Start Me Up

Essential For Living
Essential for Living (EFL) is our functional, life skills curriculum, assessment, and professional practitioner’s handbook for children and adults with moderate-to-severe disabilities. The second printing is now available with improved formatting and navigation. Also, we have a new learner scoring manual for ‘just’ The Essential Eight Skills and Problem Behavior, a major focal point of the instrument.

Essential for Living (EFL) is based on an extensive body of research literature from special education, along with the concepts, principles, and empirically-validated procedures from Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and from B. F. Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior. Essential for Living, however, requires no previous knowledge or experience with ABA or verbal behavior. It can be used in conjunction with other curricula, including The VB-MAPP, PECS, The ABLLS-R, The Lovaas Curriculum, A Work in Progress, The Early Start Denver Model, The ACE Curriculum, The Murdoch Center Program Library, and The MOVE Curriculum.

Essential for Living (EFL) is designed for teachers, speech-language pathologists, behavior analysts, behavior specialists, curriculum coordinators, providers of residential and vocational services, and support coordinators who work with children and adults with moderate-to-severe disabilities. It is especially suited for individuals with limited skill repertoires, limited-to-no speaking skills, and/or severe problem behavior. For special educators who must respond to the Common Core State Standards, the language and functional academic skills of Essential for Living are linked to these standards.

Do I need Essential for Living?
If you are working with children or adults with moderate-to-severe disabilities, including, but not limited to, autism, who…

  • exhibit one or more SEVERE PROBLEM BEHAVIORS, but do not exhibit THE ESSENTIAL 8 SKILLS: (1) Making Requests, (2) Waiting, (3) Accepting Removals, (4) Completing Required Tasks, (5) Accepting ‘No’, (6) Following Directions, (7) Completing Daily Living Skills, (8) Tolerating Everyday Situations
  • need a comprehensive functional, life skills curriculum, assessment, and skill-tracking instrument that emphasizes… Speaking Skills, Listener Responding, Daily Living Skills, Tolerating Specific Situations, Social Skills, Vocational Skills, Leisure Skills, Reducing Problem Behavior, and that is sensitive to very small increments of learner progress

AND you need a comprehensive, practitioner’s manual that will help you develop IEPs and ISPs, guide instruction, manage problem behavior, and record learner progress…

To order Essential for Living, click here.

Essential for Living is the Most Innovative and Comprehensive
Instrument of its Kind on the Market Today!


If you’re new to EFL…here’s A Brief Introductory Video  click here.

Here’s also A Description of the Components of EFL, some of which are not included in any other curriculum or assessment instrument, click here.

Here are the Two Pillars of EFL, on which the entire instrument rests click here.

And, here is A Sample of the 3,000 Skills in EFL click here and… A Description of the EFL Performance Criteria used to measure ‘learner performance’ during an initial assessment of skills deficits and ‘small increments of learner progress’ during instruction click here

Before you get started, here’s A Description of What to Expect from EFL and How to Get Started click here.

As you get started, here’s The ‘Start Me Up” EFL Introduction and User Guide click here.

And, here’s two videos to guide you as you get started, one on Becoming Familiar with EFL and the other on Conducting An Assessment and Recording Learning Progress click here.

As you begin to conduct your first assessment, here is a description of the Performance Levels used to record learner performance during skill assessments  and subsequent learner progress click here.

And, here are the Self-graphing Data Sheets that you might find useful click here.

And…here are Companion Teaching Manuals that you might find useful click here.

To order the Essential for Living handbook or Learner Scoring here.