Motivation Assessment Scale glossary term

Stands for Motivation Assessment Scale. The Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS) is designed to help with a language-impaired person’s problem behaviors. An understanding of a person’s motivations becomes a guide for interventions, such as restructuring the environment or teaching that person skills for fulfilling personal needs in a more effective and productive way. The emphasis is on understanding, respect, and helping a person successfully negotiate their environment. This is an indirect assessment tool developed by Durand and Crimmins (1988 & 1992) used to assess possible functions of a target behavior. A relatively easy tool to administer, it assesses for the following functions: sensory, escape, attention, and tangible.

How do you score motivational assessments?

The Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS) is a 16-item questionnaire that addresses the situational determinants of self-injurious behavior in persons with autism and other developmental disorders. The assessment consists of 51 items presented in a checklist/questionnaire format, which comprise five subscales that each represent a possible function of behavior: sensory, escape demands, escape attention, attention, and tangible

Each question has six response options:

  • 0 = never
  • 1 = almost never
  • 2 = seldom
  • 3 = half the time
  • 4 = usually
  • 5 = almost always
  • 6 = always

Scores are calculated by summing the item ratings within a particular subscale/function and calculating the mean rating for that subscale.

Benefits of using the Motivation Assessment Scale:

  • Allows you to respond effectively to behavior
  • Quickly assesses motivation, i.e., the function of problem behavior
  • Improves positive behavioral interventions
  • The MAS is research-based, tested, and validated
  • Can easily be administered in educational and institutional settings
  • Has been used by psychologists and teachers since 1988

It is beneficial to provide a survey to several adults the student works with that way you can see if the behavior and motivators are varied in different settings.

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