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-9:
Dr. Brown-Davis enthusiastically collaborates with, and learns from, other caregivers and providers involved in Jada’s care. Jada’s parents want to understand her programming and be involved in decisions about their daughter’s learning and future. At school, Jada has an Occupational Therapist (OT), Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), Physical Therapist (PT), and special education teacher on her team. Jada also works with multiple dedicated and caring paraprofessionals, who implement Jada’s programming and who get to know her very well. Dr. Brown-Davis accepts that he does not know everything. He relies on the expertise of others (professional expertise, familiarity with Jada as a person, or both). He believes that, rather than compromising, professionals and parents can work together across disciplines to synergize client programming and create learning opportunities that are better than any one professional could have created. As part of his highly collaborative approach, Dr. Brown-Davis does not shy away from respectfully disagreeing or asking questions when he is confused or believes that Jada’s needs are not met. He communicates directly with others. He considers Jada’s welfare to be the point of agreement around which all collaboration can take place.
For example, Jada cannot climb stairs when she first transfers into her new school, because she has not had any experience living in a place with stairs. Dr. Brown-Davis collaborates with Jada’s PT to understand the short and long term motor considerations involved in the skill of stair climbing. Once he understands considerations related to coordination, strength, and possible pain, Dr. Brown-Davis uses his knowledge of motivational variables and behavioral shaping to co-design effective and safe programming. As a result, Jada learns to climb stairs.
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-9: Ms. Bailey enthusiastically collaborates with, and learns from, other important people in Donovan’s life. Donovan’s mother has been frustrated with her son’s behavior, and wants to be part of the team while also having time and energy to focus on other life tasks beyond managing what she sees as Donovan’s willfulness and laziness. Ms. Bailey prioritizes creating space for Donovan’s mother to express her concerns and participate in intervention planning to the extent that she feels comfortable.
At school, Donovan has a guidance counselor, clinical social worker, and special educator on his team. The program that Donovan attends within the school also includes multiple caring and dedicated paraprofessionals, who get to know the students in the program very well. Ms. Bailey accepts that she does not know everything. She relies on the expertise of others (professional expertise, familiarity with Jada as a person, or both). She believes that, rather than compromising, professionals and parents can work together across disciplines to synergize client programming and create learning opportunities that are better than any one professional could have created. As part of her highly collaborative approach, Ms. Bailey does not shy away from respectfully disagreeing or asking questions when she is confused or believes that Donovan’s needs are not met. She communicates directly with others. She considers Donovan’s welfare to be the point of agreement around which all collaboration can take place. When consulting with classroom educators, Ms. Bailey acknowledges the tremendous challenges associated with their role, and respectfully positions herself as someone who is there to help and serve client needs.