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Archive for the ‘Assessment’ Category

It has been a super busy fall! It all started in August when I spoke at the National Autism Conference in State College, PA. I spoke on Special Education Law and also on Ethical Issues in Using ABA to Address Feeding. This conference is actually how Matt Ciccoria and I got introduced. Jen Farris saw me speak on SPED Law and she reached out to Matt and then made the introduction. Conferences are truly for networking! For follow up on the SPED Talk, see my previous blog post.

Next up was FABA Conference! I served as the discussant on a lively panel regarding Ethical Issues in Functional Analysis and presented on the hot topic of Ethical Issues in Assessment. We are working on papers for both of these talks!

This was followed by the 19th Annual CARDAAC Conference in Baltimore with the fine team at Kennedy Krieger. There I spoke on PBIS Strategies at Tier 2 and Tier 3 implementation levels.

Once I finally stopped traveling, I sat down with Matt! I was incredibly nervous about doing this. But Matt put me right at ease. I seriously could have talked to him for hours on this topic! Take a moment to listen to the podcast when you are driving from client to client or school to school. You can download the podcast here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/ethics-school-consultation-for-bcbas-session-101-missy/id1086413253?i=1000457591580 or you can go to the website for all the show notes here: https://behavioralobservations.com/the-ethics-of-school-consultation-for-bcbas-session-101-with-missy-olive/

There is a teaser too! If you listen to the show, you will find out about some upcoming CEs that are available! This special will be available for any of the webinars mentioned in the podcast through 2020!

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It was another great FABA! I’ve made so many friends and I keep meeting more each year.

Nikki’s presidential address was definitely my favorite. I really enjoyed hearing about big data for the closing session as well. It gives me food for thought.

I enjoyed my workshop and my panel but I seriously thought our talk on assessment rocked. Too bad we were competing against big names like Merrill. None the less, we need to get this published!

If you missed FABA this year, hopefully you will make it next year in Jacksonville.

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We are super excited to share with our followers the new data collection software program we have been utilizing.

BIP Track combines intuitive tools into one comprehensive portal. Our team of BCBAs, RBTs, and BTs are able to collect, analyze, and report on behavior and skill acquisition program data in real time.

One of our BCBAs, Sara Hult, worked with the developers, Gene & Dave, to help the software meet all of our needs. Our team has tried every data collection tool on the market, and none of those programs could meet our needs.

Here are some of the features that set BIP Track apart from “the others”

  • live reporting available on any client at any time
  • track multiple clients at one time
  • graphs automatically update (insert your trend lines!)
  • IOA data collection is built in
  • track multiple types of data including frequency, duration, and interval recording
  • student self-evaluations are available for your self-management plan
  • supervisor notes may be submitted as they occur
  • therapist SOAP notes are created as the session progresses
  • link IEP goals to trackables and skill acquisition programs
  • HIPAA compliant even when sharing SOAP and supervisor notes!
  • dashboard and interface are user-friendly

We are so pleased with this product that in March of this year, our entire team moved over to BIP Track and we couldn’t be happier.

Disclaimer: we do not receive any income from BIP Track!

 

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Hi and welcome to Ask Missy Mondays where I take questions from readers. Today’s question comes from Judy who writes,

Hi Dr. Olive, my child’s school BCBA recently completed a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) for my child. The report seemed to be very detailed. However, I disagreed with the report because the BCBA did not include an assessment of my son’s scripting. The BCBA did not interview me as part of the FBA because it was a “school FBA”. I told the school that I wanted an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE)/FBA at the school expense. Now they are telling me that they don’t have to give me an IEE because they think their FBA is good enough. Do I have any options?

Hi Judy, and thanks for writing. This is a great question and so very similar to some of the things I’ve seen happening in recent months. For example, one of my relatives requested an IEE for their child’s initial evaluation and the district filed due process against them! You can imagine how scary it is to be told that your school district is filing AGAINST  you!

I have a couple of points to address regarding your question. For my readers who are lost with all this terminology, you may read about an FBA here, learn about what to expect from an FBA here, and finally, learn the difference between an FBA and a functional analysis here.

Right to an IEE

First, if your child has an IEP, you have the right to request an IEE as long as the school completed their FBA within the past 12 months and you disagree with it. You don’t have to say why you disagree; just merely indicate you disagree.

The school does have a right to refuse the IEE by stating that their FBA is appropriate. At that point, you would have to file due process against them. I don’t recommend taking that step unless you have legal representation. Should you file due process against the school, you will need to prove why their FBA is insufficient.

I have heard of 3 different cases in Connecticut (I’m sure there are more) where the school refused to provide the IEE and so the family proceeded with a due process. In all 3 cases, the school district settled the case after the family spent precious time and resources gathering data, experts, and attorneys.

Parent Involvement in the FBA

My second point to your question is that the BCBA has a duty to involve you, the parent in the FBA. The reasons for this are twofold. First, the BACB Guidelines for Responsible Conduct require written parent permission to assess (see Guideline #3). Second, the BACB Guideline #4 requires client or guardian involvement during individual behavior change program planning.

“The behavior analyst (a) designs programs that are based on behavior analytic principles, including assessments of effects of other intervention methods, (b) involves the client or the client-surrogate in the planning of such programs, (c) obtains the consent of the client, and (d) respects the right of the client to terminate services at any time.”

If the parent disagrees with the FBA, how could the parent possibly be involved in the planning of the program? The BCBA should minimally involve the parent/guardian throughout the FBA and the BIP.

Research on Family Involvement

My third point to your question is to highlight the research on the importance of family involvement during the assessment and intervention process. For starters, including families in the process will serve to help educate parents on the assessment and intervention process. This education may then go on to reduce parenting stress (c.f., Bristol, et al., 1993; Gallagher, 1991; and Koegel et al., 1996). Second, professionals should be conducting assessments and development interventions utilizing a multicultural lens (c.f., Harris, 1996; Heller et al., 1994). Without parent involvement, cultural competence cannot be achieved.

In summary, if your child’s BCBA, behaviorist, behavior specialist, or similar completes an FBA on your child and you disagree with it, be sure to ask your team for an independent educational evaluation (IEE).

References

Bristol, M.M., J.J.Gallagher, and K.D.Holt 1993 Maternal depressive symptoms in autism: Response to psycho-educational intervention. Rehabilitation Psychology 38:3–9.

Gallagher, J.J. 1991 The family as a focus for intervention. In Handbook of Early Childhood Interventions, S.Meisels and J.Shonkoff, eds. Cambridge MA: Cambridge University Press.

Harris, S.L. 1983 Families of the Developmentally Disabled: A Guide to Behavioral Intervention. Elmsford, NY: Pergamon Press.

Heller, T., R.Markwardt, L.Rowitz, and B.Farber 1994 Adaptation of Hispanic families to a member with mental retardation. American Journal on Mental Retardation 99:289–300.

Koegel, R.L., A.Bimbela, and L.Schreibman 1996 Collateral effects of parent training on family interactions. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 26:347–359.

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Hi and welcome to What Works Wednesdays where we share a success story from one of our clinical cases. All names have been changed to preserve the privacy of the child and family. Our intent is to show readers how successful ABA can be. Today’s story is about a young man we call Boost (you will see why a bit later in this post).

Boost came to us with a long history of feeding difficulties and he was only 7. He was diagnosed with autism and he was also non-verbal. Boost had previously eaten food but only in wet ground form. By the time he got to us, he consumed only Boost and apple juice. Both liquids were consumed from a bottle with the top of the nipple cut off so the liquid would literally pour into his mouth.

Prior to any behavioral feeding therapy, we require a thorough record review and assessment to assess for any possible underlying issues. (Honestly, all intervention programs should be preceded by a thorough assessment to help with program planning. We have written about that previously here.) For Boost, we completed a record review to determine if any assessments were needed prior to therapy. Boost had a long history of gastrointestinal (GI) issues so we referred his family to a gastroenterologist for a thorough work up.

The gastroenterologist completed an endoscopy during which the gastroenterologist inserted a pill camera to complete an assessment of the entire small bowel. He discovered that Boost had serious inflammation in his GI tract. Specifically, Boost’s pylorus was so inflamed that even the pill camera would not pass. You heard us correctly. A tiny pill camera would not pass through his pylorus. And we all wondered why he had limited his calorie consumption to a pure liquid diet.

You see, Boost was non-verbal. He could not tell us that he had GI pain. He could not tell us that it hurt to eat. Had we started therapy without the GI Assessment, we could have caused Boost a great deal of pain. This case is an excellent example for demonstrating the importance of assessment prior to treatment.

The GI Doctor placed Boost on an elemental formula and anti-inflammatory medication so that Boost could obtain appropriate nutrition while allowing his GI tract to heal, a process that took 6 months.

Parents, if you have a picky eater, please make sure that you obtain assessment in all areas to rule out underlying issues. Behavior analysts, do due diligence in the assessment process to ensure that you do no harm in your behavioral feeding therapy.

We would love to hear from readers. Please share what types of information you have gained from the assessment process prior to behavioral feeding therapy.

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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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Take a look at our picture below. (Thanks go out to Bil Keane for this wonderful cartoon (c) 1976.) See if you can guess why PJ is tantrumming. When there is a reason for a behavior, behavior analysts called it a function or a purpose. This is the first time we have tried a poll so please participate! We will post the answer tomorrow! Thanks for playing.

Let's BEE Friends

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