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Teaching Specific Skills

Well done assessments can help education teams (including parents) find your learner's specific skill deficits. Typically, teams form goals to address the specific skills, then begin to implement therapy with the intention of helping the learner attain the specific skill.

Then comes the tricky part: How do you know that what you are doing will help the learner attain the skill? How specific is your intervention? How effective is your therapy?

Another issue we face is knowing if the skill we are teaching is age appropriate. How delayed is my learner? What skills might be prerequisite for the ones I am targeting now? There are two outstanding resources that we have found that give excellent information as to which skills come when, and which skills are necessary to build on others. The first source is a diagnostic checklist compiled from the Brigance Diagnostic Inventory of Early Development (criterion referenced assessment) and the Murdoch developmental sequence for language. Rita Chandler, BCBA has combined the two assessments to produce more comprehensive developmental checklist by age and skill. Many thanks to Rita for contributing her efforts to the website. For a copy of the developmental checklist please click on the following link.

  • Developmental Task List
  • Our second wonderful source is the book A Work in Progress by Ron Leaf and John McEachin. Of all the autism books I have ever purchased, this book and the ABLLS language assessment have been the two most useful. The ABLLS turned the course of how we looked at programming for our two learners, but the Work in Progress book is far more user friendly, and gives more practical ideas for taking the skill and targeting it for teaching. We highly recommend that you purchase it.

    A Work in Progress: Behavior Management... at Amazon.com

    We have compiled the best suggestions for teaching specific skills from parents, therapists and consultants from internet discussion lists, conferences and private discussions and will be adding them here as we get them. Please be patient, as this will take time.