Clinically reviewed by Claire Ellis, M.S., BCBA, LBA, National Director of Training & Development.
Throughout a child’s life, they will undergo assessments in school for learning and outside of school for extracurriculars so that teachers and coaches understand their current skill level and can tailor learning programs to help them achieve their greatest capabilities.
In ABA therapy, there are many different types of ABA assessments, all with the same objective.
ABA Assessment Defined
An ABA assessment is a measurement of your child’s performance across several benchmarks, indicating the appropriate developmental age for each skill. to inform the goals and structure of your child’s therapy program based on his or her individual needs. Assessments are designed to review the current skills and abilities of your child, including (but not limited to):
- Language and communication skills
- Social behavior and interaction
- Self-help abilities and daily living skills
- Attention/Duration of engagement
- Rate of skill acquisition
- Play and leisure skills
- Challenging behavior repertoires
Why is an ABA assessment done?
You may be asking why it’s necessary to conduct another assessment for your child. An ABA assessment is one of the most important steps in your child’s ABA journey. It gives the Acorn Health team the information that’s needed to tailor the program to the child’s skill level, setting specific goals based on the assessment’s outcomes. Without the data gathered from the assessment, the demands of the program may be too difficult or too easy. The assessment and subsequent treatment plan is also provided to insurers so that ABA therapy can be officially approved and covered under a family’s insurance plan.
What can I expect for my child during an ABA assessment?
While there are specific assessments that can gauge more specific skills, such as verbal or language abilities, overall, the structure of the assessments are similar. ABA assessments typically will include these three steps:
- Gather information through caregiver interviews. During these interviews, we’ll ask questions to better understand your child’s behaviors and abilities while under your care. We’ll ask you to share your observations, challenges, and goals for your child. Your understanding of where, when, and why behaviors are happening will help us understand the full picture of your child’s experiences.
- Conduct direct observations. In a comfortable setting, our Behavior Analysts will review specific and objective behavior patterns while observing your child. It may include visiting your home or the school to get a better understanding of how your child interacts in various settings.
- Develop a plan of action. Your child’s ABA therapy plan is developed based on these assessments and observations, with concrete goals for your child to achieve and will serve as a guide to their program structure. Typically, the goals include decreasing harmful behaviors such as tantrums or self-injury and improving positive behaviors, such as communications skills. Some of the goals of therapy will include helping your child reach age-normed behavior milestones. The plan will also include strategies caregivers and teachers can use to achieve goals together.
ABA assessments are typically completed at the beginning of treatment, and then conducted again every 6 months after that to gauge progress and adjust which areas to focus on. If deficits are identified, the program will be updated to address those. However, it is important to note that various skills are regularly assessed during therapy as well. Autism is a complex diagnosis and Acorn Health is committed to continually assessing your child to ensure we are evolving our plan as they continue to make progress.
If your child is scheduled for an assessment in ABA, the best way to prepare is to ensure your child feels rested, comfortable, and supported. It will serve as the backbone of your child’s ABA therapy journey, empowering them to achieve their fullest potential.
What are the Main Types of Assessments in ABA?
The primary ABA assessment protocols are for Home Skills, Basic Living Skills, Community Participation Skills, Independent Living Skills, School Skills, and Vocational Skills.
To learn more about Acorn Health and to speak with an admissions specialist, visit Acornhealth.com/admissions or call (844) 244-1818.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How do I do an ABA preference assessment?
An ABA preference assessment shows parents the probability of their child exhibiting certain behaviors in the future.
What are the three functional assessments for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
FBAs identify the cause of challenging behaviors in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The three methods are indirect, observational, and Functional Analysis.
What is an ABA vs EFL Assessment?
The EFL is based on principles and procedures of ABA but it also pulls from Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior.