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Posts Tagged ‘BCaBA’

Here at Applied Behavioral Strategies, our mission is to improve the quality of life through effective intervention. One way we hope to do that is by reviewing research articles for our readers. Today’s article is titled, “Replicating Milgrim”. The author, Jerry Burger, published the study in the journal, American Psychologist.

Study Purpose

The purpose of Dr. Burger’s study was to replicate the work of Milgram whose study series is known to many. (In case you are thinking–“who the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks” is Milgram, think back to the study where the supervisor told the participants to shock the “client” and the study participants did! Repeatedly!!). Psychologists now refer to those studies as the Obedience Studies.

Burger wondered, if after all these years of education, training, human compassion, and so forth, if, in fact, people today would engage in the same behavior. Burger took several steps to ensure the safety of participants in the study (yes, the ones who would be giving shock to the “learner”)

Study Methods

Participants included 29 men and 41 women with a mean age of 42 years. Participants were promised $50 for their time (two 45-minute sessions). Participants learned that they earned the money even if they withdrew from the study. Participants who were familiar with the experiment or who had extensive psychology training were excluded from the study. Experimenters then screened the remaining participants for any possible mental health condition or a reasons that may have resulted in a negative or harmful reaction from participating in the study. Researchers told participants they could quit at any time and that they could be videotaped at any time. Researchers assigned participants to one of two conditions.

The base condition consisted of the participant meeting the experimenter and the confederate (inside experimenter with knowledge of the study). The experimenter explained to the participant and the confederate that they would be in a study. He then paid both of them to give the impression that the study was randomized. Then he had them “draw” to determine who would be the teacher and who would be the learner. The “drawing” was rigged so that the participant always served as the teacher.

 

The experimenter then strapped the confederate in to the chair and attached the electrodes all the while explaining to the participant why he completed his step (e.g., to keep from burning him). Next, the experimenter told the confederate to learn the pairs of words. The experimenter told the confederate that the participant would be testing him and if he missed any answers, he would be administered a shock.

Next the experimenter taught the participant how to administer a shock. He provided a small one to the participant if he/she wanted one. The experimenter told the participant to administer a shock following each incorrect answer. He also instructed the participant to increase the intensity of the shock following each incorrect answer. Finally, the experimenter told the participant the importance of following study procedures .

The modeled refusal condition consisted of the participant meeting the experiment and 2 confederates. One confederate served as a teacher alongside the participant and the other confederate served as the learner. In this condition, the participant observed another “teacher” following the protocol. In this condition, the “teacher” (who happened to be the same gender as the participant) acted scared of the study after the first shock and then after the second shock decided that he/she would quit. The experimenter then allowed the participant to take over and continue as in the base condition.

In both conditions, the researchers enforced strict rules for ending the experiment and keeping the participant safe.

Results

In the base condition 12 out of 18 men and 16 out of 22 women (70% total) continued to administer shock treatments, despite the cries and yelps from the confederate. Meanwhile in the modeled refusal condition, 6 out of 11 men and 13 out of 19 women continued to administer shock treatments.

The researchers completed several personality assessments on the participants and used those results in additional analyses. Statistical analysis did not find any difference between scores on empathy. However statistical analysis revealed differences among participants with a strong desire for control in that they were more likely to stop the study.

Sadly, participants today responded very similarly to those participants in the 1960s.

Take Home Points

As behavior analysts, behavior analysts in training, teachers, and parents, use caution when you are instructed to implement a procedure that you may disagree with. As demonstrated in this study, humans are more likely to follow orders rather than stand up and refuse or question the treatment. When our children are being shocked (as those in Judge Rotenberg Center), restrained, and secluded, perhaps we should seek a 2nd opinion. Isn’t that what we do in medicine when we question a recommendation?

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I (Missy) have started teaching a course for the University of Saint Joseph in their approved BCBA coursework. I am super excited the opportunity. However, instead of teaching

Ethics for Behavior Analysts: 2nd Expanded Edition

instructional methodology like I usually do, I’m teaching the course on Ethical and Professional issues. This topic is not new to me because Rebecca and I have been conducting a number of workshops and webinars on Ethical Issues. But, prepping for and teaching a semester-long course on Ethical Issues is new to me.

I hope to use case studies to expose these professionals in training to many situations. What I would like from my readers is some assistance with case studies. I plan on using the Association for Professional Behavior Analysts and of course I have the best book by Bailey and Burch. But I would love add more case studies. So, take a few minutes and post about an ethical or professional issue regarding behavior analysis. This could be from a BCBA who has been placed in a difficult situation, this could be from a teacher or building principal who has seen a behavior analyst make an unethical decision, this could be from a parent who was placed in a difficult situation by a behavior analyst.

I want to thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide!

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Our mission is to improve quality of life through effective interventions. One way we achieve this mission is to provide on-going continuing education webinars for behavior analysts. While the courses are designed specifically for behavior analysts, anyone with an interest is welcome to participate as long as they understand that we will not “water down content” for beginners.

Upcoming topics include:

  • July 12th- Augmentative and Alternative Communication and Ethics for Behavior Analysts
  • August 16th- Ethical Issues in Supervising and Training Behavior Analysts and Behavior Therapists
  • September 15th- Critical Skills for Social Success
  • October 20th- Using ABA to Address Feeding
  • November 17th- Special Education Law and Ethics for Behavior Analysts
  • December 15th – iPad Applications and Computer Assisted Instruction (Saturday)

We offer price reductions for agencies registering three or more participants. We also offer special prices for individuals sharing a computer during the webinar. Please visit our website to register for webinars (http://appliedbehavioralstrategies.com/workshops.html ). Please email us at info at appliedbehavioralstrategies dot com for additional information.

Thanks!

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Hi and welcome to Ask Missy Mondays where I respond to a question from readers regarding a behavioral problem. Recently, I was asked, “Where have you and Rebecca been? We have missed the regular blog postings.”

Busy IEP Season

In all honesty, neither Rebecca or I followed our own advice regarding Individualized Education Program (IEP) season. We both had a number of annual reports to submit in preparation for meetings.Those reports need to show how much progress our clients have made over the past year and we need to document our clients’ present level of performance (PLOPs) for the schools’ IEPs.

Independent FBAs

However, in addition to those items, we have both been asked to complete Independent Educational Evaluations (IEEs) of behavior. It is not uncommon for a school to complete a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) as required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA). But the IDEIA also affords the family a right to an independent FBA should they disagree with the findings from the school FBA. Independent FBAs also take substantial time.

Conferences

Both of us have been conferencing. First we had the Association of Behavior Analysts Annual Convention in Seattle. This conference is a must for behavior analysts or anyone interested in the field of behavior analysis. Days are filled with research, practical application, and behavior analysis across contexts while nights are filled with socialization and mingling with other behavior analysts (about 5,000 of your closest friends). While there, we conducted a day-long workshop on Special Education Law and Ethical responsibilities for behavior analysts. We also presented ethical responsibilities for completing FBAs, Behavior Intervention Plans (BIP), and the proposed law on restraint and seclusion.

Region 17 invited me to speak at their Autism Conference in Lubbock, Texas. If you live in the area, this is a conference that should not be missed. Anna Phillips runs an amazing conference with great speakers and a wide variety of topics. The exhibitors are also great and participants can purchase books, teaching materials, and even fun jewelry. I presented on behavioral feeding techniques, data collection, and using the iPad to teach communication, language, and academic skills.

Webinars

We offer continuing education for Board Certified Behavior Analysts and we try to offer a topic each month. We have recently completed webinars on Special Education Law and Using the iPad to Teach. While the webinars are designed for behavior analysts, anyone is welcome to attend. If you are interested in our upcoming webinars, check out our website for additional information or for registration instructions.

We Are Hiring!

Finally, Applied Behavioral Strategies continues to get referrals for ABA therapy, behavioral feeding therapy, and assessments. Because of all of these referrals, we are in need of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (or two) as well as good front line therapists. So, if you like what we do, please consider applying for a position. If you live in Connecticut, contact me directly. If you live in or near Austin, contact Rebecca.

So, we apologize for our absence in recent weeks but we appreciate your on-going support.

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Hi and welcome to Ask Missy Mondays where I respond to email questions from readers who have questions about their child’s behavior. Today’s question comes from a participant in our workshop on Saturday. After reviewing Special Education Law and the associated ethical issues for practicing behavior analysts, the following question came up:

“How do we attend IEP meetings and participate without taking sides? We cannot be on the school’s side and we cannot be on the parents’ side.”

We have no choice but to turn to our “Ethics Bible” to help us answer this question. We use the Bailey and Burch (2011) “Ethics for Behavior Analysts“. We feel strongly that every behavior analyst should have this book and they should keep it out where they can easily access it (paperback is much cheaper). The book reviews the Guidelines for Responsible Conduct that were developed by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (and to which all behavior analysts agree to follow). The book also provides illustrative case examples to help behavior analysts avoid finding themselves in sticky situations.

Responsibility to Client

In this book, you will see that Guideline 2.0 states, “The behavior analyst has a responsibility to operate in the best interest of the client.” Thus, when you attend IEP, IFSP, and other relevant meetings, your first concern belongs to the client you serve. While you may be paid by one party, any contract you sign at the outset of services, should clearly state that you have a responsibility to the client, even if it means that your professional recommendations do not align with  the party who pays your salary.

Responsibility to Other Parties

If you go on to read, you will see that Guideline 2.03 states, “The behavior analyst’s responsibility is to all parties affected by behavioral services.” Now you will see that you also have a responsibility to the parents as they are directly affected by your behavioral services. However, if you serve your client in the school setting, now you have a responsibility to the school as well. If you find yourself caught in the middle of the parents and the school, your number one priority is your client so act on his/her behalf.

Client Rights Under the Law

Finally, Guideline 2.06 states, “the behavior analyst supports individual rights under the law.” As a behavior analyst who works in schools, you have the responsibility to become educated on the laws that affect your client. You have a duty to ensure that you follow those laws and that you support your clients rights under those laws. If you do not know special education law and want to learn more, consider enrolling in one of our workshops on this topic. We will be conducting a day-long workshop at the ABA International Conference in Seattle and we will offer our webinar again in the fall.

In summary, if you find yourself stuck in the middle between parents and the school, remember, your first responsibility is to the client and then you have equal responsibility to the parents and the school team.

How many of our fellow behavior analysts have been in this position? I have to also ask, how many fellow teachers have been put in this position? Teachers, too, have responsibilities to their students. They often find it difficult to advocate for the child when they know how expensive services can be. Readers, how have you handled these predicaments?

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Hi and welcome to Ask Missy Mondays where I respond to email questions from readers who have questions about their child’s behavior. Today’s question comes from Margaret who asks,

“Someone recently suggested that our child’s teacher use ABA in her classroom. Our child does not have a disability, let alone autism. Why on earth would someone be suggesting that our teacher use a special education strategy on our child?”

Margaret, I first want to thank you for your question. It is great that you found our blog and this is a perfect place to raise your question about ABA. It is funny that you would ask this because we recently included the topic in one our myths about ABA. You can read the entire post regarding misconceptions of ABA here.

ABA has been used to teach a variety of skills, with a variety of research participants, including adults, children, people with autism, individuals with behavior disorders, and individuals with cognitive disabilities. ABA is used to train animals, including dogs, pigeons, and rats.

So, back to your question regarding your child’s teacher using ABA….How can (or how has) ABA been used in general education?

Fluency

ABA has been used to help children become fluent in a skill they have recently acquired. For example, in kindergarten, children can be reinforced for quickly identifying letters of the alphabet. This skill can continue in to first grade when students may be reinforced for making the letter sound quickly when they see the letter or letter blends. In second grade, students can improve their fluency with math facts by receiving reinforcement for answering them more quickly. (Note: this is exactly the process that occurs in the activity called Mad Minute).

Classroom Behavior Management

ABA has also been used successfully to improve classroom behaviors. Anyone who has spent any time in a public school classroom knows the difficulties of managing the students’ behaviors. Thank you ABA for helping teachers do this! The Good Behavior Game, The Marble Jar, Ticket Reward Systems, and The Color Card System (Green, Yellow, and Red) all have roots in ABA.

On-Task Behavior

ABA has also been used to teach individuals to remain on task in general education settings. From simple self-monitoring plans to more complex teacher-implemented reinforcement systems, ABA works to keep students on task.

In summary, ABA can be used effectively to change behavior whether the focus is on students with disabilities or individuals with no learning problems whatsoever. The key is to identify the behavior to be changed, implement techniques to have the desired effect on the behavior, and then monitor changes with systematic data collection to make certain the behavior heads in the appropriate direction.

And now, I’m off to call Rebecca to see if we can change our company tag line, “ABA, it’s not just for children with disabilities!”

If you have a behavior question for Missy, email askmissy at applied behavioral strategies dot com.

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The ARI Conference was held this weekend in Newark, NJ. If you have never made it to an ARI Conference, you should put it on your list of things to do if you are a parent or caregiver of someone with autism.

The Conference Overview

The conference offers practitioner seminars on Thursday and Friday. A nutrition session is available on Saturday. Then, there is a General Session available on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This year, an adult track was offered on Sunday. If that is not enough, the conference also offers free workshops on Thursday and Friday evening plus Demo Room sessions are available throughout the day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Plus (yes, there is more) there are many wonderful exhibitors including TACA, Autism Speaks, and Nourish Life, the makers of the Speak supplement (just to name a few).

Learning in Action

As a practicing behavior analyst with many years of education and experience “under my belt”, I (Missy) continue to learn something new at each conference. This year:

  • I picked up a complimentary copy of Dr. Herbert’s new book, The Autism Revolution.
  • I also learned about the importance of seeds. Who knew that ground flax seed was such an excellent source of prebiotic in addition to fiber and Omega 3s?
  • I learned that acid reflux may not always be caused by overproduction of acid. In fact, it could be caused by under production of acid!
  • I also learned that nutritional deficiencies (e.g., zinc) can alter the way food tastes and smells. This may lead to picky eating which may exacerbate nutritional deficiencies.
  • I ran in to several families who have successfully graduated from one of our feeding clinics. I love hearing about client progress and maintenance!
  • Finally, I learned that rice may have arsenic in it!

Picky Eating Free Workshop

I co-presented on Thursday evening with Vicki Kobliner of Holcare Nutrition. We covered the topic of dealing with picky eaters, a problem we see in as many as 50% of the children with autism. Vicki talked about the importance of evaluating any underlying medical issues before starting feeding therapy. This includes things like reflux or constipation. Vicki also talked about the importance of assessing for nutritional deficiencies and food allergies prior to starting therapy. I presented on the behavioral procedures for getting children to eat. This included changing antecedents to make sure the child is hungry, teaching new behaviors such as sitting at the table to eat, and changing consequences such as reinforcing children for trying new foods.

Who is in charge?Challenging Behavior Free Workshop

I presented on how to address challenging behavior on Friday evening. In this workshop I helped participants understand that behavior is supposed to be addressed through the IEP process. I helped them learn what to look for in an FBA. I taught them how the FBA is used to develop an IEP. The participants learned how to develop a BIP together with school staff and behavior analysts. This included learning to modify the antecedents to prevent the behavior from happening, teaching a replacement behavior such as communication, and changing the consequences so that we stop reinforcing challenging behavior.

Pill Swallowing in the Demo Room

I taught several parents how to teach their children to swallow pills. I taught them to use a stimulus fading approach so that their child learns to swallow small things without chewing. Over time, the objects get bigger until they are swallowing placebo capsules. I enjoyed my time in the demo room where other practitioners taught parents how to shop safely for gluten free and dairy free products, how to inject B12 shots, and how to prepare for your doctor’s appointment.

Education Plans

On Sunday, I taught parents how to make the most of their educational programs. Children under the age of 3 have different rights and policies than children over the age of 3. It is important for parents to know their rights so that they may advocate effectively for their children. Parents learned about a few resources to help them in this process. Some of the resources included COPAA, PACER, NICHCY, and Wright’s Law.

If any of my readers attended and want to chime in, please comment about what you learned or what your favorite part was. Mark your calendars for the fall conference to be held in Orange County October 11-14, 2012.


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