Baseline: the starting point of therapy
The first thing that one does prior to beginning therapy is to take baseline information to determine the most appropriate goals you should develop. I am writing this blog as some clinicians are having difficulty writing these.
The American Speech and Hearing association defines baseline as” Extant or new data and information collected to verify that a suggested issue is of such magnitude that it requires action by the program. The Baseline Data are used to determine the quantitative level for the indicators of success and indicates how much change will occur if the desired outcome is achieved.”
Baseline should be
- Something that can be counted
- Stated it one sentence
- Indication of area of weakness ( what is their strength in their weakness?)
- Is specific ( so not student is low in expressive language but rather student is able to answer 30% of questions asked about the characters in a story that is read to him)
- Is for the entire time ( whole semester, whole IEP etc.) so this will not change over time but will be what the goal is measured from. THIS IS IMPORTANT! We don’t keep changing the starting line for a race and should not be changing it for our goals.
Here are some good baselines:
|Baseline level of performance: Rocky completed sentences using with the appropriate verb tense with 66% accuracy.|
|Goal: By the end of the semester, Rocky will increase her expressive language skills as evidenced by her ability to correctly use grammar to identify the event in the picture, which represents regular past tense verbs with 80% accuracy.|
You can see from the above Rocky had limited ability to do regular past tense so the goal is that she is able to do them with 80% accuracy an increase of 14% which is a good movement given 9 weeks of the semester.
|Baseline level of performance: At the beginning of the semester, Grace produced initial OR words with 77% accuracy as measured by The Entire World of R – Advanced Screening.|
|Goal: By the end of the semester, Grace will improve her production of OR as evidenced by her ability to produce initial OR at the single word level with 90% accuracy.|
|Baseline level of performance: At the beginning of the semester, Maggie did not ask any follow-upquestions across three conversations. The majority of her questions were used to move onto another aspect of the topic (e.g. moving from favorite animal to favorite pet) rather than seek further clarification.|
|Goal: By the end of the semester, Maggie will improve her conversational skills as evidenced by her ability to ask at least two follow-up questions during a conversation with the clinician.|
|Baseline level of performance: At the beginning of the semester, Shannon said “hi” and responded to the clinician’s greeting question and compliment, but did not return the question or compliment and never looked her conversational partner in the eyes.|
|Goal: By the end of the semester, Shannon will improve her social pragmatic skills as evidenced by her ability to execute a greeting script while looking the conversational partner in the eyes and accurately taking four conversational turns across three sessions when provided with visual supports.|
|Baseline level of performance: At the beginning of the semester, Kelly provided correct details for 3/5 of the sentences, selecting choices from previous questions when visual supports were not provided.|
|Goal: By the end of the semester, Kelly will improve her expressive language skills as evidenced by her ability to generate complete sentences to answer five basic questions about her school day across three sessions when provided with visual supports.|