ABLLS: What Is It & Why Do I Need It - The Autism Helper

ABLLS: What Is It & Why Do I Need It

Categories: Curriculum Ideas | Data

ABLLS stands for the assessment of basic language and learning skills. It’s an assessment, curriculum guide, and tracking program for children with language delays. It’s used very commonly with children with autism and cognitive disabilities. If you have been in the field for a while or hung around The Autism Helper block you have heard my reference this assessment frequently. I LOVE this assessment for my students who are lower functioning or have emerging verbal/academic skills. The skill set is focused on a typically developing kindergartener. {Purchase our ABLLS Resource Kit Here}

Why is this assessment so useful?

This assessment gives such valuable knowledge of what skill sets your student is missing. In doing so it gives great insight into what you should be writing for IEP goals or program goals. This has been especially helpful for the students I have had for a few years and aren’t quite sure where to go next. The other reason I love this assessment is you can update the progress tracking chart to show progress. It gives this incredible visual depiction of growth (that parents love!).

How is the ABLLS organized?

So basically there are 26 skill areas (ranging from visual performance to labeling to reading). Within the skill that there are a bunch of tasks. You rate how well the student can accomplish the task with the rubric. If they can’t do it at all you leave it blank. The rubric will indicate how many boxes to fill in if they can somewhat do the task.

The Autism Helper - ABLLS

Once you go through all of the tasks your progress tracking sheet will look something like this:


While I go through this assessment, I find it gets overwhelming with how many goal ideas I could use. I always keep plenty of post its near by to start a list of significant areas of difficultly I am finding.



How can you track progress with the ABLLS?

Now the cool part: the color you fill out the form with is associated with a date. Every few months or twice a year you can update this to show progress. The next time you fill it out – use a new color. This has a great visual cue of how much progress your student has made. Check out my student’s rockstar progress: (the orange and blue are two different assessment dates since I have had him as a student and the gray is his baseline when he came to me)


You can get the ABLLS from Amazon for $65.00. We convinced our  principal to get it for us two years ago – I recommend that approach 🙂

Ready to learn even more about the ABLLS?

The Autism Helper ABA experts have been working really hard on implementing the ABLLS with a wide range of types of students. They have compiled a great list of tips and tricks for completing this assessment. It can be time consuming but there are some simple ways to make it efficient and doable. Follow our posts all week to learn more about the ABLLS. 


Love the ABLLS but hate the prep?

Grab our ABLLS Resource Kit which contains everything you need to implement the ABLLS in an organizing and efficient way!

Sasha Long
Latest posts by Sasha Long (see all)


  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE! Thank you Sasha! my eyes open the rest of the week! 🙂 wanna know everything!
    Tc desiree

  2. I love this post! We have access to ABLLS, but I wasn’t directly trained in using it. My paras have lots of experience with it. I JUST attending a VB MAPP training 2 weeks ago- very similar to ABLLS, and we got a free protocol! I will be tracking your posts this week to learn all I can about it, as I want and need to learn all I can on using this approach!
    I see your kiddo’s progress- great work!

  3. Being fairly new to implementing the ABLLS, I am looking for tips on how to best run the assessment in the beginning stages. Do you have a strategy you like? Do you complete all the A’s then move on to B’s and so on? Or do you find yourself skipping around a bit? Its a bit daunting when you have the whole book sitting in front of you so any ideas on tackling it would be great! Thanks!

  4. Great! Enjoy 🙂

  5. Love the VB-MAPP! Posts on that coming soon!

  6. Hi Sasha! This product looks amazing! I have older students and do the AFLS; would you have a product like this to go along with that assessment?


  7. When your student has a triennial do you use ABLS to assess them or another standard test?

  8. Any chance you will create a VB-MAPP resource kit?

  9. Any chance you will be creating a VB-Mapp resource kit?? I need one!!!

  10. I am trying to convince my SPED supervisor to let me use the ABLLS. We are required to link all assessments to the CCSS. Do you think this can be done?

  11. In the works 🙂

  12. Yep! I reassess with the ABLLS about every year 🙂

  13. Already in the works 🙂

  14. Yes! I think you need to clarify how identifying skill deficits will lead to bigger skill gains (ie. CCSS). Many of the tasks can easily be aligned to lower grade CCSS. If you teach mid or late elementary and the ABLLS is still a good fit – I always try to show how these very, very basic tasks are actually the most foundational level of the advanced grade-level CCSS goal. Does that make sense? Hope this helps 🙂

  15. Hi Sasha, how do you get access to ABLLS? Is it just a question for administration? I’ve never heard of it before from anyone on my team but I’m interested in looking in to it. Thank you!

  16. Hi Sasha,

    I have the old version of the ABLLS Protocol instead of the revised one. Would it still work with your ABLLS kit?

  17. Hi Tammy – The tasks are all roughly the same but the task numbers don’t always line up. I have a link with a conversion that will help you if you still want to use it. All the tasks are there – it will just be the numbers that don’t sync. Hope this helps!

  18. Hi Sasha,
    I have the ABLLS R Protocol in 2books , but I don’t have Ablls kit . I’m speech language consultant , Arabic language . Can I purchase your ABLLS kit to work with it in the speech center in saudia where I work? Pls let us know how we can get your kit . Thanks

  19. Yes, definitely! It will still be a great assessment tool. Once you purchase, I am happy to send you an editable version if you’d like to edit the language.

  20. Have you posted a VB-MAPP resource kit? Where can I find it?

  21. Ugh I am still working on it!! Hoping to get it done soon!!

  22. Sasha I want to buy this
    Mum of 12 yrs old child with autism
    Live in Pakistan
    Get some technical issue at the site teachers pay teachers
    How can I pay u and get it shipped to one of my relative house in USA …plz reply urgently as the person is coming on 30th Jan to Pakistan I will be obliged
    Dr aniqa

  23. Hi Sasha!
    I love your blog and have learned so much! I know you offer the ABLLS Resouce Kit but I was wondering if you sell the binders premade? Thanks in advance!

  24. I don’t unfortunately. Thanks for asking!

  25. Is there a main reason why people would use the VBMAPP and not the ABBLS-R? Or vice-versa? I am trying to understand why and how I would choose to run one over the other. Thank you

  26. I love both assessments! I think it’s personal preference, age of leaner, and types of goals you are looking to write that depend on which assessment you choose!

  27. Hi, I am wondering about the ABLLS assessment is this appropriate for all children on the autism spectrum. What skills does this evaluate?

  28. Thank you Sasha. I inquired about this because I am a mom of a child on the spectrum and have grave concerns about the tools being used to evaluate my child’s progress. I was told that a particular assignment/ group of assignments were selected because they align with ablls assessment yet I find the assignments as a parent and a parent with an education, difficult to understand, busy and difficult to track for me. I am sure if I find them challenging how is my child finding them. If this is the tools used to evaiuate my child what are the results?
    Garbage in garbage out. My point was that the ablls is not prescriptive.


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