The Rationale for Using VABS
As a developmental disability, autism is one of the most complex. As a medical neurological disorder, it is one of the most perplexing. As a hindrance to successful social interactions, autism is one of the devastating conditions. But it is possible to help autistic individuals to live relatively normal and independent lives. The key is early intervention. Early intervention, however, implies early detection of the presence of this type of pervasive developmental disorder. The use of the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale or VABS has been proven to be effective in the detection of autism. Specifically, the social behavioral domains that are measured in VABS will reveal scores that can easily distinguish autism from other types of disabilities, including mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and learning disabilities.
Gillham and his colleagues conducted one of the studies that proved the high discriminant validity of the VABS in year 2000. The study involved 95 children, ages 4 to 13, who suffer from a type of developmental disorder. Forty-four of these children were previously diagnosed with autism and the rest have other types of developmental disorders. The autistic group of children scored the lowest in the first three domains of VABS (Communication, Daily Living Skills, and Socialization). There are no significant differences among the children when it comes to the fourth domain, Motor Skills. And interestingly, in the fifth and optional domain of VABS, which is called Maladaptive Behaviors, the autistic group of children garnered the highest scores. The study, which was published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorder (volume 30), is one of the evidences of the ability of VABS to screen autism.