How to Use Curricula for Effective ABA Treatment Plans

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As Behavior Analysts, we have a strong understanding of HOW people learn. Our science gives us incredible tools to customize our teaching approach to meet learners’ diverse skill sets.

But let’s not forget – while ABA answers the HOW, we must also determine WHAT to teach.

So how do we get started? The good news is, there are amazing curricula available commercially, so there is no need to reinvent the wheel.

And when we find the right materials, scope, and sequence, we can focus on what we do best – presenting the content in a way that is effective for our learners, and analyzing their ongoing progress in a meaningful way.

Identifying and Operationalizing Curricula for Learners with ASD

Dr. Stacey Shook, BCBA-D, QBA, IBA, LBA, Director of Northwest Behavioral Associates, has created a process for selecting commercially available curricula, and using them to develop individualized curricula with meaningful data collection protocols.  She encourages fellow BCBAs to do the same, following these 6 steps:

  1. Refer to the developmental scope and sequence to determine the target domain/skill
  1. Cross reference your learner’s current skill repertoire with the developmental scope and sequence and identify missing component skills:
  2. Account for learner’s unique learning history 
  3. Account for meaningful use of the skill in learner’s current and future environments
  4. Consider age, educational placement, community integration, and family dynamics
  1. Consider component skill “branches” and create an individual scope and sequence for the target domain/skill for the learner
  1. Evaluate the learner’s current goals and intervention package dosage to determine the number of new programs that can be introduced
  1. Review your organization’s available curricula, materials, and data collection templates to use/modify
  1. Start writing! Make sure you know the question you are asking, so you can develop appropriate data collection measures

Sample Curricula used at Northwest Behavioral Associates

We’ve compiled a list of some of Dr. Shook’s favorite commercially available curricula for learners with ASD. We hope you can use this list to build a robust materials library for your organization!

Did you know? All Motivity customers have access to the NBA Community Library, which contains data collection templates for these curricula, and more. Schedule a demo to see it in action. 


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Cara Lechleiter
Director of Sales