Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #274
CE Offered: BACB
Administering Assessments for Comprehensive Behavior Analytic Therapy Programs: Analyzing Practitioner Skills and Reliability
Sunday, May 28, 2017
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 2C
Area: PRA/AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Kira Austin (Whitworth University)
Discussant: Kira Austin (Whitworth University)
CE Instructor: Kira Austin, Ph.D.
Abstract: The use of criterion-based assessments to establish baseline skills for developing comprehensive ABA programming is a well established practice. However, with the increase in insurance coverage for ABA services there has also been increasing pressure to standardize intake and assessment processes for clients. There has been consistent use of two specific assessments in the field: the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills- Revised (ABLLS-R) and the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP). Despite the widespread use of these assessments there is little published research documenting the reliability and validity of these measures. The individualized treatment plans created for clients relies heavily upon the information gathered during the assessment process. Assessment protocols often leave room for variability in implementation and interpretation. The quality of the assessment and the fidelity of the assessment process are vital to creating effective interventions. This session will take an in-depth look at how to ensure reliability of assessment procedures across practitioners. Participants will also be provided with recommendations for assessment use, practical strategies for enhancing consistency amongst assessors, and sample fidelity checklists.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): assessment practices, BST, reliability

Training Practitioners to Implement the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program Through Behavior Skills Training

JESSE LASARTE (Whitworth University), Dana J. Stevens (Northwest Autism Center)

The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) is a criterion-referenced language assessment that is designed for children with autism and other individuals who demonstrate language delays. Previous research has indicated that a behavior skills training (BST) intervention can increase the performance of assessors in implementing the milestones portion of the VB-MAPP (Barnes, Mellor, & Rehfeldt, 2014). However, the research has been very limited in the amount of consistency across assessors with implementation of VB-MAPP assessment protocol. The current study builds on the previous research procedures of Barnes, Mellor, & Rehfeldt (2014) through replication of the BST with a modified checklist to increase correct implementation of the milestones assessment. A small group of professionals who provide Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy to children with neurodevelopmental disabilities took part in the study. Participants received BST, which consisted of instruction, modeling, rehearsal and feedback, and remedial teaching to implement the VB-MAPP. A multiple baseline across subjects research design was used to evaluate the effects of BST training on correct implementation of the milestones assessment.

Assessment Practices Used in Comprehensive Early Intervention Treatment Programs: What are We Really Doing in the Field?
JESSICA THOMAS (Whitworth University; Mead School District), Kira Austin (Whitworth University)
Abstract: Comprehensive early intervention treatment programs have proven to be an effective practice to support children with autism spectrum disorder (source). These programs are capable of increasing skills in academic, social, adaptive, and vocational domains. The individualized treatment plan created for the clients in these programs relies heavily upon the information gathered during the assessment process. The success of the program and student achievement can depend on the quality of the assessment selected. Behavior analysts can conduct assessments and interpret client’s skills differently, which could potentially affect the outcome of the client’s programming and goals. Local behavior analysts were interviewed and observed concerning their client intake and assessment practices. The purpose of this session will be to share common assessment practices used currently in the field, identify strategies to increase fidelity across practitioners, and provide recommendations for improving assessment and intake processes.



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