Re-evaluation time has finally come. The school psychologist moved down his long list of children to evaluate and has reached my child. I signed the paperwork a while back, but Squeaker’s come up on the list now. How do I know? I just received my Adaptive Behavior Assessment (ABAS) Parent Form to fill out. Re-evaluations become the most thrilling parts of having a child on the autism spectrum because you get to answer all of the same questions all over again.
Please rate your child according to how often he or she correctly performs a behavior, without help, when the behavior needs to be displayed, the form implores me. The rating you choose should reflect the frequency with which the child performs the behavior without help, when it is needed. Record your responses for each item by circled one of the following:
0 – Is Not Able (cannot perform, is too young to have tried, or physically unable)
1 – Never or Almost Never When Needed (has the ability but never or never does it when needed or never does on his/her own without being reminded)
2 – Sometimes When Needed (has the ability but only sometimes does it when needed, sometimes does without help, but sometimes needs help or needed reminded)
3 – Always or Almost Always When Needed (basically is a rock star)
How exactly do you decided what behavior is necessary and what behavior isn’t necessary, outside of eating, personal hygiene, and safety? If I were to record the frequency with which my child performs a behavior WHEN NEEDED and WITHOUT HELP (those two items conditionally and together), then most of my ratings would actually be a 1 or, at most, a 2. Incidentally, since I, myself, am a literally person, that’s where his ratings fell.
What can my son do without prompting WHEN NEEDED and WITHOUT HELP? He can say the names of other people, shake his head “yes” or “no” in response to a simple question, say “hello” or “goodbye” to others (that’s probably a 2 though…), name 20 or more familiar items, tell people what his favorite activities are, speak clearly and distinctly, repeat stories or jokes after hearing them from others (maybe not accurately, but he can), read and write his FULL written name, state the days of the week in order, keep score when playing games, follow daily classroom schedule, swallow medication, show caution around hot or dangerous items, follow general safety rules, find shade when it’s hot and go inside when it’s cold, test hot food prior to eating, care for minor injuries, play alone with toys, participate in a specific fun activity on a routine basis, use the restroom at home routinely, put shoes on the correct feet, and refrain from telling lies to escape punishment (he cannot tell a lie most of the time). There were 633 items to respond to. The ones I stated above were the ones I felt he could always or almost always when needed do without help out of 633 items.
However, I did mark quite of a few of the remaining as 2’s, and “sometimes” can’t be too bad, right? That’s better than “never.” Most of my “Never” responses were in Communication, Community Use (he’s 7 for God’s Sake), Functional Academics, Home Living, Leisure, and Self-Care. Okay…maybe the number of 1’s looks more daunting than I realized at first glance. The Social category, though. That category looks so much better than I ever remember it looking in the past. It even has some 3s in it! I mean, maybe just four of them, but that’s something!
Oh boy. Do you know that next year, regardless of the outcome of this process, my child will go to regular education classes, despite the fact that I know his functional skills will create some major barriers for him. On one level, I’m so proud of the academic progress he’s made. My little sponge has absorbed so much information. He’s brilliant. But, I’m terrified. I know the reality of the situation, here. He has real behavior issues due to his autism and his functional limitations. Hopefully when we meet to go over these results and all of the other results of his testing, we will come up with a plan to make it work for him, because going through this questionnaire just scares of the crap out of me all over again.