Pick of the Week: 20% Off Select Social Skills Games!

Check out our last sale in November before Black Friday! This week only, take 20% off select social skills games with promo code SOCGAME20.

Social Skills Games POW 11.14

Many kids, especially those with ADHD, autism or Asperger’s, have trouble comprehending the socially accepted physical boundaries that many take for granted. These games pictured above will help enhance social skills and make your child more comfortable in social settings.

 

Ecological Assessment For Successful School Inclusion Settings

School learning communities are dynamic and complex, and meeting the challenge requires a detailed understanding of how such communities work, a task that is ideally suited to Ecological Assessment. Ecological Assessment for successful school inclusion settings can be a vital part of the structure of maintaining scientifically-grounded, evidence-based practices in schools. Like functional assessment, Ecological Assessment uses the tools of Applied Behavior Analysis – behavioral definitions, direct observation and data collection, task analysis, simple statistical analysis, structured interviews – and applies them to the ecosystem of the classroom and other settings in schools.

ecological assessment for successful school inclusion settings

In 2007, Cooper, Heron, & Heward wrote: “An ecological approach to assessment recognizes the complex interrelationships between environment and behavior. In an ecological assessment a great deal of information is gathered about the person and the various environments in which that person lives and works. Among the many factors that can affect a person’s behavior are physiological conditions, physical aspects of the environment (e.g., lighting, seating arrangements, noise level), interactions with others, home environment, and past reinforcement history. Each of these factors represents a potential area for assessment.” (p. 55)

Ecological Assessment has been discussed in behavior analysis for at least the past 45 years. Wallace and Larson (1978) described Ecological Assessment as referring to the analysis of an individual’s learning environment and his/her interactions within and across these settings. In stressing the importance of ecological assessment, Hardin (1978) said that “appropriate and effective intervention cannot occur without an adequate understanding of the child and his or her environment.” Heron and Heward (1988) pointed out that sometimes students’ situations warrant comprehensive study, saying, “…some students’ learning/behavior difficulties are subtle and complex and, thus, necessitate a more global assessment to ensure the most appropriate instructional approach.”  They suggested that Ecological Assessment should be based on various sources of information such as student records, interviews, formal and informal tests, and direct observation, and include an examination of specific influences within a setting such as:

  • Spatial Density
  • Seating Arrangement
  • Noise
  • Student-Student Interaction
  • Classroom Lighting
  • Teacher-Student Interaction
  • Home Environment
  • Reinforcement History

According to Carroll (1974) a model of Ecological Assessment consists of six steps:

  1. “Delineation of the assessment goals (i.e., identify the data to be collected and how they will be used)
  2. Formation of a conceptual framework within which to assess the learner and the environment (i.e., identify the relative importance of learner and environmental factors)
  3. Implementation of the assessment plan (i.e., conduct direct observations, inspect work samples or products)
  4. Evaluation of assessment results
  5. Development of a set of hypotheses (i.e., relationships between student behavior and identified learner characteristics and environmental factors)
  6. Development of a learning plan (i.e., an intervention strategy designed to match learner characteristics with appropriate environmental settings).”

Like functional assessment, Ecological Assessment is part of an analysis involving students and the environment. While functional assessment identifies specific behaviors (usually problem behaviors) exhibited by a student as the target of the assessment, Ecological Assessments have both a setting focus and a student focus. Ecological Assessments study the nature of all behaviors required to be reinforced in a particular setting and the specific circumstances under which those behaviors must occur. It then compares these requirements to the abilities and experiences of the student. The central question in an Ecological Assessment is, “What does the student need to do to succeed?”


Why Conduct an Ecological Assessment?

There are many reasons to conduct an Ecological Assessment:

  • With students making transitions between programs, Ecological Assessments can supplement the typical discussions between sending and receiving teams, providing formal observations, data-taking, setting inventories, and structured interviews that allow for a smoother transition
  • For students who are less-than-engaged in class and exhibit off-task behavior, Ecological Assessments help teachers identify and eliminate the barriers to on-task behavior and, as efforts are made to resolve issues, provide both a baseline and a convenient on-going monitoring vehicle for both the student’s behavior and any continued existence of the barriers
  • When evaluating student readiness, Ecological Assessments identify the key skills actually reinforced in target environments, so that specific, concrete, realistic preparations can be implemented


The Future of Ecological Assessment

Educational teams in schools tackle problems encountered in inclusion settings every day, both from the assessment side and the student preparation side. While Ecological Assessment has been frequently discussed as a valuable tool and would seem to be ideal for gaining a detailed understanding of environmental barriers and challenges in classrooms and other inclusion settings, there is little established structure to guide clinical implementation.

At this point, one Ecological Assessment is very likely to look completely different from another. Like functional assessment, Ecological Assessment in the future must take on recognized and validated structure that is data-based, reliable, and highly descriptive of setting characteristics and related student abilities. Insights into how to provide meaningful student inclusion experiences depend on well-developed tools that synthesize and easily communicate information about complex challenges.

Well-structured Ecological Assessments will provide a vital means of approaching inclusion that, in addition to providing a detailed analysis, will create a structure that can extend well beyond the initial decision-making phase of programming, and, without a doubt, promises to contribute enormously to student program development.

 


For more on Ecological Assessment, check out our newest product by Fovel, the SEAT!

seat

This innovative new protocol and manual provides essential structure to facilitate ecological assessment of inclusion settings that is systematic with ABA principles and straightforward to implement. This assessment tool is a must for practitioners and educational teams at all levels and grades, who need to design, and evaluate student inclusion experiences using evidence-based methodologies.

This week only, get the SEAT for 15% off with promo code SEATNEW.

 

WRITTEN BY J. TYLER FOVEL, M.A., BCBA

Tyler Fovel has worked in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis for over 40 years, with all ages of students and with dozens of educational teams. He has published manuals on educating students with autism and related developmental disabilities: The ABA Program Companion and The New ABA Program Companion (DRL Books). He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Jan, and their golden retriever, Lucy. 

 

Pick of the Week: Introducing the SEAT!

Happy November, Different Roads family!

seat
We’re incredibly excited to announce our newest product, the Structured Ecological Assessment tool (SEAT) by J. Tyler Fovel, M.A., BCBA.

The SEAT is a structured protocol and manual that guides you through the process of conducting an Ecological Assesment. It provides forms, data-sheets, graphic display grids, and even report samples to take you from referral through data compilation and effective reporting.

This innovative new protocol and manual for school inclusion settings from the author of The New ABA Program Companion provides essential structure to facilitate ecological assessment of inclusion settings that is systematic with ABA principles and straightforward to implement.

WHY USE THE SEAT?

* Teams use the SEAT with students making transitions between programs, supplementing the typical discussions between sending and receiving teams for a smoother transition

* For students who are less-than-engaged in class and exhibit off-task behavior, the SEAT assessment helps teachers identify and eliminate barriers to on-task behavior and, as efforts are made to resolve issues, provides both a baseline and a convenient on-going monitoring vehicle for both the student’s behavior and any continued existence of the barriers

* When evaluating student readiness, the SEAT identifies the key skills actually reinforced in target environments, so that specific, concrete, realistic preparations can be implemented

Save 15% on your purchase of this exclusive class set of one protocol and five manuals this week only by using promo code SEATNEW at checkout!

Pick of the Week: 20% Off Executive Functioning Tools

Happy last Tuesday of October! This week only, save 20% on your purchase of select executive functioning tools by using promo code EXECFUN20 at checkout!

These products are great for problem solving and ideal for individual and classroom settings.

Kenworthy cover

DRB_129_Unstuck_and_On_Target_COVERPictured are two of our featured curriculum books, Unstuck & On Target! and Solving Executive Function Challenges.

Unstuck & On Target gives clear instructions, materials lists, modifications for each lesson, and intervention tips to reinforce lessons throughout the school day for students with cognitive ability and language skills 8-11. Helps educators and service providers teach these executive function skills to high-functioning students with autism.
Solving Executive Function Challenges is a practical resource for parents, teachers, and therapists helps high-functioning students with autism improve on these critical skills. With this guide, teachers and caretakers learn strategies to teach EF skills, including setting and achieving goals and being flexible, as well as ideas for accommodations and actions to address common problems, such as keeping positive, avoiding overload, and coping.

Pick of the Week: 20% Off Reading Comprehension Tools!

Reading comprehension is important for children of all ages, but especially young learners, as they learn to develop and process words and text. 

Pictured to the right is our featured product, the Sentence Building Dominoes, a game you can build a variety of sentences with. With 228 color-coded dominoes, featuring 8 parts of speech — nouns, pronouns, verbs, dominoesadjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions and punctuation marks — the possibilities are endless! Dominoes come packed in a handy storage bucket.

Be sure to check out the rest of our products on sale this week. 

Save 20% on your purchase of select Reading Comprehension Tools by entering the Promo Code READ20 at checkout!  

Pick of the Week: 20% Off Social Skills Games!

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Social skills are important for any developing child as they teach and reinforce important skills children need as they interact with their peers, family members and community helpers. Be sure to check out our featured game, a value set of six visually stimulating board games targets good social skills and behavior.

The six games included in the set cover Morals, Manners, Empathy, Showing Emotions, Friendship, and Managing Emotions. Each game supports the development of social and emotional skills and the consolidation of those already learned.

This set of board games provides a comprehensive approach to promoting the social and emotional skills that underpin effective learning, positive behavior, regular attendance, staff effectiveness, and the emotional health and well-being of students.

This week only, you can save 20% on your purchase of select Social Skills Games by entering the Promo Code SOCGAME20 at checkout! 

Pick of the Week: 20% Off Audible Time Timers!

Setting a routine can be a challenge — a visual timer can make all the difference when executing day to day activities and getting back in the groove!

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Audible Time Timers  

Ideal for timed activities or getting ready, our favorite Time Timers are perfect for individual use or classroom settings.

Recommended by Autism and ADHD experts, the Time Timer is entirely intuitive to use. A graphic clock face gives the child a visual understanding of time elapsing. When the colored portion of the clock face elapses, time is up! There is also an optional audible component that you can turn on so that the timer beeps when time is up. It runs on battery-operated quartz movement and can be free standing or hung on a wall.

This week only, you can save 20% on your purchase of the 3-inch, 8-inch, and/or 12-inch Audible Time Timers by entering the Promo Code TIMER20 at checkout!

Pick of the Week: Optimize your Verbal Behavior program – 20% OFF Instructional DVD Series

We have the tools to save you time by showing the ins and outs of a verbal behavior program for those looking to learn how to implement or optimize one.

DRB_090_Verbal_Behavior_TargetsVerbal Behavior Targets: A Tool to Teach Mands, Tacts & Intraverbals by Diana Luckevich, PhD is a vital resource for anyone teaching language to a student with Autism or speech and language delays.  The book consists of words and word combination lists categorized by word families covering nouns including people, places, events and things inside and outside plus verbs, adjectives, adverbs, verbs plus nouns, nouns plus nouns, fill in the blanks, verb tense, receptive instruction, categories, features, functions and topics for conversation.

DRD_431_Teaching_the_TactTeaching Verbal Behavior in the Intensive Teaching Environment is a video series that provides definitions and concrete examples of a verbal behavior program with expert behavior analysts Holly Kibbe MS, BCBA and Cherish Twigg, MS, BCBA. There are four videos to get you set up: Getting Started, Teaching the Tact: “Expressive Label”, Teaching Manding (Requesting) Using Sign Language and Teaching Vocal Manding (Requesting)

DRB_459_Verbal_Behavior_ApproachThe Verbal Behavior Approach is a step-by-step guide that provides information about how to help children develop better language and speaking skills using Verbal Behavior methods. Written by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, who is also the parent of a child with autism, Mary Lynch Barbera explains all the ins and outs of Verbal Behavior and how to start and structure a program.

This week only, you can save 20% on these Verbal Behavior Tools by entering the Promo Code VBTOOLS at checkout.

Pick of the Week: Sensory Tools for Staying Calm And Focused

Maintaining calm and focus can be a challenge in a busy classroom. Our solution? Help reduce fidgeting and reward good behaviors with these sensory tools for staying calm and focused: the Fidgets Kit and Reinforcer Kit. For this week’s Pick Of The Week, save 20% on these items by using promo code FOCUS20 at checkout.

DRK_315_Fidgets_Kit

Fidget toys can be a great and socially acceptable management tool for stereotypical or repetitive behavior in the classroom or community that may be distracting to classmates. While there are many reasons for fidgeting, including sensory overload, boredom, frustration, or anything in between, the good thing is that it can be easily managed. Some students find the repetitive action of “fidgeting” to be calming; thus, they are then better able to focus on the task at hand. Created in conjunction with our behavioral consultant Stacy Asay, LMSW, our Fidgets Kit includes an array of tools that provide a variety of sensory experiences: stretchy, chewy, spiky, twisty, bumpy, twisty, clicky, bouncy and smooshy!

DRP_575_Reinforcer_Kit

Our Reinforcer Kit provides a selection of products that many children diagnosed with autism would not only want to play with but would be willing to “work for” during their one-on-one intervention. Although teachers can always use praise, food, candy and other toys, we think this bright and colorful kit of tools will help our families get a head-start on what to use for children wanting a favored object. The kit includes:

Spectra Spinner (battery operated)

Wooden Slide Whistle

Magic Mic (an Echo Microphone)

Magic Spring

Squishy Flashing Ball

Jelly Ring

Bubbles and more!

 

*Promotion is valid for one-time use through September 20,  2016. Offer cannot be applied to previous purchases, combined with any other others, transferred, refunded, or redeemed and/or exchanged or cash or credit. Different Roads to Learning reserves the right to change or cancel this promotion at any time. To redeem offer at differentroads.com, enter promo code FOCUS20 at checkout.