F-2: Determine the need for behavior-analytic services ©

Important note: Fictionalized clients are used to demonstrate the skill items in the second half of the task list, sections F-I. They make the most sense when read in order. Please remember that there is not substitute for real-life supervision and consultation. Get your case-specific advice from professionals – not from the internet! These examples are just that – examples of how behavior analytic skills might be applied.

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Case example: Jada is an elementary school student. She experiences Level 3 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Level 3 is the severity level of Autism which is characterized by “requiring very substantial support.” Jada has also been diagnosed with a severe Intellectual Disability (ID). Jada has just transferred to a private school for individuals with global needs. She loves all kinds of play and messy activities, such as finger paint and water play. She also enjoys swinging on the playground, eating popcorn, and watching Disney movies. She loves to be read to, and laughs when staff make dramatic gestures while reading picture books. Jada does not use any vocal speech. She makes noises sometimes, such as humming. Jada engages in motor stimming, including upper body tensing and flapping her arms. Jada engages in severe challenging behavior, including self injury (hand to head and head to surface) and aggression (including hitting and biting). Jada has a mom, dad, and older brother living together in one home. Jada’s family has advocated for her to attend a private program, and they are excited for her to get high quality services. Jada’s new behavior analyst is Dr Brown-Davis, who is a BCBA-D employed by the private program.

Example of Item F-2: Dr. Brown-Davis considers information gathered during the record review process. He sees that Jada engages in severe problem behavior which threatens the safety of herself and others. Jada is missing numerous skills to advocate and care for herself. Additionally, the goals which Jada has are not based on her needs or the best available evidence. Dr. Brown-Davis knows that Jada’s parents and team are open to behavior analytic services. Taking all of these factors into account, Dr. Brown-Davis decides that this case would benefit from behavior analytic services, and decides to proceed.


Case example: Donovan is a high school student. He has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). He attends a public school and has been placed in a support program for students with social/emotional/behavioral needs. Donovan enjoys playing video games and drawing in his sketchbook. He would like to be a welder when he is an adult. Academic achievement and attendance have been challenges for Donovan historically, and he is currently not on track to graduate with his peers due to missed work and failing grades in several classes. Donovan’s team has identified challenges including frequent non-attendance to school, walking the halls during class times, non-attendance at expected guidance appointments, and non-completion of classwork. Donovan lives with his mother and older brother. Donovan’s mother is concerned about her son’s school challenges and expresses frustration about his “lack of commitment” to his education. She wants Donovan to understand how important it is to graduate from high school. Donovan’s behavior analyst is Ms Bailey, who has just started contracting with Donovan’s school district through the agency she works for.

Example of Item F-2: Ms. Bailey  considers information gathered during the record review process. She sees that Donovan engages in frequent interfering behavior (walking out of class, putting his head down in class, talking to friends during instruction), which significantly impacts his ability to access and engage with academic instruction. Donovan is missing foundational reading skills, and is not on track to graduate with his peers. Donovan’s parents are extremely concerned about Donovan’s behavior and the fact that he is not on track to graduate high school with his peers. Donovan has also expressed concern that he will “fall behind” and that he will “never work a good job and make any money”. Considering all of the information, Ms. Bailey determines Donovan would benefit from behavior analytic services and decides to proceed with the case.

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