and social skills. The product of 20 years of research from Robert and Lynn Koegel—co-founders of the renowned Autism Research Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara—this proven approach is now clearly presented in one accessible book.

Because PRT works with each child’s natural motivations and stresses functional communication over rote learning, this comprehensive model helps children develop skills they can really use. With this timely resource, educators and therapists will support children with autism as they enjoy more positive interactions, more effective communication, and higher academic achievement in natural, inclusive settings.

**Information from Amazon

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Tools for Addressing Problem Behaviors

All behaviors serve a function, it’s the form those behaviors take that are many times objectionable. Any effort to address a behavior without first understanding its function will be fruitless. Before we address a behavior, we first need to identify the function. The way in which we can address this is by doing a functional behavior analysis or assessment (FBA). Behaviors can serve a variety of functions including:

Gain Access To:

  • Tangible item
  • Activity
  • Attention
  • Sensory Stimulation


  • Tangible item
  • Task Demand
  • Attention
  • Sensory Stimulation

Once we know the function of a behavior it is more likely that we will develop and intervention plan which will be effective and efficient. An effective behavior intervention plan will include the following components:

  • Setting event strategies
  • Antecedent strategies
  • Replacement behaviors
  • Consequence strategies

The following resources are extremely useful to help you identify functions of behavior and develop effective behavior intervention plans.

Communication-Based Intervention for Problem Behavior: A User’s Guide for Producing Positive Change
Based on extensive field-testing and the dual principles that problem behavior often serves a purpose for the individual displaying it and that intervention should take place in the community, this user-friendly manual details methods for conducting functional assessments, communication-based intervention strategies, procedures for facilitating generalization and maintenance, and crisis management tactics.

Useful for handling intense behavior problems, this book will be invaluable for educators, supported employment and group home staff, behavior specialists, psychologists, social workers, physical and occupational therapists, medical staff, speech-language pathologists, family members, and others working with people who have developmental disabilities. Also included are case studies and checklists of things to do to ensure success.

**Information from Brookes Publishing

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Functional Assessment and Program Development for Problem Behavior: A Practical Handbook
This guide to functional assessment procedures includes a variety of strategies for assessing problem behavior situations, and presents a systematic approach for designing behavioral support programs based on those assessments. Professionals and students alike will appreciate the way the authors help readers learn to conduct functional assessments and develop their own intervention programs.

**Information from Amazon

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Functional Behavioral Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment: A Complete System for Education and Mental Health Settings
Professionals who work in mental health and educational settings are frequently faced with clients (children, adolescents, adults) who engage in serious problem behaviors. Such behaviors often impact the client’s welfare and ability to live, work, and be educated in mainstream environments. Children and adolescents who manifest these behaviors are particularly vulnerable to these disruptions, which can have a far-reaching impact on their development and future prospects.

This practical book, written both for clinician/educators and high-level students, creates a function-based behavioral diagnostic classification system, the first of its kind, as well as treatment protocols that fit such a diagnostic system. Heavily “practitioner-oriented,” the book will address the full range of behaviors–ranging from aggression, self-injury, stereotypic behavior (repetitive body movements), tantrums, and non-compliance–with real life and hypothetical cases to help clinicians think through the full range of treatment options.

Unique in moving beyond functional assessment to assessment diagnosis and treatment, this book will be highly useful for mental health clinicians, students of Advanced Behavior Analysis, and special education practitioners among others.

**Information from Amazon

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Positive Behavioral Support: Including People With Difficult Behavior in the Community
This strategy-packed resource demonstrates how people with challenging behavior can be fully included at home, at school, and in the community. Based on solid research, it offers state-of-the-art intervention techniques and explores the planning and assistance needed to implement non-aversive inclusion strategies. Compelling case studies that illustrate successful integration make this person- and family-centered book essential for everyone involved with people with difficult behavior.

**Information from Amazon

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  1. annokeeffe says:

    what an awesome list of resources!

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