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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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Now displaying: October, 2020
Oct 28, 2020

Dr. Kim Berens (@KimberlyBerens5) joins me for a third time to discuss her new book, Blind Spots: Why Students Fail and the Science That Can Save Them.* In this show, we talk about her motivation to write this book, what she believes is wrong with the current approach to educating children in the United States, and what can be done to remedy this situation.

Like our recent episode with Amelia Bowler earlier this month, this is another great example of people trained in Behavior Analysis stepping out of our community and speak directly to a broader community. In short, it's an excellent model of dissemination, and should be applauded for this reason, along with all the other excellent attributes of the book.

I was honored to write a blurb for the promotion of the book, and if you'll indulge me, I'll share it here:

In 1984, B.F. Skinner wrote The Shame of American Education, in which he described how the American educational system failed to incorporate scientifically validated instructional practices. Sadly, this paper is just as relevant after almost four decades since its publication. In Blind Spots: Why Students Fail and the Science That Can Save Them, Dr. Kimberly Berens courageously picks up where Skinner left off by shining a light on the dysfunctional practices of the American educational establishment. In doing so, she debunks many popular myths that pervade current educational practices. More importantly, Dr. Berens offers concrete solutions for helping all students learn through the application of the natural science of behavior. This is a book that should be read by every parent, school board member, administrator, and teacher.

I could go on and on both about this book as well as the interview I'm about to play. But instead, I'll just ask you to give the show a listen, and if you're so moved, to pick up a copy of the book. Or even better, gift a copy of the book if you happen to know a teacher, school administrator, and so forth.

Here are the links for the references that came up in Session 136:

Today's episode was brought to you with support from:

  • Market Your ABA Practice Like a Pro! A Digital Masterclass with Rich Brooks! Is your ABA practice located in a highly competitive area? Do you struggle with name-recognition and visibility among Autism service providers in your community? Do you wish more parents and stakeholders knew about the awesome services you provide? During this event, you'll discover marketing strategies that will allow you to get your ABA practice to get in front of ideal community stakeholders (parents, guardians, etc…) and referral sources (pediatricians, etc…), by using the digital tools that everyone is being forced to use these days. This can help to attract new clients, families, schools, and even employees! The price of the event is $149, but if you register by Halloween, you can attend the event for just $99. Click here to sign up!
  • 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!

*denotes Amazon Affiliate Link

Oct 22, 2020

The latest issue of JABA starts off with an editorial by the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior's (SEAB) board in which it issued a statement of concern for the controversial paper titled, Behavioral treatment of deviant sex-role behaviors in a male child. This paper described a case study conducted by George Rekers and Ivar Lovaas, and was published in the pages of JABA in 1974.

To get right to the point, let me read you the editorial's abstract:

In an early study in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Rekers and Lovaas (1974) evaluated the Behavioral Treatment of Deviant Sex-role Behaviors in a Male Child. They investigated the use of reinforcement and punishment to target non-gender conforming behaviors of a 5-year-old male child. This study was considered by some to be controversial and concerning, even near the time of publication (Nordyke et al. 1977; Winkler, 1977). The concerns focused on the ethicality of selecting non-gender conforming behavior as a target response and the use of punishment for this type of response, particularly at the behest of parents when the young child was not seemingly distressed. The study has subsequently been used as empirical support for conversion therapy creating concerns about misinterpretation of the original article and harm to the LGBTQ+ community. This editorial reviews the concerns originally presented by Nordyke et al. and Winkler and issues an official Expression of Concern about the various harms that have been associated with this paper.

I first heard about this paper many years ago, but it was to my attention again at the 2019 NH ABA conference. At that event, Dr. Sarah Campeau did a great job reviewing this paper, along with cataloging the devastating effects the study had on the participant later on in his life.

So in this episode of the podcast, Drs. Linda Leblanc and Henry Roane discuss the rationale behind the statement of concern. In doing so, they talk about why the statement was written now versus earlier in the history of JABA, and what exactly a Statement of Concern is, and why issuing the statement was the specific action taken instead of other options, such as retracting the paper altogether.

We also get into the actual shortcomings of the study, particularly in light of the ethical and moral standards of modern times. Linda and Hank close the podcast by giving some advice for practitioners on how to respond to concerns of stakeholders if or when they bring up this or other studies that are not consistent with more modern ethics and values.

I should also note that our Zoom connection was spotty here and there, and I apologize if it interferes with the audio quality that you've come to expect from the show. That said, I don't think it poor connection detracted from the substance of the conversation.

Dr. Roane is a new voice in the Inside JABA Series, so by way of introduction, Hank is the Gregory S. Liptak MD Professor of Child Development in the Department of Pediatrics at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse NY. In this capacity, he serves as the Chief of the Division of Development, Behavior and Genetics where he directs medical and behavior analysis clinics that provide treatment services for children affected by autism and related disorders. Hank is also the Chair of the Behavior Analysis Studies program in the College of Health Professions at Upstate. As we mention during the conversation, Hank is also the Treasurer of SEAB.

In keeping with the previous Inside JABA Series podcasts, there are no ads or sponsors on this episode. However, this episode is eligible for BACB Continuing Education. We also felt that the conversation touched on many code elements in the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code, and as such, it can be counted as an Ethics CEU.

Lastly, 50% of the proceeds from sales of the Inside JABA Series CEUs are donated to SEAB. So for more information on the Inside JABA Series CEUs, or any other CEUs that are available through Behavioral Observations, click here.

I've also set up a Link Tree across all my social media platforms where you can access all the different podcast offerings, including episode shownotes. For example, if you follow the show on Instagram (@behavioralobservations), just go to the link in the bio, and you'll have many podcast-related links at your fingertips.

Here are the links to the resources that were discussed in this episode:

Oct 16, 2020

Amelia Bowler, author of The Parent's Guide to Oppositional Defiant Disorder: Your Questions Answered, joins me in Session 134 to talk about her work and personal experiences in supporting individuals with ODD.

In this podcast, Amelia demystifies the term ODD and distinguishes it from other emotional/behavioral disorders. She also discusses the importance of developing relationships with individuals with ODD prior to applying first/then or if/then contingencies.

We finish the show by discussing some strategies that may be more successful for individuals with ODD, as well as provide suggestions for further reading.

Here are the links to the resources that were discussed:

Session 134 is brought to you by the following sponsors:

  • 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.
  • 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
  • Market Your ABA Practice Like a Pro: A Digital Marketing Masterclass with Rich Brooks. That's right, our favorite marketing guru, Rich Brooks and I are teaming up for a fantastic learning opportunity. During this event, you'll discover marketing strategies that will allow you to get your ABA practice get in front of ideal stakeholders. Rich and I are still working out the details and I'll have a site to direct you to shortly. What I can tell you is that you're going to want to block off some time on November 9th.

*denotes Amazon Affiliate link

Oct 7, 2020

Behavioral Karma: The 5 Scientific Laws of Life and Leadership* is the book that was just recently published by Brett DiNovi and Dr. Pauli Gavoni.

In this episode, we talked about what these five laws are, and how one can apply them to just about anything in life, and see positive outcomes as a result.

Because both of these gentlemen are previous guests on the show, we started off by catching up a bit. Paulie talked about joining up with Brett's company, Brett DiNovi and Associates, and Brett talked about how he and the rest of the folks at BDA responded to the challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

I also had a chance to pick their brains on a topic that I'm fascinated with: Compensating employees in a Pay-for-Performance model, an idea pioneered by William Abernathy (you can find all the books he wrote on this topic here*).

All and all, this was a fun and wide ranging discussion, and I think listeners will be able to get some neat takeaways from it.

Here are some links to some of the things that came up in conversation:

Today's episode is brought to you by the following:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • And while I'm promoting the stuff on my website, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the membership program. Think of it as a DIY Patreon… Members get access to a private FB group in which they are able to get nearly instantaneous access to the videos of these podcast interviews. For example, this interview has been available to members for two months. Members get the raw feed. That means no ads, and none of these introductory comments. You just get right to the interview. Another cool thing we do is hold Zoom Hangouts with former guests so where you can interact with them directly. For more information, check out behavioralobservations.com/membership.
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