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It was incredibly awesome to meet so many behavior analysts at the National Autism Conference! If you have never been to this conference, you should add it to your “to do” list. I got to meet my hero, Dr. Perry Zirkel. He presents there every year so if you go for no other reason, go to see him! The other perk about this conference (besides seeing AMAZING behavior analysts such as Tim Vollmer, Nikki Dickens, Tom Zane, Bill Heward, & Janet Twyman present) is that you get to access all the handouts online. So if you are having conference FOMO, you can still see some of the posted content here. Click on the speaker and then access their handouts.

My session on SPED Law and Ethical Issues for Behavior Analysts was full of engaging participants with many questions. I really appreciate how everyone participated with my questions and case studies! Thank you all!!!

While we made it through all of our planned content, we did not get through all of the questions that BCBAs posted in our Menti.com interactive software. So I promised participants that I would work through the questions here on our blog.

Q1. If a student needs a positive behavior support plan (PBSP or BIP) based on the FBA, does a behavior IEP goal have to be developed or is implementation of the PBSP/BIP (with data, consult, fidelity) enough?

This is a good question. To my knowledge, there are no laws/regulations on this. Be sure to check in your state for certainty. With that said, it would make logical sense that goals in the BIP would align/feed into the goals in the IEP. I would include replacement behaviors, positive behaviors, and targeted challenging behaviors. Beware: it has been my experience that as a more severe behavior is addressed, the topography may change. So the IEP goal would be met (i.e., zero aggression) but another goal would be added to target the new behavior (e.g., verbal threats).

Q2. When writing IEP goals after an FBA has been conducted, is it required to develop goals for both increasing a replacement behavior and decreasing the problem behavior?

To my knowledge, there is no requirement for this. Be sure to check your state law/regulations. However, it is good practice to ensure that staff focus on appropriate/replacement behaviors.

Q3. When a student is being placed out of district, does the referring district need to conduct the FBA before the placement occurs? Sometimes we (placement) receive an FBA but it is very outdated.

Again, to my knowledge, there is no requirement for this. Be sure to check your state law/regulations. It would be best practice under the LRE to ensure that all supports and services have been attempted before moving the student to a more segregated setting. An FBA and appropriate BIP would be one such example of supports/services.

Q4. I work for an Intermediate Unit. Districts contract a specific number of hours that they will need for me to consult in their districts. To be clear, consent for all consults/observations?

Who is your client? Who is the PRIMARY beneficiary of your services? If you are observing in a CLASS and you are providing consultation to the teacher, the teacher is your primary beneficiary of services. Your contract is with the district and the teacher is giving assent/consent to your services. The second you begin focusing on Johnny’s behavior or Suzy’s behavior, the individual child becomes your PRIMARY beneficiary of services. The teacher and paras are the secondary beneficiary of services. That child is a MINOR. His parents deserve to consent to your services. Under your BACB Code of Ethics, you need to have a contract for services (the IEP serves as a contract. Without an IEP or 504, you have no contract). You also need written consent to assess Johnny or Suzy. What is an observation of Johnny and Johnny’s behavior if it is not an assessment? And you need to work with the parents as part of the assessment process.

Q5. I work with a funding stream that contracts for services after an FBA has been completed and does not want us to complete them at re-eval. What should we do if there are no consents to re-eval?

Well, we all know that under IDEIA and the BACB Code of Ethics that an FBA (or assessment of any kind) may NOT be conducted without written consent from the parents. If you feel that an updated FBA is needed, then it is your clinical responsibility to document the need for an updated FBA and request it from the parents and the district.

Q6. As a parent, what can I do when I walk into an IEP meeting that has been written already? As a professional consulting, what can I do in the same situation?

This is a great question. There are a couple of ways you can handle it. 1) You could be a total jerk, rip it up, throw it in the trash and announce that you are exercising your right to be an EQUAL team member. 2) Another, more socially appropriate response would be to reach out to the teacher BEFORE the IEP is due and ask to meet to plan/discuss the upcoming IEP. 3) Finally, you could thank them for supplying you with a draft for review but add that you have some additions/corrections/changes that you would like to be made. I like option 2 as it lends itself to be more collaborative. If you are a consulting professional, you have no rights. So……when asked, add your input that would be backed with a written report full of data and data-based recommendations.

Q7. How many possible meeting dates must the team extend to parents if they cannot make the first date(s) given for an IEP?

This is one of my favorite questions! In case you do not know, the parents are an equal team member AND meetings must be held on dates AND times that are convenient to all the team members. The law and the regs fail to stipulate how many attempts must be made to get these meetings scheduled. However, the regs are clear that MULTIPLE attempts must be made. These attempts must include different modes of correspondence (e.g, phone, mail, etc.) These days, we have technology that allows us to schedule among many busy people. I highly recommend using Doodle for families who are tech saavy. I recommend face to face visits with families to nail down a time to ensure attendance and participation. I also recommend telehealth to allow families to participate right from work. The federal government recently indicated that attending IEP meetings falls under the FMLA act! wooo hoo for families!

Q8. As a parent, I don’t feel that “teacher notes” are data that accurately reflect my child’s progress. What can I do?

You are 100% correct that teacher anecdotal notes are insufficient to reflect a child’s progress. Can you imagine a parent of a child in general education, where the child received a C and the parent went in to inquire about the C. How do you think the teacher could possibly use her notes to justify the C? She cannot. She must use class assignments that are GRADED correct and incorrect. She must use test scores (GRADED correct and incorrect). She must use a rubric on projects with points assigned to various components on the project. All of these things are also required in special education. Simply ask for measurable data outcomes.

Q9. Public school refuses to provide copies of raw data. Claim that data in that form can be misinterpreted. What can parent do?

In general education do you get to see your child’s spelling test? Do you see the individual items that led to the 50% score? Yes! you can do an item analysis to find out why your child is failing spelling. For reading, do you get to see the reading tests so you can better understand why your child is not progressing in reading? Yes! Why would you NOT be allowed to see the data for your child in special education? ANALYZING is an important part of what we do (that is the second A in ABA). Item analysis, response analysis, data analysis should be allowed—especially if a child is not progressing.

Q10. I’m a teacher. We contracted a BCBA to help in the class. When paras and staff asked clarification or why something is done. The response was always I have the certification that’s why. What do I do?

These are the things that we do not want to hear about fellow colleagues. I’m sad for a BCBA who responds in this way. He/she clearly learned this behavior from somewhere else and should be reminded that this is not in alignment with our BACB Code of Professional and Ethical Code of Conduct. Please have him/her read this! The BCBA should work with you (and the parent) to develop a plan that is understandable. The plan should be explained to you in detail. You should be given time to ask questions AND to receive training on the plan. Here are a few quotes from our code: For example, under 3.04 Explaining Assessment Results. Behavior analysts explain assessment results using language and graphic displays of data that are reasonably understandable to the client. Also under 4.02 Involving Clients in Planning and Consent. Behavior analysts involve the client in the planning of and consent for behavior-change programs. And under 4.05 Describing Behavior-Change Program Objectives. Behavior analysts describe, in writing, the objectives of the behavior-change program to the client before attempting to implement the program. As a teacher who is benefitting from the services provided to the client, you are also the client of the BCBA. Additionally, in the same 4.05 code, The description of program objectives and the means by which they will be accomplished is an ongoing process throughout the duration of the client-practitioner relationship. And finally, 7.0 Behavior Analysts’ Ethical Responsibility to Colleagues. Behavior analysts work with colleagues within the profession of behavior analysis and from other professions and must be aware of these ethical obligations in all situations. So, please help this BCBA understand his/her responsibilities to you and your paras.

Q11. You shouldn’t say you are doing Social Thinking if you aren’t doing it as prescribed though. So we should be saying ‘modified ST’.

So is Social Thinking a curriculum or an intervention? It sounds as if you view it as an intervention. Should we be doing this practice as BCBAs? As behavior analysts under the BACB Professional and Ethical Compliance Code, 1.01 Reliance on Scientific Knowledge. Behavior analysts rely on professionally derived knowledge based on science and behavior analysis when making scientific or professional judgments in human service provision, or when engaging in scholarly or professional endeavors. And also under 4.01 Conceptual Consistency. Behavior analysts design behavior-change programs that are conceptually consistent with behavior analytic principles.

Q12. If you are part of a child study (pre-eval) team, and parents were invited but do not show or answer calls, can we still not discuss the student with the team cause there is no consent?

This is a good question. First, cheers for your team for inviting parents to the pre-evaluation/pre-referral process. This is the first step in acknowledging that the parents know their child better than anyone. As a BCBA, you should not be making any recommendations about ANY child without first conducting an assessment (see your assessment code 3.01). Additionally, you cannot start the assessment without written consent (see your assessment code 3.03). And finally, you should only provide services as part of a defined, professional, or scientific relationship or role (see your code 1.05). Without an IEP or other contract for services, it would NOT be advisable to act as that child’s professional.

As you can see we had a very lively session! Thank you again to the NAC for inviting me to speak and thank you to everyone who participated in the session.

Check out some of our related posts on SPED Law:

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We are pleased to announce the opening of our Florida WCity_Hallest Coast (AKA Cultural Coast) office!

We have no wait for ABA services! We accept most forms of insurance. We provide services in your home, in your child’s school, in your child’s daycare, and other community locations.

 

Please contact our office if you are interested in obtaining services.

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The field of special education and behavior analysis lost a great man last week. Stan Deno, Ph.D. served on faculty in the College of Education and Human Development at The University of Minnesota (commonly referreStan Denod to as The U) from 1970 (or so) until he retired in 2009. During that time, Stan developed a framework for monitoring student progress towards their academic goals. His work in Curriculum Based Measurement (CBM) is the foundation for DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills; Good & Kiminski, 2002) which has been used in thousands of schools across the country.

Stan also trained many students including undergraduate, masters level, and doctoral level. Two of his students, Doug and Lynn Fuchs, have led the way in developing Response to Intervention (RTI) an evidence-based approach to identifying students with learning disabilities and behavior disorders.

If you don’t know Stan or haven’t read his work, you should make time to do so. Without a doubt, his work has influenced the way we monitor progress in schools and the way we address instruction for students with learning and behavioral needs.

I have many fond memories of Stan. I feel so lucky to have studied with him during my time at The U. He worked diligently to help me slow down when I spoke (I talk fast and southern and it was difficult for him to understand me). He also modeled for me the act of thinking carefully before speaking. If you know me, you know I still am working on this skill!

Stan trusted me to serve as his Teaching Assistant (TA) in the Intro to ABA class. He taught me how to teach adult learners and how to give meaningful feedback on their written work. During this time, he also taught me the importance of technology in the classroom to increase graduate student participation and responding. I am a much better teacher now because of Stan.

I took several classes from Stan. The most memorable included the course on Single Subject Design. In this course, Stan introduced me to the work of Alan Kazdin and he taught me to conduct experimentally sou
nd research studies as well as how to read research and interpret and apply it in my own work. His influence enabled me to write successful grants, publish my own science, and go on to teach my own students. Stan also served on my dissertation committee where he modeled for me how to help students improve their research ideas, study procedures, and how to interpret results accurately. I was so fortunate to learn so much from him.

In addition to our love of research, behavior analysis, and helping students learn, Stan and I both shared the diagnosis of cancer. I received my diagnosis in 2002 some time after he received his diagnosis and treatment. I stopped by the U to visit Stan while I was in town later that same year. We shared how hard living as a survivor can be and we shared how crushing the diagnosis can be. It was then that Stan shared with me the theory of the Sword of Damocles. It took some time for me to truly understand this concept as a new survivor. But oh do I understand it now, 14 years later.

My heart sank to my stomach last week when I learned of Stan’s passing. But, I have joy in knowing how much he taught me and how much he has taught the special education world. Stan will be missed.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers contributions be made in memory of Stanley Deno to: “Stan Deno CBM Research” fund #20003 at the University of Minnesota Foundation.

Online gifts can be made at:  www.give.umn.edu/giveto/standeno

Or mail this giving form to:

University of Minnesota Foundation
P.O. Box 860266
Minneapolis, MN 55486-0266

 

References

Good, R.H., & Kkaminski, R.A. (2002). Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (6th ed.). Eugene, OR: Institute for the Development of Educational Achievement. Available: http://dibels.uoregon.edu.

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We are thrilled to be participating in the Behavior Analysis in Education Series (BAES) through ACES! Here is a link to the entire series. Or if you want to read more about the topics, click here. If you like what you see, click here to register.idea-logo

Dr. Olive will be presenting on Special Education Law and Ethical Issues for Behavior Analysts working in the schools.

We will be attending all of these and we hope to see you at them too! If you attend, be sure to say hello!

 

Want to read more on this topic? Try one of these blogs:

(more…)

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We were quite pleased to see this post in the Stamford Advocate today! Yay Team ABS!

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Today starts Autism Awareness Month! Many apps related to autism are free today!

 Reading and Reading Readiness

  • Endless Reader
  • Endless ABCs
  • Letterland Quick Dash
  • Letterland ABC
  • Letterland Far Beyond ABC
  • Letterland Stories
  • Letterland Word Builder
  • Fix It Phonics Review
  • ABC Alphabet Phonics
  • Phonics Awareness
  • Phonics Island
  • Hooked on Phonics
  • Smiley Sight Words
  • Teach Me Toddler
  • Teach Me Kindergarten
  • Teach Me 1st Grade
  • Super Why
  • ABC Match Ups
  • Intro to Letters (by Montessorium)
  • Bob Books
  • Elmo’s ABCs
  • See Touch Learn
  • Zoo Train
  • Feed Me
  • Monkey Preschool Lunchbox
  • Dora ABCs
  • DTT Words
  • ABC Matchups

Spelling Apps

These apps go beyond letter recognition and actually teach the child to spell words.

  • Montessori Cross Words
  • Word Magic
  • Wordball
  • PCS Word Scramble
  • A+ Spelling Test
  • Spelling City
  • Spell Mania
  • Bitsboard Spelling Bee

Vocabulary and Language Builders

  • Kindergarten dot com Flash Cards (there are many! actions, alphabet, zoo, fruits, toys, instruments)
  • Speech with Milo (sequencing, verbs, prepositions, adjectives)
  • First Words Deluxe
  • Preschool Animals
  • Story builder
  • Sentence builder
  • Language Builder
  • Question Builder
  • Zombie Grammar Force
  • Grammar App
  • SAT Grammar
  • Little Match Ups
  • PCS Language Flash Cards
  • PCS Vocabulary Flash Cards
  • See Touch Learn by Brain Parade
  • Rosetta Stone Kids Lingo Word Builder

Speech and Articulation

  • Phono Pix Full
  • Artic Pix
  • Articulation Flip Book
  • Articulation Flash Cards (PCS)

Writing and Story Writing

  • My Story Book Maker
  • Pictello
  • iMovie
  • Rainbow Writing
  • Writing Challenge for Kids
  • Writing Prompts for Kids
  • Silly Story Starters
  • Picturebook: School Edition

AAC and Visual Planners

  • First Then Scheduler
  • Proloquo2go
  • iPrompts
  • Going Placesipad_proloquo_20110425
  • Timer
  • Alarmed
  • Tap to Talk
  • Vu Meter
  • My Choice Board
  • PCS Sign Language Flash Cards

Social Skills

  • Social Skills Play
  • Give Me 5!
  • Social Skills Pro
  • Social Skills Working with Goldstein
  • QuickCues
  • Stories2Learn
  • What are They Thinking?
  • HiddenCurriculum Kids
  • Stories2Learn
  • Conversation Builder
  • iTopics

Interactive Food Games (Thank you Maverick Software)

  • More Grillin
  • More Cookies
  • More Buffet
  • Cupcakes
  • More Pizza
  • More Salad
  • Little Match Ups Fruits

Interactive Echo Games

  • Talking Gugi
  • Talking Tom
  • Talking Babies
  • Talking Gina
  • Talking John
  • Talking Roby
  • Talking Larry
  • Talking Ben
  • Talking Pierre
  • Talking Ginger
  • Talking Tom and Ben

Interactive Books

  • Misty Island (Thomas the Train complete with puzzles, coloring, and dot to dot)
  • 5 Little Monkeys
  • Green Eggs and Ham
  • Me and Mom Go to the City
  • Toy Story (with reading and painting)
  • On The Farm
  • Ronki
  • Speech with Milo
  • Mickey Mouse Puzzle Book
  • Monster at the End of the Book
  • Another Monster at the End of the Book (with Elmo)

Books

  • Read me Stories (a library with one free book each day)
  • Mee Genius (a library)
  • Reading Bug
  • Food Fight
  • Christmas Tale
  • The Ugly Duckling
  • Three Pigs
  • Sesame Books
  • Elmo’s Birthday

General Knowledge

  • Brain Pop
  • Weet Woo
  • See Touch Learn by Brain Parade

Math

  • Splash Math
  • Endless Numbers
  • Bert’s Bag
  • Intro to Math (by Montessorium)
  • Free Multiplication Tables
  • Grasshopper
  • Ace Math Flash Cards
  • Pattern Recognition
  • Analogies for Kids
  • Analogies Practice
  • Tally Tots
  • Counting Coins
  • Every Day Mathematics
  • Fish School
  • K12 money
  • Math Cards
  • Patterning
  • Sail Through Math
  • Sequencing

Puzzles

  • Children’s Wooden Puzzles
  • Wooden Puzzles (these are not all good but the good ones are great. Sadly, the developers did not advertise on their app so we can’t tell you the exact name or developer)

Strategy and Problem Solving

  • Zentonimo
  • Cogs
  • Scrabble
  • Numulus
  • Logigrid
  • Conquist2
  • TicTacToe
  • Memory Game
  • Checkers Plus
  • Sudoku
  • Dots Free
  • Spider Free
  • Understanding inferences

Scanning

  • Pictureka
  • Waldo
  • I Spy

Adaptive Skills

  • I Love Potty
  • Everyday Skills
  • Potty Time with Elmo

Motor Skills

  • Dexteria (developed by an OT and teaches fine motor skills)

Interactive Games

  • Bowling
  • Mini Cooper Liquid Assets
  • Monkey Flight (by Donut Games)
  • Sunday Lawn (by Donut Games)
  • Skee Ball
  • Flashlight
  • Spin the Coke Bottle
  • Spinning Plates
  • More Cowbell
  • Angry Birds
  • Doodle Jump
  • Cut the Rope
  • Where’s My Water
  • Rat on a Skateboard
  • Trucks (by Duck Duck Moose)
  • Sponge Bob Super Bouncy
  • Sponge Bob Diner Dash

Interactive Songs and Music

  • Wheels on the Bus (Duck Duck Moose developers)
  • Old MacDonald (Duck Duck Moose)
  • Wheels on the Bus (Duck Duck Moose)
  • Itsy Bitsy Spider (Duck Duck Moose)
  • Kid’s Songs
  • Virtuosa Piano
  • Piano Free
  • Music Sparkles

Art Tools

  • Drawing Pad
  • Draw Free
  • Kid Paint
  • Whiteboard
  • Doodle cast
  • Doodle cast for kids

Halloween Applications

  • Carve a Pumpkin (to make the cute Jack-O-Lantern)
  • Pumpkin Lite
  • PumpknXplod
  • Pumpkin Plus
  • Skeleton (interactive and imitative)
  • Halloween Coloring Book
  • Carve It
  • Halloween Heat

Data Collection and Other Tools

  • DT Data
  • ABC Logbook
  • ABC Data Pro
  • Touch Trainer
  • Smart White Board
  • Sticky Notes for iPad
  • Timer
  • Meditation Timer

 Parent Tools

  • IEP Checklist
  • Autism Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Autism Track

 

Websites with Application Reviews

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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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