A Journey to Life Skills with EFL… – Essential for Living, P.A.

A Journey to Life Skills with EFL…

Complimentary Q and A Sessions

Frequent complimentary ‘Question and Answer Sessions’ are conducted by Dr. McGreevy and the EFL Team.  For the next available sessions: https://www.efltraining.com/registration.
Upcoming sessions with Dr. McGreevy: Nov. 21 and 28; with Miguel Avila: Nov. 15.

If your group would like to schedule a session, send an email with your available  days and times to:
Dr. McGreevy                  patrick@essentialforliving.com
Troy Fry                            troy@essentialforliving.com
Miguel Avila                     miguel@essentialforliving.com
Emily Beal Wilkinson    emily@essentialforliving.com
Kristina Montgomery    kristina@essentialforliving.com


An Overview of Essential for Living [EFL]

The mission of Essential for Living [EFL] is to provide children and adults with moderate-to-severe disabilities, including but not limited to autism, a comprehensive curriculum referenced to ‘quality of life’, rather than typical development or academic standards, along with evidence-based teaching ‘and measurement‘ strategies and procedures, that result in the dignity and quality of life these children and adults deserve. An overview of EFL is provided in several languages:


Ordering Essential for Living from this Website

The Essential for Living Curriculum, Method of Speaking, Teaching, Data Collection, and Progress Monitoring materials include:

You can order these materials from our online store on this website http://essentialforliving.com/store/ or send a purchase order to office@essentialforliving.com

For delivery of the EFL Practitioner’s Handbook in Spanish to Latin America as a paper book, your order from our store will be re-directed to our trusted distributor in Colombia, who will take the order and deliver it to your location. The All Skills Learner Scoring Manual in Spanish as a paper book will be available for delivery to Latin America soon.

Orders for the Essential for Living handbook as an e-book in English and in Spanish, along with orders for The EFL APP in English (and soon in Spanish), and the AMS Selection Tool in English and soon in Spanish, will be redirected to our trusted partner, Data Makes the Difference.

Ordering Essential for Living from Other Sources

You can also order Essential for Living [EFL] and Esenciales para la Vida [EPV] as paper books from Different Roads to Learning  https://difflearn.com/pages/search-results-page?q=essential%20for%20living

You can also order Essential for Living in English [EFL] as a paper book from BALC (formerly Behavior Development Solutions) https://www.balcbookstore.com/products

If you are from Canada, you can also order Essential for Living in English [EFL] as a paper book 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 in English [EFL] as a paper book from Talking Autism  https://www.talkingautism.co.uk/store/

The Essential for Living Practitioner’s Handbook [EFL] and the All Skills Learner Scoring Manual [ARP] will be available in Italian (the 2nd. printing) and Simplified (Mandarin) Chinese soon. Plans are currently underway for making these resources available in Arabic and Hebrew.


Getting Started with Essential for Living

If you are new to Essential for Living, we suggest going to our YouTube Channel, which  contains several introductory videos which can be accessed by clicking here. 

Many people begin using Essential for Living without any formal training at all. They read the first four chapters of the handbook and, referring to pages 28, 29, and 39, begin conducting their first Quick Assessment of skill deficits.

Some people use the page facing page one of the EFL Handbook: http://essentialforliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/EFL-WhatandHow-BEST.pdf

Or they use the “Getting Started with EFL” video:

Others use the Essential for Living Introduction and User Guide which 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.

Still others use EFL Video III: Conducting An Assessment Skill Deficits and Tracking Learner Progress with Essential for Living click here.

If you’re feeling a bit OVERWHELMED…you’re not alone… 
give this a try….

Getting Started with Essential for Living: What, Why, and How

If you prefer to participate in one of our in-person or online training options, the following options are available… https://www.efltraining.com/learning-tools


The Essential Eight Skills
[and the Necessary Nine)

Many children and adults with moderate-to-severe disabilities and limited skill repertoires experience deficits in the Essential Eight Skills:

These skills are also known as ‘the must-have skills’ and are some of the first skills addressed in Essential for Living.

Recently, in our Teaching Manual http://essentialforliving.com/product/efl-teaching-manual, we acknowledged that leisure skills should have been considered ‘must-have skills’ and added to the ‘Essential Eight’, making this group of skills the ‘Necessary Nine‘.


 Selecting an Alternative Method of  Speaking

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 in the Essential for Living Practitioner’s Handbook [EFL] describes and demonstrates a systematic set of procedures for individualizing the selection of an alternative, 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 then comparing 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’ than others, and some will suggest the importance of a large, often unfamiliar audience, while others will suggest a small, familiar one. 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. Then, procedures are described to determine the extent to which the method selected is effective and likely to last a lifetime. Four sample cases are provided in Chapter 6.

The Alternative Method of Speaking (AMS) Selection Tool’

A new ‘AMS Selection Tool has been developed by Data Makes the Difference, the developers and distributors of the VB-MAPP APP and the EFL APP. This APP can be downloaded ‘free of charge’:



The Speaker Initiative

Chapter 6 of the Essential for Living Practitioner’s Handbook [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, send us their story office@essentialforliving.com. With respect for their privacy, we will celebrate your and their achievement on this website.



The Quick Assessment

On page 39 of the Essential for Living Practitioner’s Handbook [EFL], you will find a description of how to use the EFL Quick Assessment. The printed forms used in completing this assessment can be found at: http://essentialforliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/EFL-QuickAssessForms.pdf

This assessment can also be completed on the EFL APP (see the next section).


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: liz@eflapp.com

The new Alternative Method of Speaking (AMS) Selection Tool has been revised and is still part of the EFL APP. It is, however, now available as a separate APP ‘free of charge’:



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 First Five Skills

We often suggest that new users begin with one child or adult and consider teaching these first five skills: http://essentialforliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/EFL-FirstFivePlForm.


The Scope and Sequence of EFL

The scope and sequence of Essential for Living are described in this document: http://essentialforliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/EFL-ScopeandSequence.pdf


Please make note of
our new Mailing Address:

Essential for Living, P.A.
19101 Limestone Commercial Drive

Suite 150  PMB #185
Pflugerville, TX. 78660

The NEW AMS Selection Tool is now available ‘free of charge’ individualize the selection of an alternative method of speaking
for non-verbal children and adults


NEW COURSE: 8-Hour Intro to EFL

Learn More & Free Samples!


EFL in Spanish is NOW available in our store
for delivery to North America & Europe http://essentialforliving.com/shop/
and for delivery to Latin America

Workshops in SPANISH !!!
Miguel Avila will help…
online or in-person events…
SPECIAL PRICES !!!  miguel@essentialforliving.com

For a free trial account of the EFL APP liz@eflapp.com