Assess Better – Put down the Cookie (Cutter). Individualizing the assessment process
By Dr. Megan Miller, BCBA-D
The Feb theme for the 2018 Do Better Movement is Assess Better. We started this month with a video activity related to identifying skills to assess with an early learner. The Do Better community identified quite a few skills they would assess further. However, there was a general theme of relying on commercially available assessments for this process. In our webinar for Assess Better, we discuss in more detail the next steps we took in the assessment process for this learner.
The professional development activity for this month was a 3-hour webinar covering the topic of Assessment for learners diagnosed with autism. The webinar focused on describing a multitude of commercially available assessments for learners with autism, providing examples of ways these assessments can be used together to develop appropriate intervention, discussion of assessment in general and different resources to use for assessing skills that do not related to commercially available assessments, and reviewing some video examples. Currently, behavior analytic training programs both at universities and through supervised fieldwork seem to focus too much on training individuals to complete 1 or 2 specific assessments instead of training on the assessment process. Behavior analysts successfully developed very effective interventions for learners well before the existence of any commercially available assessments and it is critical to our field that we continue to develop skills related to this process. This webinar is available for FREE until March 13th, 2018 and can be accessed in our Slack Group #assessbetter channel and/or on Navigation Behavioral Consulting’s Facebook page found here. After the 13th, the Webinar will be available on our website: www.navigateaba.com/ce-courses
For our assess better blog, we are talking about how to put down the Cookie Cutter and develop individualized assessments for our learners. I could probably write a whole book on this topic but for the sake of time, I have narrowed down the focus to a few key areas: observation, learn your population, familiarize yourself with resources available to you based on this population, and an example document of how we make use of the resources available to us.
When conducting assessments, it is critical that observation occurs PRIOR to determining which formalized assessments will be used with the learner and to help you pinpoint what may need to be assessed further. It is near impossible to know that the proper assessment process is being conducted with a learner if you have never seen the skillset of that learner. Observation can be done by viewing a few quick video clips of the learner when feasible or by observing the learner’s natural interactions when conducting the intake. During the observation, it is important to look for: