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.
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 H-2: Dr. Brown-Davis designs skills acquisition and behavior reduction programming for Jada based on individualized assessment results, backed by his understanding of ABA literature. Dr. Brown-Davis believes that using scientific evidence is about understanding and applying the underlying principles present in research studies, rather than rigidly applying an intervention found in one study. He also knows that it is critical to understand the specific characteristics of each client (such as skill profile, cultural background, functions(s) of problem behaviors, etc.) when evaluating research based interventions.
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 H-2: Ms. Bailey’s interventions for Donovan are grounded in the results of her assessments (a functional analysis of problem behavior, as well as curriculum based measures to understand his academic strengths and needs). Ms. Bailey uses the results of these assessments, along with her knowledge of the research literature, to design interventions that are likely to be effective. For example, Ms. Bailey knows that behavior partially maintained by escape can be treated with positive reinforcement as well as using extinction. She is also aware that individuals displaying literacy skill deficits are best supported through the use of phonology-based interventions (not balanced literacy or whole language programs). Furthermore, Ms. Bailey keeps in mind that no amount of research can replace carefully taking data on her individual client’s response to the interventions.