Functional Skills and Curriculum-based Assessments for Learners with Moderate-to-Severe Disabilities: It’s as much about What we Teach as How we Teach it

Presenter: Patrick McGreevy, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Saturday, April 16, 2016: 9:00am - 12:00pm
3 BACB Type II CEUs (included in the price of registration)

In recent years, many teachers, curriculum coordinators, and behavior analysts have struggled with ‘what to teach children’ with moderate-to-severe disabilities or limited skill repertoires, including many children with autism, especially as they grow older. In public schools, they are often instructed to adhere to the Common Core State Standards, while in ABA centers they are often offered only developmental curricula designed to help young children ‘catch up’ to their typically-developing peers. When they look for alternative sources of more functional skills, they often find few available options. If they look to the BACB Fourth Edition Task List, on which many BACB approved programs are based, they find no items that assist in resolving this or any other curricular issue. The presenter will describe functional skills and curriculum-based assessments, their value for specific children and adults, and the scientific literature that supports their use.

The presenter will begin to address this issue by:

  1. describing four criteria that can be used to determine if a skill is immediately functional for learners with moderate-to-severe disabilities,
  2. describing why functional skills result in more effective outcomes for children with moderate-to-severe disabilities,
  3. providing examples of functional speaker, listener, daily living, and tolerating skills,
  4. differentiating functional skills from developmental skills and academic skills by providing examples of each,
  5. providing examples of functional academic skills,
  6. providing examples of curriculum-based assessment instruments that are currently available, and
  7. leading a discussion with the participants regarding the most important functional skill of all -- functioning effectively as a speaker

Learner objectives:

  1. Participants will describe four criteria that can be used to determine if a skill is functional for a learner with moderate-to-severe disabilities
  2. Participants will describe four examples of speaker, listener, daily living, academic, and tolerating skills that are functional for learners with moderate-to-severe disabilities
  3. Participants will describe examples of available curriculum-based assessment instruments and the advantages and disadvantages of each
  4. Participants will describe four barriers to an effective method of speaking