What is the VB-MAPP?

Put simply, the VB-MAPP is a tool that we use at Trellis to assess and develop learning plans for young learners with autism.

Based on the work of renowned behaviorist B.F. Skinner, the VB-MAPP or Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program is a criterion-referenced assessment tool, curriculum guide, and skill tracking system that is designed for children with autism, and other individuals who demonstrate language delays. There are three core components to the VB-MAPP:

  1. The Milestones Assessment includes 170 measurable learning and language milestones which are designed to assess a learners existing verbal and related skills. We use this tool to help us design a individualized intervention strategy for our learners.
  2. The Barriers Assessments helps identify the specific challenges a learner is having with learning and language acquisitions.
  3. The Transition Assessment helps assess whether a learner is ready to move to a less restrictive learning environment. We use it to understand how our learners are progressing toward their goals.
  4. The Task Analysis and Skills Tracking forms the basis for daily skill building. There are over 900 skills in this tool.

Collectively, these four components of the VB-MAPP 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).

At Trellis, we often use the VB-MAPP to determine where a young learner is functioning in comparison to neurotypical children at the same chronological age.  Skills and goals are then chosen based on that assessment and implemented throughout each session.  In the Trellis School, additional goals from the child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) and the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards are selected and taught.  Data on all skills, goals/ and ehaviors are tracked on the students’ weekly data sheets.

Trellis Hosts Annual Autism Awareness Fundraiser

Over 350 people attended Trellis’s annual fundraiser in support of Pathfinders for Autism.

The event was a tremendous success raising over $10,000 for Maryland’s leading autism advocacy group. The highlight of the event was the keynote speech from Towson Univeristy Men’s Basketball Coach, Pat Skerry. Coach Skerry, who is a member of the Trellis community, has been a tremendous advocate for raising awareness about autism across the country.

You can learn more about Pat’s efforts in this Washington Post article.

New Wave of Speech-Language Therapy

The story of Isaac, a bright-eyed and energetic four-year- old, brings to life the power of blended speech-language therapy.

All things considered, everything was going as you would expect with a boy his age. He loved superheroes, video games, and trying to learn to skateboard. But early on his mother noticed she was having trouble understanding him when he spoke. She had gone through a similar situation with Isaac’s older sister. So, she had him tested.

Isaac lives in Nye County, Nevada. This rural county is home to several environmentally sensitive areas, including a portion of Death Valley National Park and is remarkable in the fact that it is the third largest county in the contiguous U.S., larger than the combined total area of Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Delaware. While those four states hold a total population of more than 17 million, Nye County’s residents are estimated to be less than 44,000. Yet, the needs of a young child, such as Isaac, don’t change with the size of a county’s population.

As his mother suspected, Isaac was having articulation problems. So, the county provided the services Isaac needed, until Joe Gent, the Special Education Coordinator in Nye County, Nevada, found himself shorthanded. The therapist working with Isaac moved away in the middle of the school year. Mr. Gent wanted to ensure there was continuity in the services Isaac received.

The situation marked the start of a relationship between Learn It, a national provider of special education services, and Nye County.

Creating New Possibilities With Blended Therapy

Telepractice redefines the delivery of Speech-Language services. It enables the creation of a new blended therapy model that is more flexible, more customized and more in tune with challenges facing both the administrators who have to address the needs of their students and the ability of the therapists to fulfill their obligations.

For Learn It, telepractice has enabled the creation of a wide range of services for both individual students and small groups of students. These services have proven ideal for school districts where there are larger caseloads, high indirect costs, difficult to staff locations, and significant travel time between schools. Learn It has also been able to work with schools just to cover their response to intervention services. In sum, telepractice has proven to be an excellent resource offering the flexibility to be utilized in many different ways to address the needs of school districts.

To facilitate a blended approach, Learn It can provide a full or part-time, on-site or telepractice solution that allows for in-person therapy combined with the on-demand benefits of telepractice. This also allows for the greatest short-term and long-term flexibility in caseload management. Learn It can also provide blended on-site/telepractice services in combination with a district’s on-site SLPs, allowing schools to extend services to more students while managing special education costs. This blended solution helps eliminate gaps in therapy and maintain compliance.