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Posts Tagged ‘BCaBA’

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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The Connecticut Association for Behavior Analysis (CT ABA) is tomorrow. Are you registered? Missy will be speaking on Special Education Laws and the Ethical Issues for Behavior Analysts. Rebecca will be speaking about how to use Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to teach social skills to children with autism.

The conference committee has lined up other great speakers too. These include Dr. Bill Heward, Dr. Richard Graff, Dr. Kathleen Dyer, Dr. Judith Ursitti, and Dr. Amy Odum. Participants will earn Continuing Education Credits plus lunch is included.

Applied Behavioral Strategies will have a booth so please stop by to see us between sessions.

Enjoy the conference!

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We posted an answer to a question yesterday. As a result, we have been contacted with additional questions leading us to realize that many of our readers are in the dark about special education services. We thought we would provide readers with some background information as well as some additional resources to put in your tool chests.

Eligibility for Special Education Services

If an individual between age 3 and 21 years of age has one of 14 diagnosed disabilities and that disability impacts that person’s ability to benefit from education, he or she may be eligible for special education services from the Local Education Agency (LEA–usually the school district).

The 14 conditions include Autism, Deaf-blindness, Deafness, Hearing impairment, Mental retardation, Multiple disabilities, Orthopedic impairments, Other health impaired (which includes ADD and ADHD), Emotional disturbance, Specific learning disability, Speech or language impairment, Traumatic brain injury, Visual impairment, including blindness, or Developmental Delay (but only up to age 9).

Developing the IEP

Once the child has been determined eligible for services, the team (including the parent/guardian) work collaboratively to develop a plan for services. This plan is called the Individualized Educational Program (IEP).

The IEP is made up of several important parts including goals and objectives, type and amount of special education services, need for assistive technology, need for behavior support, and list of related services including type and amount.

Related Services

As we discussed yesterday, the federal law lists a number of possible related services. These services include: Audiology, Counseling, Early Identification and Assessment, Medical Services, Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physical Therapy (PT), Orientation and Mobility, Parent Counseling and Training, Psychological, Recreation, Rehabilitation, School Health, Social Work, Speech Pathology, Transportation, Interpreters, and Assistive Technology.

It is important to note that the federal law specifically states that the services include those listed but that services are not limited to those listed. What does that mean…Not limited to?

Well, that means that your child may receive other services under Related Services. As we mentioned yesterday, the services are determined based on your child’s needs. Thus, the IEP should carefully document what your child needs in order to benefit from education. Some examples of other related services include:

  • Nutrition
  • Medical services that are not limited to an MD
  • Music therapy

ABA as a Related Service

And of course, our favorite related service is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Yes, ABA may be listed in your child’s IEP as a related service. In fact, so many children in Connecticut have ABA as a service that the state actually has a law that will go in to effect this year related to who must supervise the individuals providing the ABA services to children with IEPs.

As we approach IEP season, make time to participate actively in the development of your child’s IEP. Work diligently to ensure that the document carefully reflects all of your child’s needs. Make certain that your child receives all of the related services that he/she (or you) need in order to benefit from education.

If you like the information here, you may find other resources on this same topic to be helpful.

 

Let's BEE Friends

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Hi and welcome to Ask Missy Mondays where I respond to email questions from readers who have questions about behavior. Today’s question actually comes from a list serve rather than an actual email to me directly.

A number of parents have been discussing the issue of scream rooms or seclusion timeout rooms. If you are interested in reading about this more, please check out our previous posts on the topic here, here, here, and here.

As part of the discussion about these rooms, a number of people mentioned the importance of having a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) done combined with developing an appropriate behavior plan. Other people then posted about the importance of a functional analysis. That is when a parent asked,

“Could you please explain the difference between an FBA (functional behavior assessment) and a Functional Analysis?” “Also, please explain who can do a functional analysis and why it’s important you get a qualified person to do it.”

We have written about FBAs on this blog before. We described an FBA here, we described when to do an FBA here, and we reviewed some legal cases on FBA here.

So, for a recap, remember:

The FBA is a multi-step process that may include some or all of the following:
A good FBA will include a graph summarizing the observations and/or functional analysis.
The FBA should result in a statement or statements that tell you WHY the child is engaging in the behavior.
Additionally, according to federal special education law, an FBA must be completed under these conditions:
  • If, during the IEP meeting, the team determines that the child has a behavior that is impeding his/her learning (or that of others)
  • If the child’s placement needs to become more restrictive because of the challenging behaviors
  • If the child’s behavior has resulted in an emergency change of placement
  • As part of the initial and full evaluation if necessary
What is a Functional Analysis?
 The functional analysis is one step or possible component of the FBA. The functional analysis is a manipulation of events to PROVE why the behavior is happening. For example, if the assessment data suggests that a child may be attention seeking with his/her behavior, then the functional analysis will be implemented so that in one condition, the child is given a toy immediately following the challenging behavior but in the comparison condition, the child is given attention immediately following the challenging behavior. Then, the behavior analyst will count and graph the number of times the child engaged in challenging behavior in each condition. If the child is truly attention seeking, the rates of challenging behavior will be higher when the child receives attention for his/her behavior when compared to rates when the child received a toy following his/her behavior.
I have simplified the description of the analysis in order to show readers the difference between an FBA and a functional analysis. Many functional analysis conditions can be completed and they may be quite complicated depending on the child’s behavior and other relevant information.
By definition, a functional analysis results in an increase in challenging behavior in some or all conditions. Thus, only appropriately trained people should oversee the design and implementation of such conditions. Additionally, the functional analysis results may be influenced by the implementor, the setting, the language in which the instructions are given, and other variables. Thus, the functional analysis should be completed in conditions that are as close to the natural setting as possible (including people, materials, and location).
Finally, the functional analysis ALWAYS results in a graph depicting the results of the analysis.
I hope this helps clarify the difference between the two procedures.
If you have questions about behavior be sure to email Missy at askmissy at appliedbehavioralstrategies dot com.

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We had to dig deep in our files to find this one! It is perfect given all of our recent discussions on timeout. If you missed them, you can read more here, here, and here.

This is a Nancy cartoon with an original publication date of 1993 (c) Jerry Scott you are simply brilliant!

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We are pleased to announce our schedule of upcoming webinars for the spring! Please join us for your continuing education needs. Contact us if you have questions: info at appliedbehavioralstrategies dot com.

Additionally, we are pleased to announce a free webinar for parents on using the iPad for communication, language, and academic instruction. The webinar will be on Wednesday February 8th from 7pm-9pm. Please visit our website for additional information. Space is limited and registration is required.

If you have suggested topics for continuing education or parent trainings, please email us with suggestions.

Thank you!

Spring Webinars

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This cartoon is a classic. We have been using it in our parent and teacher training workshops for several years now.

We know that it does not have to be this way. Research has shown that when children have challenging behavior, appropriate assessment and intervention will work to decrease the behavior. If you are the parent in the picture above, ask your child’s teacher to get help from a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA or BCaBA). The behavior analyst will complete a functional behavioral assessment (FBA). The behavior analyst will work collaboratively with the parents, teacher, related service personnel, and possibly even the child (depending on age) to develop a behavior intervention plan (BIP) to address the behavior. The behavior analyst will help train everyone to implement the plan. Finally, the behavior analyst will assist in developing a data collection plan to monitor progress.

If you are the teacher in the picture above, contact your school’s behavior analyst to get help with the FBA and BIP. It will make your life so much easier in the long run.

Have you ever felt this way at one of your parent teacher conference meetings? Has your child had an FBA and BIP? Please share!

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