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The Behavioral Observations Podcast with Matt Cicoria

This is a podcast about the field of Behavior Analysis. Each episode will feature an interview with a Behavior Analyst where we discuss a specific topic in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. Some of these topics include functional behavioral assessment, treating severe behavioral disorders such as aggression and self-injurious behavior, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), behavioral ethics, autism treatment, parenting, and the history of Applied Behavior Analysis.
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The Behavioral Observations Podcast with Matt Cicoria
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Jul 23, 2021

Dr. Natalie Parks from Behavior Leader stopped by the podcast again for another fun conversation. In her previous appearance, we talked about the importance of providing feedback "the right way." And in this episode, we extend that theme and discuss the work that she and her colleagues have done in helping several fire departments in the St. Louis area improve their operations.

In particular, we covered:

  • The challenges of consulting in a shift-work setting.
  • The cultural idiosyncrasies of fire departments.
  • Working with unionized personnel.
  • Streamlining policies and procedures for more efficient fire department operations, and,
  • Making inroads relative to diversity and inclusion in these settings.

Even if you have no connection with, or interest in emergency service settings, I encourage you to listen all the way through this episode anyway, as I think there are plenty of lessons that easily translate to other workplace environments.

I also want to note that Natalie's company, BehaviorLeader, offers training in the areas of Diversity, Equity, and InclusionLeadership, and Business Development. They're even developing a course on inclusion, which you can learn more about here . Be sure to follow their work on Facebook.

Session 161 is brought to you by the following:

  • The ABA Marketing Minute from Rich Brooks at Flyte New Media. If you're wondering how to successfully market your ABA practice, go to takeflyte.com/abaminute, and check out Flyte New Media's free 35 minute lesson on building effective websites.
  • The Professional Crisis Management Association, or PCMA for short. Later on in the show, you'll hear from one of the most popular podcast guests, Dr. Merrill Winston, where he'll talk about how PCMA helps agencies support individuals who exhibit dangerous behaviors. For more info on them, go to crisisintervention.com.
  • If you like what you hear on the Behavioral Observations Podcast, you can support the show by either joining the Patreon group, which provides numerous benefits, or by considering us for your continuing education needs.
Jun 12, 2021

In Session 159 of The Behavioral Observations Podcast, Michael Maloney returns to the show. We spend a few minutes catching up since the last time we spoke (see Session 129), but then pivot to his recent collaboration with the Canadian charity organization, the Amorak Society. With help from the Rotary International's literacy initiative, these partners deployed Michael's reading program, The Maloney Method, to over 2500 children in some of the poorest areas of Bangladesh via a smartphone-based app. 

I won't spoil the all the good parts here in the episode description, but let me just say that this is an amazing story of dissemination that I hope you enjoy as much as I did. 

For those interested in learning more about Michael and/or the reading software, check out his website, MaloneyMethod.com. Michael will also be conducting a series of webinars with Behavior Development Solutions throughout the month of June, so please check those out if you'd like to learn directly from him. 

This episode of Behavioral Observations was brought to you with support from:

  • HRIC Recruiting. Barb Voss has been placing BCBAs in permanent positions throughout the US for just about a decade, and has been in the business more generally for 30 years. When you work with HRIC, you work directly with Barb, thereby accessing highly personalized service. So if you're about to graduate, you're looking for a change of pace, or you just want to know if the grass really is greener on the other side, head over to HRIColorado.com to schedule a confidential chat right away.
  • Consider joining the BOP Patreon. Patreon members get early access to podcasts, bonus podcast material, discounts on CEU events from FTF and other continuing ed purveyors, occasional Zoom hangouts, and more!
  • The Whoop Strap! I've been wearing the Whoop Strap for just a few weeks and I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed getting quantitative information on all aspects of my health, including sleep analytics, heart rate, along with heart rate variability, calorie burn, exercise intensity, and Whoop's proprietary "strain" score. I could extol this neat device's virtues indefinitely to you, but instead, you can go check it out for yourself. To get your first month free, head over to behavioralobservations.com/whoop! Also, feel free to join the Behavior Analysts who Whoop Facebook group!
  • Lastly, check out the 2021 Stone Soup Conference! I challenge you to find a better CEU value in any virtual conference out there. With pod faves like Drs. Linda LeBlanc, Dithu Rajaraman, Jim Moore, Kerri Milyko, and more, there's something for everyone at this event. Use promo code PODCAST to save even more at checkout! Click here for additional details.
May 27, 2021

Rather than writing up a compelling introduction to this episode, I'm tempted to say, "just listen to the whole thing!" and leave it there. In Session 158, I chat with one of my oldest friends and Auburn classmate (obligatory "War Eagle!"), Dr. Jim Murphy from the University of Memphis, about the impossibly-broad topic of Substance Use Disorders (SUDs).

Fortunately for us, Jim has spent over 20 years studying this issue from Behavior Analytic/Behavioral Economic points of view, and he has developed an uncanny ability to discuss these complicated repertoires in easy to understand, everyday terms.

As such, in this episode we cover the following:

  • How the environment often plays a key role in substance use.
  • Why the abstinence model for problem drinkers may not be the best fit for some individuals.
  • Why the terms, "alcoholic," and "addict," are neither descriptive, nor helpful.
  • Why we should be more concerned about binge drinkers.
  • How alcohol increases social interactions.
  • How certain age-ranges are at risk for binge-style use patterns.
  • What is Motivational Interviewing, and how it can be used to address binge drinking.
  • The differences in substance use patterns between young adults who do and don't go to college.
  • How developing hobbies and other values-based activities can help curb problem drinking.
  • What does the research say about Alcoholics Anonymous and similar 12-step programs, and in general, the pros and cons of these approaches.
  • How using a Hypothetical Demand Curve analysis can be used to assess motivation to reduce drinking behavior.
  • Why BCBAs should consider getting training in Motivational Interviewing.

Jim was also kind enough to stick around after the interview for a few more minutes in the commercial-free Patreon feed. In this bonus segment, Jim shares his thoughts on drug legalization in America, particularly the legalization of cannabis. If you're interested in checking this out, as well as partaking in other Patreon-only benefits, check out patreon.com/behavioralobservations.

Here are the links to the resources we discussed:

Please permit me a few quick housekeeping notes:

  • We had a few connection issues, so the audio fades in a few places, but I don't think it detracts from the overall content of the show.
  • As with Session 157, this episode was recorded in December of 2020, so there may be a few time-based references that will seem out of sync... however, I don't think they have much bearing on the overall gist of the podcast.

This episode is brought to you today with the generous support of:

  • Institutional Tier Patron Greenspace Behavioral Technology. For more information on their products and services check out greenspacebehavior.com.
  • The Whoop Strap! I've been wearing the Whoop Strap for just a few weeks and I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed getting quantitative information on all aspects of my health, including sleep analytics, heart rate, along with heart rate variability, calorie burn, exercise intensity, and Whoop's proprietary "strain" score. I could extol this neat device's virtues indefinitely to you, but instead, you can go check it out for yourself. To get your first month free, head over to behavioralobservations.com/whoop! Also, feel free to join the Behavior Analysts who Whoop Facebook group!
  • Behavior University. Their mission is to provide university quality professional development for the busy Behavior Analyst. Learn about their CEU offerings, including their brand new 8-hour Supervision Course, as well as their RBT offerings over at behavioruniversity.com/observations.
  • Consider joining the BOP Patreon. Patreon members get early access to podcasts, bonus podcast material, discounts on CEU events from FTF and other continuing ed purveyors, occasional Zoom hangouts, and more!
May 18, 2021

Dr. Becca Tagg from Del Mar Behavioral Health joins me to discuss the unique approach her agency uses to train early-career BCBAs. This conversation was inspired by the interview I conducted with Dr. Mary Jane Weiss last year, in which we talked about how cool it would be if the field had an ABA equivalent of a medical residency model, so that BCBAs can learn about practicing with a variety of populations.

As you'll hear in the interview, Becca heard this and reached out to say that this is exactly what they do, and we spend the majority of the conversation discussing just how they implement this unique training strategy.

Before we get to the residency topic, we spent a little bit of time catching up since our last chat, and especially focus on how Del Mar's services adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic. To this end, I should also note that we recorded this conversation in December, and as such, some of the references may seem a bit anachronistic, but many of these challenges are still with us in the Spring of 2021, so I chose to keep that part of the conversation in this episode.

If you like these types of topics, I suggest that you join the ABA Business Builders Facebook Group if you haven't already done so. While you're there, say hello to Becca!

Here are the links to resources we discussed:

This episode of Behavioral Observations was brought to you with support from:

  • HRIC Recruiting. Barb Voss has been placing BCBAs in permanent positions throughout the US for just about a decade, and has been in the business more generally for 30 years. When you work with HRIC, you work directly with Barb, thereby accessing highly personalized service. So if you're about to graduate, you're looking for a change of pace, or you just want to know if the grass really is greener on the other side, head over to HRIColorado.com to schedule a confidential chat right away.
  • Consider joining the BOP Patreon. Patreon members get early access to podcasts, bonus podcast material, discounts on CEU events from FTF and other continuing ed purveyors, occasional Zoom hangouts, and more!
  • The Whoop Strap! I've been wearing the Whoop Strap for just a few weeks and I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed getting quantitative information on all aspects of my health, including sleep analytics, heart rate, along with heart rate variability, calorie burn, exercise intensity, and Whoop's proprietary "strain" score. I could extol this neat device's virtues indefinitely to you, but instead, you can go check it out for yourself. To get your first month free, head over to behavioralobservations.com/whoop! Also, feel free to join the Behavior Analysts who Whoop Facebook group!
May 4, 2021

Dr. Adithyan "Dithu" Rajaraman joins me in Session 156 to discuss his work in the Practical Functional Assessment/Skills-Based Treatment literature. 

Dithu is a former student of pod-fave Dr. Greg Hanley, and as one might expect, Dithu approaches his work with a similar degree of humility and open-mindedness. He earned his Ph.D. at Western New England University, and is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County 

As we discuss in the first few minutes of the show, I met Dithu about four or five years ago at APBA, and I was instantly struck with how well he communicated complex ideas in a manner that just about anybody can understand. We've kept in touch since then, and I was fortunate enough to find a time where we could get together for an in-depth conversation on the podcast. 

In this episode, we covered his entry into the field of ABA, the seemingly false distinction of behavior-reduction vs. skill instruction, the basics of the Practical Functional Assessment and Skills-Based Treatment models, dealing with caregiver objections to these approaches, Dithu's research on what he calls the Enhanced Choice Model of skill instruction, implementing these procedures in public school settings, and much more. We also talk about how he stumped me with a question when I was a panelist at an ABAI event…

You’re going to want to stay through to the very end because Dithu provides some really unique advice – not only for newly-minted BCBAs, but practitioners of all experience levels.

The Patreon version of this show involves an extra 45-50 minutes of content, in which we talk about Dithu’s passion for the sport Cricket and field questions from Patrons. Last but not least, Dithu, as some of you might know, is quite the singer, and he ends the bonus footage by sharing his vocal stylings. To get access to this content, as well as commercial-free podcast feeds, discounts on FTF trainings, and more, check out patreon.com/behavioralobservations. And while we’re on the topic of Patreon, Dithu has agreed to do a Zoom call with members, where he’ll take questions directly from listeners.

I should also add that Dithu insisted I give some shoutouts to the following folks who helped him with his research, and they include the aforementioned Greg Hanley, as well as Holly Gover, Johanna Staubitz, John Staubitz, Kathleen Simcoe, Rachel Metras, Robin Landa, and Kelsey Ruppel. This research has been recently published in Behavior Analysis in Practice as well, so I recommend you check it out when you get a chance. 

If you like Dithu's approach and want to learn more from him, my friends at Behavior University are hosting a webinar with him titled: Enhanced Choice Model: Trauma-informed Process for Assessing and Treating Dangerous Behavior. Behavior University is a sponsor of the podcast, and if you'd like to save on your registration for this event, use the code PODCAST at checkout. 

Also, if you're looking for a grad program and you really want to dive deep into this area, UMBC is always accepting applicants to their Master's program in ABA, which is closely affiliated with the Kennedy Krieger Institute, and that Dithu is accepting doctoral students in the Applied Developmental Psychology program. 

In addition to Behavior University and the Patreon Group, this episode is also brought to you by How-to-ABABeing a BCBA can be lonely and overwhelming.  At howtoaba.com, we help BCBA’s feel supported and confident by providing easy to access printables, CEU's and a collaborative community. Also, your monthly pro membership includes access to CEU’s! Along with the community of over 1000 ABA professionals, howtoaba.com will help you save time, feel confident and master what you love! For more information, Go to howtoaba.com/joinbxresource.  When you join today and use code BOP, you’ll receive 10% off a yearly subscription (includes CEU’s!).

Apr 26, 2021

In previous appearances on this podcast and elsewhere, Pat Friman has told the story of Father Flanagan, founder of BoysTown. According to Pat, Father Flanagan often made the following statement when describing his philosophy of helping troubled youths: "there is no such thing as a bad boy, only bad environments, bad modeling, and bad teaching."

For the Spring 2021 issue of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Dr. Linda LeBlanc invited Pat to expand on these remarks in the issue's lead paper. In this podcast, I'm joined by both Linda and Pat, as well as Inside JABA regular, Dr. Claire St. Peter, where we talk at length about the "circumstantial view" of behavior as it applies to both clinical practice in particular, and societal trends more generally.

Specifically, we discuss the following:

  • How this paper fits into LeBlanc’s “big idea paper” concept.
  • How “big idea” papers are often conceptual rather than data based.
  • Why Pat stopped presenting papers with original data, and why he started giving more thematic talks.
  • The difference, from Pat’s perspective between giving a talk and writing a journal article.
  • A brief history of BoysTown.
  • Just what is the Circumstantial View of problem behavior?
  • Some examples from Pat’s life where he failed to take the Circumstantial View of behavior.
  • Why the Circumstantial View has failed to flourish?
  • How supervisors can incorporate these views with trainees and other team members?
  • Why it is important to tell a real-life story as a vehicle for explain a behavioral principles.
  • Why Pat’s view of Walden Two has changed.
  • Movies that demonstrate both the Circumstantial and Characterological View of behavior.
  • And much more!

During this conversation, we discussed many papers and other resources. I've done my best to capture all of them below:

In keeping with previous Inside JABA Series podcasts, there will be no ads in this episode. However, this show happens to be eligible for BACB Continuing Education. So click here for more information. And, to help incentivize getting Pat's important message out there, I’m running a 50% 55% off sale from now, through the first week of May, 2021. Use offer code Boystown, to get more than half off any CEU in the Behavioral Observations catalog.

I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. If so, please consider sharing with friends and colleagues!

Apr 13, 2021

I had a great chat with fellow Auburn University alum Dr. Alice Shillingsburg. Alice has been doing great work in the field for decades, as you can see from her bio below:

Dr. Shillingsburg currently serves as Sr. Vice President of Children’s Clinical Services and Training at May Institute. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from Auburn University and completed her predoctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the Marcus Institute. She previously served as the Director of the Language and Learning Clinic at the Marcus Autism Center and held an appointment of Associate Professor at Emory University in the Division of Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Shillingsburg is a licensed psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D). Her clinical expertise includes the development of language and behavioral programming to address a variety of behavioral difficulties and social communication deficits associated with autism and other developmental disabilities. She has published over 50 empirical papers and book chapters on interventions for children with autism and related developmental disabilities. She is currently an associate editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, editorial board member of Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, and is past associate editor for The Analysis of Verbal Behavior.

In this episode we talk about:

  • How she got into the ABA field.
  • Our similar experiences at Auburn University's Psychology Department
  • Her work in clinical leadership at The May Institute.
  • Things to avoid when trying to advocate for change.
  • Her upcoming talks (two of them!) at the Verbal Behavior Conference 2021
  • Teaching Social Skills.
  • Using Speech Generation Devices... and so much more. 

As noted in the interview, the VBC is coming up right around the corner. If you do decide to register, use the code Podcast10 at checkout to save some $$$. As we mentioned towards the end of the show, the May Institute is looking for staff to invest in, so click here to learn more about available job opportunities.

This podcast is brought to you by the following:

  • Behavior University. Their mission is to provide university quality professional development for the busy Behavior Analyst. Learn about their CEU offerings, including their brand new 8-hour Supervision Course, as well as their RBT offerings over at behavioruniversity.com/observations.
  • How-to-ABABeing a BCBA can be lonely and overwhelming.  At howtoaba.com, we help BCBA’s feel supported and confident by providing easy to access printables, CEU's and a collaborative community. Also, your monthly pro membership includes access to CEU’s! Along with the community of over 1000 ABA professionals, howtoaba.com will help you save time, feel confident and master what you love! For more information, Go to howtoaba.com/joinbxresource.  When you join today and use code BOP, you’ll receive 10% off a yearly subscription (includes CEU’s!).
  • Consider joining the BOP Patreon. Patreon members get early access to podcasts, bonus podcast material, discounts on CEU events from FTF and other continuing ed purveyors, occasional Zoom hangouts, and more!
Apr 5, 2021

In Session 153, , which I'll get to in just a minute. But to set the context for our conversation, I'd like to start by noticing that I often see the quote by Skinner, "When you run into something interesting, drop everything else and study it," posted on social media quite frequently. In fact, when I plugged that quote into Google, it returned almost 9 million results!

Now, I could be wrong about this, but this notion of following one's interests would seem to fly in the face of developing a successful research career. That is, it may be more productive from a publishing point of view to go an inch-wide and mile-deep into a particular topic, and that academic contingencies perhaps nudge researchers away from investigating a wider range of phenomena.

What does all this have to do with this interview? Well, it seems that Nicole had done quite well in bucking this tendency, and that she has been quite successful doing research across a wide area of clinical topics. And in this conversation, we cover many of these research and practice interests, including supporting individuals with restricted and repetitive problem behaviors, the effects of physical reactions to aggressive behavior, what she's going to be talking about at the 2021 Verbal Behavior Conference, her outreach to Spanish speaking clients and families, and what it's like to pursue so many different research ideas.

She closes out the show with some fantastic advice that is not only applicable to newly minted BCBA's, but practitioners of all experience levels. I don't want to spoil it here in the intro, so you'll want to make sure to listen all the way through. Long story short, this was a fun conversation, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

In this episode, we discussed the following:

This podcast is brought to you with support from the following:

  • Institutional Tier Patron Greenspace Behavioral Technology. For more information on their products and services check out greenspacebehavior.com.
  • HRIC Recruiting. Barb Voss has been placing BCBAs in permanent positions throughout the US for just about a decade, and has been in the business more generally for 30 years. When you work with HRIC, you work directly with Barb, thereby accessing highly personalized service. So if you're about to graduate, you're looking for a change of pace, or you just want to know if the grass really is greener on the other side, head over to HRIColorado.com to schedule a confidential chat right away.
  • Consider joining the BOP Patreon. Patreon members get early access to podcasts, bonus podcast material, discounts on CEU events from FTF and other continuing ed purveyors, occasional Zoom hangouts, and more!

Become a Patron!

Mar 17, 2021

Are you consulting Google to determine how to keep your clients and co-workers safe in this seemingly never-ending Covid-19 pandemic? Well, lucky for you, my guests in Session 152 have done the heavy lifting and thoroughly researched best practices in risk-mitigation in ABA clinical practice.

My guests for this episode include Drs. Zahra HajiaghamohseniMary Caruso-AndersonJennifer SweenySarah Duarte, and Christy Evanko. These Behavior Analysts hail from all over the country and came together to develop a continuum of care screener, which is a tool that ABA providers can use to manage risk in their practice.

In this show, we discuss what risk-mitigation means, why the practice of ABA presents unique risk-mitigation challenges, and steps providers can take to reduce the likelihood of becoming infected with Covid-19. We cover a lot of ground in this episode, and this may be one that you want to share with your co-workers, supervisors, and anyone else who is charged with the health and safety of clients and staff members.

Here are the links to some resources that were discussed:

This episode is brought to you with support from:

  • The 2021 Virginia Association for Behavior Analysis Conference! This year's VABA conference is April 15th and 16th. While this will be a safe and socially-distanced in-person event, it will also be available online, so don't worry if you're not local to the Virginia area. If you do sign up for it, use the promo code, GOMBU - a nod to conference sponsor, Mary Baldwin University, to save at checkout.
  • HRIC Recruiting. Barb Voss has been placing BCBAs in permanent positions throughout the US for just about a decade, and has been in the business more generally for 30 years. When you work with HRIC, you work directly with Barb, thereby accessing highly personalized service. So if you're about to graduate, you're looking for a change of pace, or you just want to know if the grass really is greener on the other side, head over to HRIColorado.com to schedule a confidential chat right away.
  • The Whoop Strap! I've been wearing the Whoop Strap for just a few weeks and I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed getting quantitative information on all aspects of my health, including sleep analytics, heart rate, along with heart rate variability, calorie burn, exercise intensity, and Whoop's proprietary "strain" score. I could extol this neat device's virtues indefinitely to you, but instead, you can go check it out for yourself. To get your first month free, head over to behavioralobservations.com/whoop! Also, feel free to join the Behavior Analysts who Whoop Facebook group!
  • Consider joining the BOP Patreon. Patreon members get early access to podcasts, bonus podcast material, discounts on CEU events from FTF and other continuing ed purveyors, occasional Zoom hangouts, and more!
Mar 8, 2021

In Session 151, I chat with Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi about a range of topics, but we spent the majority of the time discussing her recent paper in Behavior Analysis in Practice titled: Black Women and Barriers to Leadership in ABA. Nasiah is the CEO of two organizations, Ulezi, LLC and Pivot 2 Inclusion.

If you haven't read her paper yet, please pause this show and go do so. It's a sobering account of some of the struggles faced by Black women in our field. Nasiah highlights her findings in this conversation, so I don't want to spoil them here in the introduction, so let's just say it's unsettling, yet necessary to hear about some of the challenges faced by Black women in our field. 

Fortunately, Nasiah discusses some potential solutions, and more generally, provides us with some things to think about moving forward. In this episode, we also discussed her upcoming keynote address at this year's Virginia ABA conference, which is scheduled for April 16th and 17th. VABA is offering this event as both an in-person conference as well as a virtual experience. It you'd like to learn more, go to Virginiaaba.org, and if you sign up, use the code GOMBU to save at registration.   

We closed the show out with a brief discussion of what behaviorally-based life-coaching looks like, as that's a service that Nasiah has been offering for some time. And then she closes the show with some outstanding advice for Behavior Analysts of all experience levels. 

Here are the links to the resources we discussed:

I hope you enjoy this conversation as much a I did, and thanks so much for supporting the show!

This podcast is brought to you with support from:

  • Gateway Learning Group, and their Autism Leadership Academy. Designed for new Regional Directors, the Autism Leadership Academy develops motivated BCBAs into successful leaders in the autism field. If you’re interested in running your own regional center and want to learn the skills to do so successfully, check out gatewaylg.com/BOPNote: Immediate openings available in Texas. BCBAs across the U.S. are encouraged to apply!
  • Consider joining the BOP Patreon. Patreon members get early access to podcasts, bonus podcast material, discounts on CEU events from FTF and other continuing ed purveyors, occasional Zoom hangouts, and more!
Mar 1, 2021

In Session 150 of The Behavioral Observations Podcast, I got a chance to finally interview Dr. Vince Carbone. In our conversation we covered a lot of interesting topics.

Instead of covering the ins and outs of Verbal Behavior - the topic it's fair to say that Vince is best known for - we talked about the history and evolution of the field of Behavior Analysis. Specifically, we discussed how he transitioned from aspiring baseball player to Psychology student, what the field was like when he first got started, his early career experiences in the Juvenile Justice and public education systems, and why he started the Carbone clinics.

We spend a fair amount of time on his ideas for sustainably growing an ABA practice, including how he built a pipeline of exceptional clinicians and some of the challenges he sees in the field as a whole.

Vince also shared many anecdotes from his various interactions with B.F. Skinner. Additionally, Vince shared his thoughts on the recent passing of Jack Michael.

Here are a few references that were mentioned in the show:

Vince will be giving two talks at the 2021 Verbal Behavior Conference, which is on April 22-23, and is brought to you by my friends at the Central Texas Autism Center. There will be many other great speakers at the conference as well, and like last year, they invited me to facilitate a panel discussion, so if you'd like to learn more, click here to learn more. If you decide to register, use the code Podcast10 to save 10% at checkout!

Today's episode is brought to you with the generous support of the following:

  • Essential For Living. The Essential for Living is the most comprehensive life skills curriculum and teaching handbook on the market today. It is designed for both children and adults with moderate-to-severe disabilities, including, but not limited to autism. The EFL is extraordinarily helpful in guiding the instruction of all adults with moderate-to-severe intellectual disabilities. To learn more, go to essentialforliving.com, and if you decide to purchase any EFL materials, use the code BOEFL to save 10% off your order now through the end of March!
  • How-to-ABABeing a BCBA can be lonely and overwhelming.  At howtoaba.com, we help BCBA’s feel supported and confident by providing easy to access printables, CEU's and a collaborative community. Also, your monthly pro membership includes access to CEU’s! Along with the community of over 1000 ABA professionals, howtoaba.com will help you save time, feel confident and master what you love! For more information, Go to howtoaba.com/joinbxresource.  When you join today and use code BOP, you’ll receive 10% off a yearly subscription (includes CEU’s!).
  • Behavioral Observations Patreon. A lot of folks have been joining the BOP Patreon Group since its launch in January. So if you're interested in getting awesome discounts for professional development from FTF, accessing an ad-free podcast feed, listening to bonus patrons-only content, and more, head over to patreon.com/behavioralobservations.
Feb 22, 2021

I've known that the 5th anniversary of the podcast has been coming up for quite some time now, and I've been wracking my brain on how best to commemorate this milestone. After considering a few different options, I eventually decided that there was no better place to start than by looking back at the first episode of Behavioral Observations, my interview with Dr. Greg Hanley.

In this episode, we discussed the origins of what is now called the Practical Functional Assessment approach, back when it was referred to as the IISCA.

I wanted to replay this show for a few reasons. First, even though the PFA process has gone through many refinements over the last few years, in this episode, Greg describes the factors that led him to deviate from the Standard Functional Analysis procedure. I think that part of the show on its own is worth revisiting.

The second reason for sharing this conversation again is that every day new listeners are coming in contact with the show. While I get emails from some of them who tell me that they binge the back catalog, with nearly 150 shows, I don't expect that everyone is going to subject themselves to that.

Lastly, this particular episode is the most downloaded episode when compared to all the other shows I've published. As of this writing, the show has been downloaded over 56,000 times. About 15,000 times more than the second-most downloaded show (which by the way, is Session 7, again with Greg... want to guess who's in the third-most downloaded show?).

So for all those reasons and more, I hope you enjoy this episode, whether it is for the first time, or if you're dusting it off for a re-listen.

On a broader note, I'd like to talk for a minute about my thoughts on the show turning five. It's not an understatement when I tell you that creating this podcast has been a life-changing experience for me. Most certainly life-changing in a professional sense, and very likely from a personal one as well. With regard to the former, starting the show really re-energized my passion for the field at a time when I was teetering on the brink of burnout (before burnout became a fashionable term).

With regard to the latter, I've met several hundred people and made some amazing friends throughout this journey. And when milestones like these come up, it is incredibly overwhelming to think through all of the people who've helped me make this show happen.

First, there are so many people who have been listeners and supporters since Session 1. People who've listened to every single episode... all of my filler words, awkward silences, vocal fry, the whole nine yards. I once had someone actually take data on my filler words and would send it to me from time to time. That's dedication! All kidding aside, this show would've quietly faded out over time if it wasn't for the support and encouragement from you, the listener.

I'm also grateful to everyone who shares episodes with friends and co-workers. And of course supervisors and professors who who force their mentees and students to consume this content. It is both amazing and gratifying that this fun side project is helping people learn more about the science we all know and love.

I've had countless people and organizations support the show financially, whether by purchasing CEUs*, subscribing to my Patreon membership, sponsoring episodes, or inviting me to speak at events. To be perfectly candid, the ability to generate some revenue from Behavioral Observations allows me to put more time into the show, and I'm grateful for everyone who has helped me do just that.

It is always a danger to list specific people to thank in situations like these, as it is all too easy to inadvertently leave someone out. As such, I've chosen to limit my shoutouts to one person in particular: my friend John Corley. John is not a Behavior Analyst, but he is a programmer and all around tech-savvy guy. I shared the idea of a podcast with him over a few beers, and he relentlessly encouraged me to follow through with it. In fact, he helped me set up my website, the podcast's RSS feed, showed me the basics of GarageBand, and lots more. He remains on standby to me whenever I have a bug or glitch that needs sorting out.

John Corley and me ~ 2017

So huge thanks to both John, and everyone else who has played a part in getting this show to nearly 2.5 million downloads in these last five years. I could say thank you a million times and it wouldn't be enough.

I look forward to sharing these conversations with you for the next five years and beyond!

  • The 2021 Virginia Association for Behavior Analysis Conference! This year's VABA conference is April 15th and 16th. While this will be a safe and socially-distanced in-person event, it will also be available online, so don't worry if you're not local to the Virginia area. If you do sign up for it, use the promo code, GOMBU - a nod to conference sponsor, Mary Baldwin University, to save at checkout.
  • Also, I'm throwing a 5-year anniversary sale for all BOP CEU events. Get 55% off all CEU events by using the promo code "fiveyears." This offer expires at the end of February, 2021. Don't need CEU's, but want to get ad-free podcasts, access to bonus content, member Q & A zooms, and more? Consider joining the BOP Patreon Group. For more info, check out patreon.com/behavioralobservations!

Feb 18, 2021

So the title of this show may be a bit of a misnomer. Let me explain...

In Session 148, Shira Karpel and Shayna Gaunt, founders of HowToABA.com, join me to talk about one of my favorite topics: supporting the newly-minted BCBA. As you might know by now, that's very often my closing question of the podcast.

In this episode however, we pretty much spent the entire time talking about strategies for helping early-career professionals succeed. So what is the misnomer all about? As it turns out, the advice that Shira and Shayna provided - on topics ranging from obtaining mentorship to setting professional boundaries - is helpful for BCBA's of all experience levels.

Moreover, Shira and Shayna created HowToABA.com to provide materials and continuing education opportunities for BCBA's, as well as a supportive community of like-minded practitioners. And in this episode, they share their experiences and insight and address the following:

  • Common challenges faced by newly-minted BCBA's (and how to address them).
  • Common mistakes early-stage practitioners make.
  • Strategies to establish professional boundaries.
  • What practitioners are looking for in their Continuing Education.
  • Why they started HowToABA.com.
  • The ABA Forum that they're hosting. It's a virtual 3-night event where they bring together recognized speakers in the field who will share on different topics in Behavior Analysis - from supervision to ethics and social skills and everything in between.

Again, despite the headline, there's something in this episode for everyone. Also, I want to note that we had some intermittent Zoom connectivity challenges, and Shira's audio flaked in and out in a few spots. I chose not to edit those segments out because I think she was still able to make her points known, and thankfully, we were able to resolve it as the show went on.

Here are links to some of the things we discussed:

Today's episode is brought to you by:

  • The 2021 Virginia Association for Behavior Analysis Conference! This year's VABA conference is April 15th and 16th. While this will be a safe and socially-distanced in-person event, it will also be available online, so don't worry if you're not local to the Virginia area. If you do sign up for it, use the promo code, GOMBU - a nod to conference sponsor, Mary Baldwin University, to save at checkout.
  • HRIC Recruiting. Barb Voss has been placing BCBAs in permanent positions throughout the US for just about a decade, and has been in the business more generally for 30 years. When you work with HRIC, you work directly with Barb, thereby accessing highly personalized service. So if you're about to graduate, you're looking for a change of pace, or you just want to know if the grass really is greener on the other side, head over to HRIColorado.com to schedule a confidential chat right away.
  • Also, I'm throwing a 5-year anniversary sale for all BOP CEU events. Get 55% off all CEU events by using the promo code "fiveyears." This offer expires at the end of February, 2021. Don't need CEU's, but want to get ad-free podcasts, access to bonus content, member Q & A zooms, and more? Consider joining the BOP Patreon Group. For more info, check out patreon.com/behavioralobservations!
Feb 10, 2021

In this episode of Behavioral Observations, I chat with Drs. Florence DiGennaro-Reed, Derek Reed, and Gregory Madden. While we talked a bit about their new book, An Introduction to Behavior Analysis, we framed the discussion around the process of teaching itself, textbook notwithstanding.

Before getting into the content itself, let me introduce our guests:

  • Dr. DiGennaro-Reed is an Associate Professor in and Chairperson of the Department of Applied Behavioral Science at the University of Kansas where she directs the Performance Management Laboratory and Performance Management Center. Her research examines effective and efficient staff training and performance improvement practices. She also conducts translational research in on-campus laboratory facilities.
  • Dr. Derek Reed is a familiar voice to long-time BOP listeners. He is, among other things, an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Behavioral Science at the University of Kansas where he directs the Applied Behavioral Economics Laboratory.
  • Dr. Gregory Madden teaches and conducts research at Utah State University. Here is an excerpt of his bio in his own words: "I am a Professor in the Department of Psychology. I teach PSY1400/1410, which is the introductory course in behavioral processes. Topics range from free will to interventions designed to treat depression and drug dependence. I also teach an upper-division course on applying behavior-change technology to workplace settings."

It turns out that they've been working on this book for roughly six years. We talked about why they thought a new ABA text was necessary, what makes this book stand apart from other really good ones that are out there, and how they attacked the massive challenge that is the writing process itself.

Along the way, we ended up getting into what makes for good university instruction, the need (perceived or otherwise) to "sell" students on Behavior Analysis, and lots of other interesting nuggets and tips for those who have the important task of teaching the next generation of behavior analysis students. As such, I think there are a lot of meta-lessons embedded in this episode that are relevant whether or not you teach this material.

Here are the links for this episode:

This podcast is brought to you with support from:

  • If you want to study ABA and Positive Behavior Supports at a top-notch setting in Europe, then look no further than the Tizard Center at the University of Kent. Since 1986, they've been training professionals to support individuals with disabilities. Their primary focus has always been promoting values-based and ethical approaches to supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. If you would like to learn more about ABA and PBS training on an international stage, check out www.tizard.org.
  • Gateway Learning Group, and their Autism Leadership Academy. Designed for new Regional Directors, the Autism Leadership Academy develops motivated BCBAs into successful leaders in the autism field. If you’re interested in running your own regional center and want to learn the skills to do so successfully, check out gatewaylg.com/BOPNote: Immediate openings available in Texas. BCBAs across the U.S. are encouraged to apply!
  • Behavior University. Their mission is to provide university quality professional development for the busy Behavior Analyst. Learn about their CEU offerings, including their brand new 8-hour Supervision Course, as well as their RBT offerings over at behavioruniversity.com/observations.
  • Consider joining the BOP Patreon. Patreon members get early access to podcasts, bonus podcast material, discounts on CEU events from FTF and other continuing ed purveyors, occasional Zoom hangouts, and more!
Feb 1, 2021

In the sixth edition of the Inside JABA Series, I'm joined by Inside JABA regulars Drs. Linda LeBlanc and Claire St. Peter, as well as Dr. Jesse Dallery, to talk about the paper he and his colleagues published in the latest issue of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

This paper fits nicely in JABA's ongoing series on Public Health and Telehealth, and is a great example of the potential for Behavior Analysis to be used for so much more than the type of work many BCBAs are doing currently. As Linda states during the show, "public health is all around us," and that public health challenges, at the end of the day, are behavioral in nature. As an aside, if you're not currently subscribed to JABA, you can do so here

Here are some of the topics we discussed:

  • The current scope of cigarette smoking in the United States.
  • How cigarette smoking occurs disproportionately in individuals of lower socio-economic status.
  • Previous research in the contingency management (CM) of cigarette smoking.
  • The logistical challenges of previous work in CM.
  • How Jesse and his research team addressed these challenges in the current study by developing a mobile system of carbon monoxide sampling.
  • The relationship between the literatures of CM and Delay Discounting, and more generally, Behavioral Economics (I couldn't' help myself from butting in and asking a few questions about this).

Here are the links to papers, podcasts, apps, and other resources we talked about:

As with previous Inside JABA Series Podcasts, this one is eligible for BACB approved Continuing Education, click here to learn more! While we're on the topic of CEUs, allow me to suggest subscribing to the Behavioral Observations' Patreon page, where enrolled patrons get access to discounts in the BOP CEU store, as well as other purveyors of behavior analytic training. To learn more, head over to patreon.com/behavioralobservations!

Jan 21, 2021

In Session 145, I speak with Deidre Sturm and Anne Denning from The Consultants for Children, an agency that supports individuals with ASD based out of Colorado.

Together, Anne and Deidre tell the story of how they completely revamped their agency’s approach to supporting individuals with problem behavior. After not seeing much success with their existing functional assessment practices, they dove deep into the work of Dr. Greg Hanley and his colleagues.

After taking all the online professional development that’s available on the IISCA or PFA approach, Deidre and Anne, along with the rest of their colleagues at The Consultants for Children, began slowly rolling out this process on an agency-wide basis.

During this conversation, we cover how they got started, what they’ve learned from implementing these procedures “in the real world” – especially in the context of telehealth – and lots more.

Here are the links to the resources we discuss:

As an aside, an ad-free version show has already been shared with members of my Patreon group, which you can learn more about at patreon.com/behavioralobservations. Also, if you're a member of the All-Access Patron Tier or above, you have access to 20% discount codes to FTF's online trainings. There are more benefits available too, but this one alone is literally worth the cost on its own.

Session 145 is also brought to you with support from:

  • Gateway Learning Group, and their Autism Leadership Academy. Designed for new Regional Directors, the Autism Leadership Academy develops motivated BCBAs into successful leaders in the autism field. If you’re interested in running your own regional center and want to learn the skills to do so successfully, check out gatewaylg.com/BOPNote: Immediate openings available in Texas. BCBAs across the U.S. are encouraged to apply!
  • HRIC Recruiting. Barb Voss has been placing BCBAs in permanent positions throughout the US for just about a decade, and has been in the business more generally for 30 years. When you work with HRIC, you work directly with Barb, thereby accessing highly personalized service. So if you're about to graduate, you're looking for a change of pace, or you just want to know if the grass really is greener on the other side, head over to HRIColorado.com to schedule a confidential chat right away.
Jan 12, 2021

I've been wanting to interview Dr. Carl Hart ever since I first heard him speak at the 2015 Mass ABA conference. Put differently, when asked who would be a 'bucket list' interview, Carl Hart was usually the first name that I answered with.

Ever since learning about Carl's work, I've admired his ability and willingness to advance science-based arguments in the popular press media. If this is your first time hearing his name, let me share a little of his background information. Carl is the Ziff Professor of Psychology at Columbia University, where he's been researching the behavioral and neuropharmacological effects of psychoactive drugs in humans for nearly 20 years.

Carl's research, along with his personal experience and observations, has shaped an honest and refreshing point of view as to how society treats the behavior of drug taking, and what we need to do in terms of changing public policies in this area. Even if you disagree with his main thesis, I encourage you to listen all the way through our interview. Personally, I have my own homework to do in terms of thinking through whether the full legalization of all classes of drugs is a good idea, but I think in general, it's good to challenge our assumptions and views, even if only periodically.

One of the other things that I like about Carl is that he has been successful in communicating complex and nuanced scientific findings in the area of mass media. He's been featured in the op-ed pages of major newspapers and on network television. Carl has also been a guest on The Joe Rogan Experience, which is, by audience standards, very likely the largest podcast out there right now.

Even more impressive though is how Carl has taken the time to share his views in popular press books. His first book, High Price, was a New York Times bestseller, and I have no doubt that Drug Use for Grown Ups will meet or exceed the success of it. Long story short, I think there are lessons for dissemination we can all learn from him. 

Here are the links to the various sources we mentioned:

 

Today's episode is brought to you with the generous support of the following:

  • Behavior University. Their mission is to provide university quality professional development for the busy Behavior Analyst. Learn about their CEU offerings, including their brand new 8-hour Supervision Course, as well as their RBT offerings over at behavioruniversity.com/observations.
  • How-to-ABABeing a BCBA can be lonely and overwhelming.  At howtoaba.com, we help BCBA’s feel supported and confident by providing easy to access printables, CEU's and a collaborative community. Also, your monthly pro membership includes access to CEU’s! Along with the community of over 1000 ABA professionals, howtoaba.com will help you save time, feel confident and master what you love! For more information, Go to howtoaba.com/joinbxresource.  When you join today and use code BOP, you’ll receive 10% off a yearly subscription (includes CEU’s!).
  • The long-awaited Behavioral Observations Patreon. For the last few years, I've run a private membership group on my website, and I'm excited to announce that I'm transitioning this over to the Patreon platform. There are several different options based on your needs and budget, so if you're interested in getting awesome discounts for professional development from Greg Hanley's company, FTF, accessing an ad-free podcast, listening to bonus patrons-only content, and more, head over to patreon.com/behavioralobservations.
Jan 5, 2021

In Session 143, I chat with John Capodilupo, co-founder of Whoop, the maker of the Whoop strap system I've been talking about for the last several episodes.

At the risk of sounding like an informercial for this neat product, I've really enjoyed using the Whoop strap for the last few months. If you aren't familiar with it, the Whoop strap is a wearable device that tracks all sorts of cool metrics, including sleep, calorie burn, heart rate, and more.

As John notes in the podcast, the folks at Whoop are using data science and machine learning to optimize personal health. And they do this through these proprietary metrics that are generated from the device. John gets into the weeds on this topic, and regardless of whether you're in the market for wearable tech, I think you'll find it quite fascinating!

We also discuss Whoop's involvement in research in detecting the early stages of both Covid-19 and Alzheimer's disease. I think this device and the data it produces, is giving us a window to the future of big data and public health research. Fascinating times we live in for sure!

If you're interested in trying out a Whoop strap for yourself, check out join.whoop.com/matt and save $30 in the process. You can also go to behavioralobservations.com/whoop, and that will take you in the right direction too.

At the request of a listener who's been a Whoop user for quite a while, I've created a Facebook group, Behavior Analysts who Whoop, so feel free to join the group, ask questions, and so on.

Here are the links to the resources we discussed:

I also wanted to let you know that I've decided to start a Patreon for Behavioral Observations. I arrived at this after much consideration. When I first heard about Patreon, it felt like a mechanism for asking for a handout... kind of like an internet tip jar, and I didn't start one because there was not enough value in it for the listener.

Fortunately, Patreon has really stepped up their game to the point where they are able to offer subscribers really cool benefits. Specifically, depending on which membership tier is chosen, subscribers can access an ad-free podcast feed, subscribers-only bonus content, discounts in the Behavioral Observations CEU store, and much more.

Earlier today, I just uploaded a great Q & A session with Greg Hanley that we recorded last spring, which is available for All Access and Institutional level subscribers.

I'm also working with a few different companies and I hope to be able to offer subscriber-only discounts for products and services from other folks in the ABA space. So if this sounds good to you, head over to patreon.com/behavioralobservations to learn more!

Dec 23, 2020

My friends over at ABA Inside Track - Robert Parry-Crews, Diana Parry-Crews, and Jackie Macdonald, got together for our third annual year-in-review collaboration.

And suffice to say, what a year it has been. In this episode, we discuss the events of 2020, both in the world of Behavior Analysis and beyond. We spoke at great length about the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the provision of services, as well as how Behavior Analysis responded to the challenges of racism, policing, and the like. Finally, we round out the episode by honoring the memories of some of the pioneers in our field who passed away in 2020.

So grab a beverage of choice, put your earbuds in, and join us in kicking 2020 to the curb and look forward to a hopefully more reinforcing 2021!

Here is a very likely incomplete list of links to things we discussed:

On a final note, I'd be remiss if I didn't say how grateful I am for everyone who listens to and supports the show. I was raised to not discuss money in public, but the pandemic has cut the revenue of my consultation practice by more than half, and despite that, we managed to get through the worst of it because of the support from the audience. So whether you've purchased CEU's, subscribed to the membership community, patronized my wonderful sponsors, or simply shared favorite episodes with friends and minded behavior peeps, you've really come through and helped me avoid what could have been a financial disaster.

For all of this and more, to say that I am thankful doesn't even scratch the surface. I'm looking forward to 2021, and I'm excited to continue to produce and share these conversations. And from my family to yours, please have a happy and safe holiday!

Special thanks to the following (apologies in advance, as they're likely to be folks that I forgot to mention):

Dec 17, 2020

In Session 141 I speak with Sasha Shtern and Dr. Eric Moody about using the Goally Learning Device with families. Sasha is the CEO of Goally and Eric holds the title of Research Professor at the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities.

Goally is an Android-based stand-alone device that allows users to program visuals schedules, create task analyses, manage token economies, and even log problem behaviors.

In this episode we talk about the conditions that motivated the creation of this device, the research and implementation science that's been conducted with it, and how both clinicians and parents have been using it to support children across their day.

If you'd like to learn more about Goally, click here to check them out. While there, be sure to check out their blog (I found the articles on supporting kids in remote learning situations particularly interesting... here is one of them).

In the spirit of transparency, I'd like to make clear that as of this writing, Goally is not a sponsor of Behavioral Observations, nor is there any affiliate relationship. However, this episode is brought to you with the support of the following:

  • How-to-ABABeing a BCBA can be lonely and overwhelming.  At howtoaba.com, we help BCBA’s feel supported and confident by providing easy to access printables, CEU's and a collaborative community. Imagine, having an all-in-one resource to save you time and help your clients, having getting your toughest questions answered, and being part of a collaborative group of professionals to share ideas. Plus, your monthly pro membership includes CEU’s! Along with over 1000 ABA professionals, howtoaba.com will help you save time, feel confident and master what you love! For more information, Go to howtoaba.com/joinbxresource.  When you join today and use code BOP, you’ll receive 10% off a yearly subscription (includes CEU’s!).
  • The Whoop Strap! I've been wearing the Whoop Strap for just a few weeks and I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed getting quantitative information on all aspects of my health, including sleep analytics, heart rate, along with heart rate variability, calorie burn, exercise intensity, and Whoop's proprietary "strain" score. I could extol this neat device's virtues indefinitely to you, but instead, you can go check it out for yourself. To get your first month free, just click here!
  • HRIC Recruiting. Barb Voss has been placing BCBAs in permanent positions throughout the US for just about a decade, and has been in the business more generally for 30 years. When you work with HRIC, you work directly with Barb, thereby accessing highly personalized service. So if you're about to graduate, you're looking for a change of pace, or you just want to know if the grass really is greener on the other side, head over to HRIColorado.com to schedule a confidential chat right away.

Dec 9, 2020

In Session 140, Dr. John Michael Guercio joins me to talk about best practices for supporting adults with Autism. He is well suited to do just this, as John has been working with adults with various developmental disabilities for decades.

He is currently the Clinical Director for Benchmark Human Services in St. Louis, Missouri, and is the author of the recently published book, "Assessment of Adult Core Competencies: Teaching Skills to Adults with Autism and Severe Behavioral Challenges."

As you'll likely tell, I really enjoyed talking with John, and I think you're likely to learn a lot from his knowledge and expertise in the area of serving adults.

In this episode we obviously get into John's formative experiences in the field of Behavior Analysis and talk about his book for a bit. But we also spend quite a bit of time discussing Behavioral Relaxation Training, escalation, crisis management, and so much more. I really think there's something in here for just about anyone in the field.

Also, early on in the conversation, John and I discover that we both saw the original line up of The Grateful Dead back in the day. Don't worry though if you're not interested in this because we got back on topic right away. However, after the official interview concluded, we resumed this discussion on our favorite jam bands for about 15 minutes, and this bonus footage is available to those who are signed up in the Behavioral Observations Membership group.

John mentioned numerous resources during our chat, and I have attempted to note them all here:

This show is brought to you with support from the following:

  • Gateway Learning Group, and their Autism Leadership Academy. Designed for new Regional Directors, the Autism Leadership Academy develops motivated BCBAs into successful leaders in the autism field. If you’re interested in running your own regional center and want to learn the skills to do so successfully, check out gatewaylg.com/BOP.
  • Behavior University. Their mission is to provide university quality professional development for the busy Behavior Analyst. Learn about their CEU offerings, including their brand new 8-hour Supervision Course, as well as their RBT offerings over at behavioruniversity.com/observations.
  • The Whoop Strap! I've been wearing the Whoop Strap for just a few weeks and I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed getting quantitative information on all aspects of my health, including sleep analytics, heart rate, along with heart rate variability, calorie burn, exercise intensity, and Whoop's proprietary "strain" score. I could extol this neat device's virtues indefinitely to you, but instead, you can go check it out for yourself. To get your first month free, head over to behavioralobservations.com/whoop!
Nov 30, 2020

A few months ago, a few BCBA's from the Boulder Valley School District reached out to me and offered to share the story of how they are fielding a team of Behavior Analysts in the public school setting.

As someone who has spent a career consulting to public schools, I was instantly sold. I believe that as if this recording, the BVSD employs about 10 BCBA's, and in Session 139, I'm joined by four of them: Kelly Miller, Cosmina Barbat, Stephanie Gregory, and Shelly Roberts.

We were also fortunate enough to be joined by their fearless leader, their Director of Special Education, Joy Larson. Someone who understood the value of developing internal behavior-analytic resources to support the district's students.

In this episode we cover the following:

  • How the district decided to invest in the hiring of internally placed behavior analysts.
  • How the district BCBA's work collaboratively with professionals in other disciplines.
  • How BCBA's support students not just with specialized educational and behavioral needs, but also in mainstream educational settings.
  • How working as a public school employee is different than working in an at-home or clinic setting.
  • And advice for schools that want to hire their own BCBA's, as well as advice for BCBA's who want to dip their toes into the public school waters.

Lastly, I think the argument for having more Behavior Analysts in school settings speaks for itself. As we discuss in the interview, these amazing BCBA's have contributed to reducing Boulder Valley's out of district placements by 70%!

Here are the links for Session 139:

Session 139 is brought to you with generous support from:

  • How-to-ABABeing a BCBA can be lonely and overwhelming.  At howtoaba.com, we help BCBA’s feel supported and confident by providing easy to access printables, CEU's and a collaborative community. In the howtoaba.com membership, Shira Karpel and Shayna Gaunt share their best resources from years of practice in the field.  Whether you’re a beginner or a long time practitioner, you will benefit from both these resources as well as a supportive community.  Imagine, having an all-in-one resource to save you time and help your clients, having getting your toughest questions answered, and being part of a collaborative group of professionals to share ideas. Plus, your monthly pro membership includes CEU’s! Along with over 1000 ABA professionals, howtoaba.com will help you save time, feel confident and master what you love! For more information, Go to howtoaba.com/joinbxresource.  When you join today and use code BOP, you’ll receive 10% off a yearly subscription (includes CEU’s!).
  • The Whoop Strap! I've been wearing the Whoop Strap for just a few weeks and I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed getting quantitative information on all aspects of my health, including sleep analytics, heart rate, along with heart rate variability, calorie burn, exercise intensity, and Whoop's proprietary "strain" score. I could extol this neat device's virtues indefinitely to you, but instead, you can go check it out for yourself. To get your first month free, just click here!
Nov 23, 2020

Shortly after I published Session 124 on Police Academy training with John O'Neill, Tina Long, a BCBA from Northern Virginia, emailed me to share the outreach work that she has done with her local police department in Fairfax County.

Specifically, in the wake of the nationwide re-examination of the role of policing, Tina felt compelled share what she has learned about the ACT Matrix with local law enforcement personnel, and after leaning more about her story, I thought it was definitely worth sharing on the podcast.

Tina and I had a brief conversation that we recorded back in August. At the time, she had the opportunity to do a training with the police department, but unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond her control, her allotted time was cut to 20 minutes.

As such, we made plans to connect later on and record another segment once Tina was able to get deeper into the material. So this podcast consists of both the original conversation from August, and our follow up, which was recorded in November 2020. 

For Part 2 of this conversation, Tina was able to get Officer Joe Schlenz, the lead crisis intervention training instructor, from the Fairfax County Police Department to join us as well. In this segment, Joe provides a wide-ranging perspective on the role of empathy and compassion in policing, de-escalation, triaging and managing risk, officer burnout and suicide, and so much more.

If you're concerned about policing in America, I hope that the work he and his colleagues are doing will give you a sense of optimism. And as I've said in previous shows, it is always great to talk about how people from different fields consume and apply concepts from the behavioral sciences. 

Here are some of the resources we discussed:

I think this is really the first podcast where we talk about the ACT Matrix. If you're a long time listener, we've done many shows on ACT itself, but I'm looking forward to learning more about the ACT Matrix itself, so you can probably expect to hear more about it in 2021. 

This podcast is brought to you with the support of the following:

  • HRIC Recruiting. Barb Voss has been placing BCBAs in permanent positions throughout the US for just about a decade, and has been in the business more generally for 30 years. When you work with HRIC, you work directly with Barb, thereby accessing highly personalized service. So if you're about to graduate, you're looking for a change of pace, or you just want to know if the grass really is greener on the other side, head over to HRIColorado.com to schedule a confidential chat right away.
  • The Whoop Strap! I've been wearing the Whoop Strap for just a few weeks and I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed getting quantitative information on all aspects of my health, including sleep analytics, heart rate, along with heart rate variability, calorie burn, exercise intensity, and Whoop's proprietary "strain" score. I could extol this neat device's virtues indefinitely to you, but instead, you can go check it out for yourself. To get your first month free, head over to behavioralobservations.com/whoop!
  • CEU's from ... Yours Truly... or, more specifically, podcast guests such as Greg Hanley, Steve Hayes, Mark Dixon, Megan Miller, Pat Friman, and much more. Head over to behavioralobservations.com/get-ceus to learn more about which trainings are available, as well as some pretty steep discounts for multiple event purchases. 

*denotes Amazon Affiliate link

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