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New study validates Skills® Assessment for designing customized curricula to help children with autism

In a new study published in the journal Research in , researchers at (CARD) find value in the comprehensive Skills® Assessment, which helps clinicians develop individualized treatment plans for . Accurate assessment is vital to curriculum planning and skill acquisition for as it establishes a foundation from which treatment will be implemented. A comprehensive assessment allows clinicians to gain a thorough understanding of how a child functions across all areas and helps the clinician design the most customized treatment program based on the child’s needs, thus maximizing results. The results of the study found that the Skills® Assessment has excellent between parent report and direct observation, allowing treatment to be more individualized, targeted and efficient.

The comprehensive Skills® Assessment addresses over 3,000 skills across every domain of child development, including language, social, play, adaptive, executive functions, cognition, motor and academic. In the study, a child’s parent or guardian was asked to answer the assessment questions, and those answers were compared to direct tests of the skills with the children. The study showed that the Skills® Assessment accurately portrayed the unique strengths and deficits of the children who participated.

“The Skills® Assessment has great potential to help those treating children with autism by saving time and giving a more accurate picture of the skills that a child actually needs to learn than was ever available from previous assessments,” said Jonathan Tarbox, PhD, BCBA-D, CARD director of research and development. “This tool makes treatment plans more customized and provides the clinicians with a wealth of information that can be used to treat children with autism.”

According to the study, little to no published research has evaluated the validity of an assessment of skills for the treatment of (ASD), and the most commonly used assessments for applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy treatment planning have not undergone psychometric evaluations.

“We tested every skill in the assessment with each participant, which amounted to over 30,000 trials conducted over the course of the study,” said Angela Persicke, MA, BCBA, CARD research and development supervisor.

The Skills® Assessment is a web-based component of the Skills® program, a larger tool based on the scientifically-proven principles of ABA that is used to assess an individual’s strengths and weaknesses; design individualized and comprehensive treatment, teaching and intervention plans; and track progress.

About Skills®: The Online Autism Solution is a web-based tool that gives users the ability to assess an individual’s strengths and weaknesses, design individualized and comprehensive treatment teaching and intervention plans, and track progress. The program is based on the scientifically-proven principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA). Although Skills® will automate lessons, it also allows users the flexibility to tailor the program to an individual’s unique needs. Each of the nearly 4,000 lessons also includes worksheets, visual aids, tracking forms, and video lessons. Launched in 2011, Skills® is used in over 14 countries worldwide, in several school districts and by providers and insurance companies nationwide. For more information, visit www.skillsforautism.com.


Evaluation of the concurrent validity of a skills assessment for autism treatment, Authors: Angela Persicke, Michele R. Bishop, Christine M. Coffman, Adel C. Najdowski, Jonathan Tarbox, Kellee Chi, Dennis R. Dixon, Doreen Granpeesheh, Amanda N. Adams, Jina Jang, Jennifer Ranick, Megan St. Clair, Amy L. Kenzer, Sara S. Sharaf, Amanda Deering, Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders – doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2013.12.011

Center for Autism and Related Disorders