This month we are spotlighting a wonderful team member at Spectrum Autism Services!
Emily Taylor has always had a passion for working with children and helping them reach their potential. In 2016, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from James Madison University. She then began her career in the field of Autism in the school setting by providing both classroom-based and one-on-one services at a Special Education, Applied Behavior Analysis based school in Maryland.
In 2018, she moved to Fredericksburg where she became a part of the Spectrum family as a Registered Behavior Technician.
It wasn’t until joining Spectrum that Emily truly realized her calling for working in the field of ABA. She is currently enrolled at The University of Southern Maine in pursuit of a Master’s in Educational Psychology and Applied Behavior Analysis.
Emily is extremely excited to continue her education and to inspire others to find passion in working in the field of Autism! We are so lucky to have her on our staff.
This month’s Employee Spotlight highlights one of Spectrum’s amazing Clinical Assistants, Verna Birch!
Verna has always had a strong passion to help others and maximize the individual potential of her clients. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of California, Irvine. She has experience working in the medical and human services fields. She has worked as a Registered Behavior Technician since 2015.
She began her career providing one-on-one direct services to children on the spectrum in home, community and clinic settings in San Diego, California. Her family relocated to Virginia in 2017, where she continues her work as an RBT with Spectrum Autism Services. She is a military spouse and has vast experience working with and serving the military community.
She cherishes each of her clients and their families and constantly seeks to make a meaningful, positive difference in their lives. Currently Verna is pursuing her Masters degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis.
We are grateful for Verna each day for her continual effort and impact on her clients! Thank you for all that you do!
The VB-MAPP, which stands for The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program, is an assessment we use with early learners. It provides Behavioral Therapists a criterion-referenced tool to approaching skill tracking, behavior, language/learning barriers, and the child’s abilities.
In the explanations below, we will take you through the three different types of assessments included in the VBMAPP and describe how they can be used to identify your child’s strengths and areas of need, and how they can be used to guide individualized treatment.
A sample of Milestones Master Scoring Form:
The Milestones Master Scoring Form (above) is a visual representation of results from the first assessment that takes place when completing the VB-MAPP. There are 170 milestones tested that a neuro-typical child will meet before entering kindergarten. In this assessment the milestones are balanced across 3 chronological periods of typical development (0-18 months; 18-30 months; and 30-48 months). The milestones are quantifiable and measurable and can be used to document baseline skills and skill acquisition. The milestones include 16 main areas such as mand, tact, intraverbal, listener, visual perceptual, play, social, and early academic skills. One of the 16 areas, the echoic, includes the Early Echoic Skills Assessment (EESA) developed by Dr. Barbara Esch, SLP-CCC, BCBA-D
As shown, we color code the chart and use a new color each time skills are assessed. In this case, green, pink and orange are the three colors used in order of three separate assessments. Upon filling in the green after the first assessment, it conveys where the child’s therapy should focus considering his deficits. It also shows relative strengths that can be used to guide us in providing the best form of interventions. Upon doing a reassessment, we use a new color to see if gaps are filled in. This shows where growth has been made and where we need to continue to focus intervention efforts.
The Barriers Scoring Form, exampled above, allows therapists and parents a better understanding of the barriers to learning their child faces. When a child with ASD wakes up and begins each day, we want to better understand what hinders him or her from having a successful day.
Behavior, instructional control, inability to request items, and conversational skills are just a few of the categories listed. We like to explain this assessment as imagining an obstacle course, the flatter the course the easier it is for your child to navigate his or her day. The level of difficulty a child has in a category is colored along the Y axis of the chart. Each category and difficulty level are filled in by color code as well upon reassessment. There are 24 language and learning barriers scored that may be preventing a child from making progress in school or at home.
The Transition Scoring Form has 18 different areas that can assist a parent and IEP team in determining placement and ensuring a smooth transition into a school setting with appropriate accommodations. This form is the opposite of barriers because in this one we ideally want to a child to have all of the skills filled in before entering a classroom. This assessment assists in analyzing if the child can learn in a group environment, perform independent work, learn from their natural environment, retaining new skills, eat independently, go potty solo etc. We consider this chart to represent specific tools the kiddo has, and provides a visual of all the tools we want them to have in their tool belt before sending them to school to learn in a group environment.
The VB-MAPP Guide book has an analysis of the results from each of these areas along with suggestions on how to establish intervention priorities.
We hope you found this breakdown of the VB-MAPP helpful. Feel free to comment with any questions!
This week we want to celebrate an amazing person who Spectrum feels privileged to call an employee!
Kristen’s career serving individuals with Autism began when her former foster son was diagnosed with Autism in 2013. Her passion was ignited and spurred a career in education.
During her undergraduate studies she served as an in-school tutor for children with cognitive and learning disabilities utilizing social and emotional interventions to improve classroom behavior.
In January 2018, Kristen moved from the school environment to in-home services working as an RBT. Kristen earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Liberty University and has completed graduate coursework in School Counseling at NYU as well as Education Policy at American University.
Kristen’s specialties include early intervention, verbal behavior, educational advocacy, social skills training, and community awareness. She is currently enrolled at Pennsylvania State University working towards a Master’s in Education in Applied Behavior Analysis.
Thank you for all that you do for your kiddos and fellow employees, Kristen!