The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) is a developmental test that was developed by Mark Sundberg. The VB-MAPP consists of five parts: milestones, barriers, transitions, Task-Analysis and skill tracking, and placement and IEP goals. The milestones, barriers, and transitions are the most commonly used when first assessing an individual.
The milestones assessment lists 170 different developmental milestones that occur between the ages of 0-48 months in typically developing peers. Each milestone is placed into one of 18 categories: mand, tact, intraverbal, listener responding, visual perception/matching to sample, independent play, social, echoic, vocal, imitation, listener responding by feature function class, intraverbal, group skills, linguistic, reading, writing, and math. These skills are ranked into three different leves. Level 1 are skills that are typically developed between 0-18 months, level 2 skills develop between 18-30 months, and level 3 skills between 30-48 months. Often individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental disabilities don’t learn skills sequentially. Meaning that an individual might have very few skills in level 1 but might have several skills mastered in level 3. The milestones assessment allows the analyst to see where the gaps in the individual’s learning history might be and tells us what areas need to be targeted. By filling in these gaps, the individual is then able to learn more complex skills. In the milestones portion, the goal is to have the individual meet all the milestones in the assessment.
The barriers portion of the assessment lists 24 different “barriers” to learning. These barriers are behaviors that would inhibit the individual’s ability to learn. The barriers include problem behaviors, instructional control, defective mand, defective tact, defective echoic, defective imitation, defective visual performance, defective listener responding, defective intraverbal, defective social skills, prompt dependent, scrolling, defective scanning, defective conditional discrimination, failure to generalize, weak motivators, response requirement weakens MO, reinforcer dependent, self-stimulation, defective articulation, obsessive compulsive behavior, hyperactive behavior, failure to make eye contact, and sensory defensiveness. In the barriers portion the goal is to decrease the individual’s score in each of these categories making fewer barriers to the individual’s ability to learn.
The transitions portion of the assessment is a list of 18 different skills that assess whether the individual is able to function in a less restrictive educational environment. The skills include the milestone score, barriers score, negative behaviors and instructional control, classroom routines and group skills, social skills and social play, independent academic work, generalization, range of reinforcers, rate of skill acquisitions, retention of new skills, natural environment learning, transfer without training, adaptability to change, spontaneous behaviors, self-directed leisure time, general self-help, toileting skills, and eating skills. These skills are necessary for the individual to be self-sufficient in a general education classroom.
After the assessment is complete the analyst will then look at three components and use it as a guide for building programming. The analyst will most likely choose some skills from the milestones that need to be increased as well as creating programming to target the most intrusive barriers to learning that need to be decreased. The assessment will usually be conducted every 6-12 months as the individual develops more skills. This depends on how quickly the individual is acquiring skills. Once the individual has decreased most significant behaviors and has acquired a large portion of the milestones, the transitions will then be the primary guide when developing targets for programming.
The VB-MAPP is traditionally used with elementary age and younger learners. It can be used with older learners with fewer skill sets, however it might be more appropriate to utilize other assessments such as the Essentials for Living (EFL) or the Assessment of Functional Living Skills (AFLS). These assessments do target language, however also assess skills that an older individual might need more readily than the skills assessed in the VB-MAPP. For further information on the VB-MAPP or other assessments please contact your Behavior Analyst.