Tips for Conducting the VB-MAPP

If your program is anything like mine, then you will be seeing a lot of the VB-MAPP. This assessment was used to conduct initial evaluations, as well as 3 year re-evaluations. If a student wasn’t due for either, my team and I would still pull out their most recent VB-MAPP and use it when it came time to writing IEP’s. 

Coming from an education background rather than an ABA one, the VB-MAPP was foreign to me when I started. I remember feeling overwhelmed and confused as heck when the weird abbreviated assessment was first thrown my way. My hope with this post (and my previous VB-MAPP blog post) is to help you create a mindset and routine that will bring success when conducting this assessment. The information it collects on each student is valuable in many ways, so hang in there and consider these tips as you move forward. 

1.) Make a Toolkit


The VB-MAPP has a lot going on. Big picture there are 3 different levels with up to 9 different operants (or skills) being assessed in each. It can be overwhelming to run because you need a plethora of random materials, you’re reading random prompts in the moment, and of course you’re trying to maintain momentum so that you keep a happy and engaged student. 


As a first year teacher, I would try to grab materials 5 minutes before I was planning to run some skills with a student. This didn’t always work out the best, and it only added stress on me and my day. Lucky for you all, The Autism Helper has created a one stop shop for all things VB-MAPP. I genuinely mean it when I say that this resource is the holy grail. It covers everything! Questionnaires, task cards for all three levels, data sheets, literally everything. Trust me when I say taking the time to make this toolkit will save you so much time in the end. 


2.) Fill in What You Know


Something my SLP and I try to do is find 10 minutes to sit down together before beginning the assessment. This is most likely while we shovel our lunches into our mouths or after school, surprise! By scanning through each operant with a counterpart who also works closely with your student, you can easily determine the skills you know your student has vs what you need to assess right off the bat. Disclaimer: I’m not telling you to guesstimate! If you know little Johnny is a wizard at puzzles and visual motor tasks, then use those observations and apply them to the assessment. Not only does this save you time by not having to run every single task, but it also paints a picture of where your student may be and the areas that you really want to focus in on as you assess.

3.) Give Yourself Time


I know you all have a million and seven things on your to-do list, but make sure to give yourself ample time to conduct this assessment. As we all know, no day is the same. Our students go through a lot, and sometimes that means you just aren’t going to be able to gather meaningful data. By planning ahead you are not just allowing yourself to take it easy, but you are also allowing your student time to shine! 


You will also find that your related service providers can help you complete the VB-MAPP. In order to be a good teammate and allow them to help, you must make sure they have time to squeeze the assessment into their sessions. So once again, plan ahead and pick a steady pace to get true and accurate data.

Reagan Strange, MSEd
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