The ABLLS-R and the AFLS: Assessments, Curricula and Skills Tracking Systems that Work Together to Guide Programming for Individuals with Autism or Other Developmental Delays
Individuals with a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder or other developmental delay require a highly individualized intervention to help them develop the critical skills necessary to promote their participation in family and community activities to the fullest extent possible. Research has clearly demonstrated that these individuals benefit from well-designed and strategically implemented teaching programs that focus on the development of specific skills. It is important that the selection of skills, that are a part of an individualized intervention program, focus both on the developmental language and also on other basic skills that facilitate maximum learning from everyday experiences and interactions with others. Additionally, it is important that the learner is able to use those newly acquired skills during his daily activities.
The Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (The ABLLS-R) revolutionized the ease of programming so that hundreds of skills within 25 different skill areas could be assessed, tracked visually, and used as a curriculum to teach language and basic learning skills. The focus of the ABLLS®-R is early language acquisition, verbal behavior, and very early learning concepts and readiness skills. It also provides a review of a learner’s early academic, basic self-help, and motor skills. The language skills and other basic learner skills that are tracked by this tool are those that are acquired by most typically developing children by the time they reach four to five years of age. If this level of skill development is achieved by individuals with developmental delays before reaching five to six years of age, many of these children can proceed to participate in regular education programs.
The ABLLS-R “assess, track, and teach” model is trusted, familiar, and widely used around the world. Even though it covers many self help skills often acquired by young children (i.e., eating, dressing, grooming, and toileting), it was not intended to provide a comprehensive review of the broad range of functional skills (skills that must be done by others if learner is unable to do them). These skills are needed by individuals both at a young age and as adults. Therefore, an additional assessment was developed as a continuum to support and guide parents, caregivers, educators, and other professionals to develop comprehensive and practical functional skills programs.
The Assessment of Functional Living Skills (The AFLS) is a criterion-referenced assessment that was created as an extension of the ABLLS-R. The AFLS is an assessment, skills tracking system, and curriculum guide for the development of essential skills for achieving independence. The formatting is similar to the ABLLS-R. It can be used to demonstrate a learner’s current functional skill repertoire and provide tracking information for the progressive development of these functional skills throughout the lifespan. Thus, The AFLS contains task analyses of many of the skills essential for participation in a wide range of family, school, community, and work environments and can be used simultaneously with the ABLLS-R.
The AFLS is comprised of multiple documents including The AFLS Guide and six unique assessment modules: Basic Living Skills, Home Skills, Community Participation Skills, School Skills, Vocational Skills, and Independent Living Skills. Each assessment module contains eight different skills areas that thoroughly assess the functional skills across a wide range of settings throughout a learner’s lifespan. Every module of The AFLS is designed to ensure that parents, caregivers and professionals provide learners with the very best opportunities to learn how to do tasks for themselves in a broad array of real-world settings; thus achieving a greater level of independence and an improved quality of life.