A Journey to Life Skills
An Overview of Essential for Living [EFL]
The mission of Essential for Living is to provide children and adults with moderate-to-severe disabilities, including but not limited to autism, a comprehensive life skills curriculum with social validity, along with evidence-based teaching and measurement strategies and procedures, that result in the dignity and quality of life these children and adults deserve.
Essential for Living is available in English and Spanish; you can order it from our website http://essentialforliving.com/shop/; it will soon be available in Italian (2nd. printing) and Simplified (Mandarin) Chinese.
The Essential Eight Skills
[Pillar One of EFL]
Many children and adults with moderate-to-severe disabilities and limited skill repertoires experience deficits in the Essential Eight Skills:
- Making Requests [mands]
- Waiting after making requests
- Accepting Removals — Transitions, Sharing, and Taking Turns
- Completing Required Tasks — Completing Previous Acquired Tasks when asked to do so
- Accepting “No”
- Following Directions related to Health and Safety
- Completing Daily Living Skills related to Health and Safety
- Tolerating Skills related to Health and Safety
These skills are also known as ‘the must-have skills’ and are some of the first skills addressed in Essential for Living.
Many children and adults with moderate-to-severe disabilities and limited skill repertoires are not able to communicate effectively with ‘spoken words’ and require an alternative method of speaking (AMS). Chapter 6 of Essential for Living [EFL] describes and demonstrates a systematic set of procedures for selecting an alter-native, primary method of speaking [AMS] for a non-verbal child or adult. These procedures begin by designating the learner’s sensory, skill, and behavioral repertoires and displaying these repertoires on the Selection Diagram, a sheet of clear mylar included with the EFL handbook. This diagram is then used to compare these repertoires with those that tend to occur when each of 46 alternative methods of speaking is effective. In other words, a learner is ‘matched’ with methods of speaking that are often effective with learners with similar repertoires. Approximately 10-12 methods of speaking will have more repertoire matches and will emerge as candidates for an alternative method of speaking. Of these methods, some will retain more of the advantages of ‘spoken words’ for speakers than others, and some will result in a larger audience than others. Then, the relative importance of each of these three factors for a specific child or adult can be considered by instructional or treatment teams and used to select an alternative primary method of speaking for that learner that is more likely to be effective. Four sample cases are provided in Chapter 6.
We have very recently become aware that with some copies of the mylar, the Selection Diagram has been ‘stretched horizontally’ so that it is no longer the same size as the diagrams in chapter 6 of EFL for each of the 46 alternative methods of speaking. As a result, these copies can no longer be used as part of of the selection process. However, the New AMS Selection Tool to the rescue!! This tool, which updates and replaces the AMS Comparison Tool, permits users to bypass the Selection Diagram and, using the same procedures, quickly determine candidates for an alternative method of speaking for a non-verbal child or adult. This tool was developed by Hunter Williams and Eb Blakely. [ IF YOU WOULD LIKE A NEW COPY OF THE MYLAR, send a note requesting one, along with your mailing address, to email@example.com ].
The following is a link to the AMS Selection Tool:
Download the AMS Selection Tool and open the file. As you can see, this tool was developed using EXCEL and the product is an EXCEL file. This file, however, is not supported on an iPad or an iPhone.
If you see a box that asks about macros, you will need to select ‘enable macros’ to use this tool. If you see a box that is entitled Visual Basic for Applications, select END (if the same box appears a second time, select END again). Then, select the HELP boxes for instructions on using the AMS Selection Tool. You can highlight any of the methods that were selected with a color of your choice. You can also print the page when you are finished or save it with a learner’s initials for future reference.
The Speaker Initiative
Chapter 6 of Essential for Living [EFL] is dedicated to making certain that as many individuals with moderate-to-severe disabilities as possible become effective speakers and remain so for their entire lifetime. If you are working with a child or an adult who currently does not have an effective method of speaking, and you are able to select a method for them that becomes effective, please send us their story [firstname.lastname@example.org]. With respect for their privacy, we will celebrate your and their achievement on this website.
A Sample of the 3,100 Skills in EFL
Essential for Living is composed of 3,000 functional skills. The first three domains contain 1,900 Speaking and Listening Skills. The remaining four domains contain 1,100 Daily Living, Leisure, Vocational, Functional Academic, Tolerating, and Component Skills.
The following is a sample of these skills: click here
The Essential for Living APP
The Essential for Living web-based APP permits users to:
- conduct an assessment,
- record learner progress with respect to skills and problem behavior,
- summarize the extent of that progress, and
- prepare reports.
For access to the EFL APP: click here
For a free trial account, contact Liz Maher: email@example.com
The EFL APP will soon include these new features: a free Quick Assessment and a free assessment designed to determine if your learner needs an alternative method of speaking and which methods closely match their current skill repertoire.
How to Order EFL
You can order Essential for Living from this website http://essentialforliving.com/shop/ or from one of the following distributors…
From Latin America, you can order Essentiales para la Vida from Diana Vergara M.S., Diversitad https://diversitad.com/producto/esencialesparalavida/
From outside of Latin America, you can order Essentiales para la Vida from this website http://essentialforliving.com/shop/
You can also order Essential for Living and Esenciales para la Vida from Different Roads to Learning https://difflearn.com/pages/search-results-page?q=essential%20for%20living
You can also order Essential for Living from BALC (formerly Behavior Development Solutions) https://www.balcbookstore.com/products
If you are from Canada, you can also order Essential for Living from Caversham Booksellers https://www.cavershambooksellers.com
If you are from the UK, Europe, the Middle East, India, or Africa, you can order Essential for Living from Talking Autism https://www.talkingautism.co.uk/store/
How to Get Started
The Essential for Living Professional Practitioner’s Handbook can seem a bit overwhelming at first. But, the following information can help you get started:
The EFL Introduction and User Guide
An Introduction to Essential for Living, which also serves as a User Guide, is available in:
This document also includes the scoring grid for the EFL Quick Assessment, permitting new users to complete their first Quick Assessment prior to purchasing scoring manuals or subscriptions to the EFL APP.