The effects of a behavior skills training package for public special educators administering the VB-MAPP assessment



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Increasing access to services for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is an ongoing critical need as prevalence continues to increase in the United States. Despite over a half million children with ASD receiving educational services in public early childhood special education (ECSE) and preschool settings, teachers continue to report lack of training and resources to support this population of students. Teacher knowledge and use of appropriate assessments as a framework for developing evidence-based practices for students with ASD is an essential component of special education services in public schools. Despite increasing requirements from both federal and state guidelines on the use of such evidence-based practices, previous research still demonstrates a gap from mandate to practice. There continues to be a lack of uniform standards for empirically validated training content and program development for pre-service teachers entering the special education field. There is currently no research on educator training and use of clinical, criterion-referenced assessments, such as the Verbal Behavior Milestones and Assessment Placement Program (VB-MAPP). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of utilizing a behavior skills training package to increase and improve public educator administration of the VB-MAPP assessment compared to non-specific training methods. An experimental pre- and post-training, comparative design was utilized for this study with participants assigned to either the BST or self-directed training condition. Initial results indicated that while both training conditions resulted in improvements in participant knowledge, the Behavior Skills Training group scored higher than the comparison group and scored comparatively to the Subject Matter Experts, supporting previous research.



Autism, Special Education, Teachers, Paraprofessionals, VB-MAPP Assessment