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Posts Tagged ‘BCBA supervision’

Last night in our journal club, we had lively discussion regarding the 2016 article on Competency-Based, Ethical, and Socially Valid Approach to Supervision. Laura Turner served as the lead author and Aaron Fischer & James Luiselli served as co-authors. You can read the article yourself here.

If you haven’t read this article, you absolutely should. There are so many important points in the article it will surely improve your supervision services. If you are a BACB Candidate, then you should also read this as it may help you in selecting your supervisor and/or giving feedback to your supervisor regarding the quality of your supervision. Quality supervision experiences will more than likely lead to quality BCBAs which should lead to quality services for clients.

The first topic of discussion revolved around the need to establish a good relationship between the parties. Keep in mind, the BACB suggests that multiple supervisors be used so the good relationships and communication should cross all parties. A key point in having a good relationship is to be sure to establish rapport. This of course led to the jumping off point on the new training curriculum for supervisors. The BACB recently made the 2.0 Curriculum available and you can find it here.

We also discussed the authors’ point of how payment for services may affect the relationship between parties. In most professions, the trainee is responsible for funding their learning. This includes payment for college coursework but also payment for internships, practica, and/or supervision of professional competencies. It seems that the ABA industry, in a desperate attempt to mass produce BCBAs, companies are offering supervision at no cost or no cost in return for a year or two of payback employment. Unfortunately, due to the demand for BCBAs, this has led to many candidates taking their free supervision and leaving their supervisor high and dry for payment. We all know this is unethical behavior in that it violates the BACB Professional and Ethical Compliance Code #1.04a, 1.04c, and 6.01a. This, of course, led us to the BACB latest newsletter regarding the contract and what the BACB will do if the contract is broken. We will save my opinion on that for another day.

The authors made an important point to discuss just how much time quality supervision requires of both parties. For example, the authors point out that a supervisor may think they have time to supervise because it is only a few hours every other week. However, the supervisor has to travel to complete observations, make time to read assignments, make time to read articles, and make time to plan feedback. Essentially, for every hour of supervision, the supervisor can expect to spend at least 2 hours of work. Similarly for the candidate who is already working and possibly taking classes, the candidate will need to find time to meet with the supervisor for feedback, complete readings assigned by the supervisor, and complete homework such as program development. This is not an easy process and it certainly shouldn’t be rushed so the candidate can get out and immediately start work. This is where the key skills are learned and practiced and it must be completed with precision rather than speed.

Next we discussed the importance of collecting data on the supervisee skills. First, this requires the supervisor and supervisee to develop measurable objectives. Then it requires the supervisor to collect baseline data on those skills followed by additional data collection and progress monitoring. This led to a discussion of how BIP Track data collection tool would be great for this! The developers of BIP Track have created options for collecting IOA data as well as fidelity data. What better way to monitor supervisee skill development! Note that not all behaviors need to be observed in practice. The supervisor can also ask tough questions during the supervision meetings to see if the supervisee is retaining information from coursework, using their SAFMEDS to become fluent in terminology, or being proficient in problem solving strategies.

Performance feedback is always a key piece of providing quality supervision experiences. In discussing performance feedback, we came back to the BACB 2.0 Curriculum and noted that behavioral targets are included for supervisees during feedback. These include: “i) Engagement in active listening (eye contact, posture) and engagement (question
asking, paraphrasing) strategies; ii) Taking notes during feedback meetings; iii) Restatement of feedback to check for understanding; iv) Requests for clarification, examples, or models as needed; v) Acknowledgement of responsibility for errors (take responsibility).

I believe that one area where BCBAs can improve is in the area of evaluating their own supervision outcomes. There are many ways to do this. The authors recommend using their form, Supervision Monitoring and Evaluation Form, which you can download here. (Follow the link, then download the appendix.)

And finally, don’t forget to continue your own professional development on supervision. Read, take workshops, attend your state conference, or attend a national conference! Check out our list of continuing education courses here.

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Hi and welcome to Ask Missy Mondays where I respond to a question from readers. Today’s question comes from a parent who is a regular reader (and poster) on our blog. Thanks Karen for your loyalty. Karen asks:

“What are general rules regarding supervision of the individual that provides ABA services?

How much oversight is required?

Is Supervision provided through data collection or intermittent on site visits?

How many students can the BCBA supervise ?

How is supervision validated?”

Thanks for stopping by our blog again! We love having repeat visitors.

BCBA  Supervision Rules

We have different rules for supervision depending on who we are supervising.

Supervising a BCBA in Training

If we are supervising someone who is training to become a BCBA the board requires us to supervise them a minimum of 2 hours every other week. This process is very long and can take up to 2 years. In addition to the on-going supervision we provide to those in training, we have to complete a form each time we supervise the person. Additional information on this type of supervision may be found here.

Supervising a BCaBA in Training

We have strict rules for providing supervision to a student who is trying to become a BCaBA. This process is also lengthy and requires written feedback. Rules for this type of supervision may be found here.

Supervising a certified BCaBA (on-going)

If we are supervising a practicing BCaBA, we have different rules.The board requires only one hour per month of this type of supervision. However, annually, “at least two of these monthly supervision sessions shall be conducted in-person, to include direct observation of actual service provision with individuals”. Additional information may be found here.

Supervision of Non-Certified Implementers

Finally, our organization lacks specific requirements for supervising staff who implement our programs. We have an ethical duty to make sure that programs are being implemented appropriately. Depending on how much ABA a client is receiving, supervision needs would vary. For example, if a child is receiving 40 hours per week of ABA therapy, more supervision would be needed (2-4 hours per week) but if someone is only receiving 10 hours of therapy per week, they may receive only 1-2 hours per week of supervision. For a detailed list of our guidelines for responsible conduct including supervision recommendations click here.

How is Supervision Provided?

Supervision may be provided a number of ways. Obviously, face to face supervision, where the supervisor is watching the implementation, is ideal. However, this is not always possible. Thus, other types of supervision may be provided. Supervisors may watch live video feed, they may watch previously recorded video, they may have sessions over Skype or other similar technology (we use WebEx for privacy purposes).

How Many People Can a BCBA Supervise?

As supervisors, we have to carefully build our caseload so that all of our clients receive appropriate services. Again, there is no minimum number to follow. We have our guidelines for responsible conduct that we should follow. There are only so many hours in the day. While many people burn the candle at both ends, it is difficult to provide supervision while clients are sleeping. Thus, case loads should be reasonable. When I worked for a large provider, it was common for individuals to have 14-15 clients on their caseload.

How is Supervision Validated?

Supervision is validated in a number of ways. We prefer to use the feedback form during formal supervision. However, if the implementers are not seeking certification, it is not uncommon to provide supervision without written documentation. For example, yesterday, I provided supervision to staff for about 30 minutes regarding a client at his school. We did not document the session because neither implementers is seeking certification.

Additional Resources

Supervision is a tricky issue. Your questions are completely appropriate. Please feel free to visit other sources of support.

  1. The Behavior Analysis Certification Board http://www.bacb.com
  2. The Association for Professional Behavior Analysts  http://www.apbahome.net
  3. The Association for Behavior Analysts International http://www.abainternational.org

Concerned?

If you have concerns about the supervision your child receives, be sure to address it with the BCBA who is responsible for your child’s case. In some instances, the supervision may be limited to funding. If you want more supervision than is funded, consider paying for additional supervision. Perhaps additional staff should be brought on to help (e.g., I’m seeking a BCBA to assist me with cases). Finally, if you cannot get the issue resolved, consider asking for a new BCBA or report the individual to the BACB. You will need extensive documentation but it may result in more appropriate supervision for your child.

We hope that helps.  And of course, come back and visit us often!

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