Long Faces & Happy Hearts Equestrian Centre


Program Areas:


Assessments for Children that have been diagnosed with ASD

Our assessements are based on the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) that has provided many successful applications to the learning and language problems that are faced by children with autism or other developmental disabilities. The empirically based assessment is based on a large amount of research (Guess & Baer, 1973; Halle, Marshall, & Spradlin, 1979; Koegel & Koegal, 1995; Krantz & McClannahan, 1993; Leaf & McEachin, 1998; Lovass, 1977, 2003; Maurice, Green, & Luce, 1996; Wolf, Risley, & Mees, 1964) . This mapping brings together the procedures and teaching methodology of ABA and B. F. Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior; this provides a behaviorally based language assessment program.

There are five components of the assessemtn. The first is the Milestones Assessment, which is 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. Included in the Milestones Assessment is the Early Echoic Skills Assessment (EESA) subtest developed by Barbara E. Esch, Ph.D., CCCSLP, BCBA.

The second component is the Barriers Assessment, which 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 matchingto-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. By identifying these barriers, the clinician can develop specific intervention strategies to help overcome these problems, which can lead to more effective learning.

The third component is the Transition Assessment, which 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. The assessment is comprised of several summary measures from other parts of the assessment, as well as a variety of other skills that can affect transition. The assessment includes measures of the overall score on the Milestones Assessment, the overall score on the Barriers Assessment, negative behaviors, classroom routines and group skills, social skills, academic independence, generalization, variation of reinforcers, rate of skill acquisition, retention, natural environment learning, transfer skills, adaptability to change, spontaneity, independent play, general self-help, toileting skills, and eating skills.

The fourth component is the Task Analysis and Skills Tracking, which 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 assessment. 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. The skills identified on the task analysis contain a wide range of supporting components of the target areas. These skills may not be significant enough to identify as Milestones or IEP goals, but each of them play an important role in moving a child?s repertoire closer to that of a typically developing child. They also provide parents and teachers with a variety of activities that can facilitate generalization, maintenance, spontaneity, retention, expansion, and the functional use of skills in a variety of educational and social contexts. The task analysis of the learning and language skills contained in the assessment presents a new sequence of the verbal behavior curriculum that is developmentally balanced. Collectively, these four components of the assessment represent over 30 years of research, clinical work, field-testing, and revisions (Partington & Sundberg, 1998; Sundberg, 1980, 1983, 1987, 1990; Sundberg & Michael, 2001; Sundberg & Partington, 1998; Sundberg, Ray, Braam, Stafford, Rueber, & Braam, 1979).

The fifth and final component is the Placement and IEP Goals, which correspond with the four assessments above. The placement guide provides specific direction for each of the 170 milestones in the Milestones Assessment as well as suggestions for IEP goals. The placement recommendations help us to design a program that balances out an intervention program, and ensure that all the relevant parts of the necessary intervention are included.

If an intervention program is warranted, the data from the assessment should provide the essential information for determining the basic elements of an individualized educational program (IEP) and a language curriculum. The assessment will provide guidance in terms of:

  1. what skills need to be the focus of the intervention
  2. what level of the skill should the intervention program begin with,
  3. what barriers to learning and language acquisition need to be addressed (e.g., non-compliant behaviors, echolalia, or failure to generalize),
  4. what type of augmentative communication, if any, might be best,
  5. what specific teaching strategies might be the most effective for the child (e.g., discrete trial training, natural environment training), and
  6. what type of educational setting might best meet the child?s needs (e.g., in-home, 1:1 classroom, small group, or inclusion).

We also offer an Equine Assisted ASD Program is that is also empirically based and proven. Please contact Marie Sherwood for more information on Assessment and the Equine Assisted ASD Program.

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Long Faces and Happy Hearts is located between Yorkton and Melville, SK
(306) 728-2900