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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: August, 2022
Aug 31, 2022

If you're anywhere in the upper part of the northern hemisphere, you already know that fall is in the air. And with that comes the annual return of students to their community schools. 

As such, I thought it would be fun to bring on fellow New Hampshire behavior analyst, Elissa Johnson, to talk about the work she's doing in school settings. 

Elissa is the Director of Behavioral Health for Constellations Behavioral Services, which was founded right here in the Granite State. As an aside, long time listeners might remember my interview with Kim and Tim Heald, the founders of Constellations way back in Session 35

So in the episode, Elissa and I discuss how she got into the field, some common mentors we worked with, and how Constellations has transitioned into an ESOP or employee-owned company (a topic perhaps worthy of its own podcast for sure). 

However, we spent the bulk of our time discussing how to do good behavior analytic work in school settings, including implementing multi-tiered systems of support, such as PBIS. If you're new to these terms, don't worry, because we do go through and define all the acronyms that are so common in this type of work. 

As always, we end with some great advice for the newly-minted. And Elissa had some special words for those of you who are still in your coursework or otherwise working on becoming a newly-minted BCBA, so you'll want to stick around for that. 

I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did!

Stuff we mentioned in the show:

This session of Behavioral Observations is brought to you by the following:

  • Behavior Development Solutions (aka “BDS”) is back to sponsor Behavioral Observations! I know BDS, because their modules were part of my own exam prep strategy when I took the BCBA exam back in 2002. Their modules are so thorough, you’ll feel confident at the Board Exam and, you’ll be well prepared for your career. For BCBA and BCaBA candidates, they report a 98.5% pass rate for first-time exam takers… plus a money-back guarantee! They also have solutions for RBT aspirants, plus CE courses, and live webinars (most of which are free for anyone to attend). To learn more, head over to bds.com/bop for a special offer for podcast listeners! 
  • The 2022 Stone Soup Conference! Great speakers, great cause, all for a great price. October 22nd (or later if you're busy that day). Come hear from Kirk Kirby, Drs. Camille Kolu, Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi, Merrill Winston, Holly Gover, Tom Higbee, and Florence DiGennaro-Reed. Be sure to save at registration by using the promo code, PODCAST.
  • Want to get a data-based picture of your physical activity, sleep habits, and more? I've been wearing the Whoop Strap for over two years now, 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, 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!
Aug 19, 2022

The full title of Merrill's talk is, "Whitesplaining Racism: Part Deux! Logic, Disproportionality, Avatars, Hate Crimes, and Uncomfortable Feelings."

As you'll learn in this episode, Bruce was in the audience for most of Merrill's talk, and was so enthused with it, he wanted him to review its main points here on Behavioral Observations. So we did just that, and Bruce was kind enough to join us as a discussant. 

But in the first segment of the show, we get to know a little about Bruce and his background. It turns out that he's had quite a bit of success reducing the overall rates of restraint in the school he worked in, so we spend a some time discussing how he was able to create that change. Bruce also closed out the show with some great advice for BCBAs, so you'll definitely want to stick around for that.

This episode is quite long, even by Behavioral Observations' standards, so I'm going to keep these opening comments short. For your convenience, I tracked down most of the links and references we discussed below:

Session 197 is brought to you by the following:

  • Supervision Sidekick. Supervision Sidekick is not only a comprehensive curriculum that helps you mentor the next generation of Behavior Analysts, it's also a community of like-minded supervisors. Check out their easy to use digital platform and comprehensive instructional materials at www.sidekicklearning.net. Also, if you sign up for a monthly or yearly program, use coupon code behavioralobservations and save 10% at checkout.
  • Behavior Development Solutions (aka “BDS”) is back to sponsor Behavioral Observations! I know BDS, because their modules were part of my own exam prep strategy when I took the BCBA exam back in 2002. Their modules are so thorough, you’ll feel confident at the Board Exam and, you’ll be well prepared for your career. For BCBA and BCaBA candidates, they report a 98.5% pass rate for first-time exam takers… plus a money-back guarantee! They also have solutions for RBT aspirants, plus CE courses, and live webinars (most of which are free for anyone to attend). To learn more, head over to bds.com/bop for a special offer for podcast listeners! 
  • The 2022 Stone Soup Conference! Great speakers, great cause, all for a great price. October 22nd (or later if you're busy that day). Come hear from Kirk Kirby, Drs. Camille Kolu, Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi, Merrill Winston, Holly Gover, Tom Higbee, and Florence DiGennaro-Reed. Be sure to save at registration by using the promo code, PODCAST.
Aug 15, 2022

If you care about the future of ABA, it's important to understand not only its strengths, but also the myriad challenges the field faces. And to that end, I can't think of a more difficult challenge the field of Applied Behavior Analysis has right now than figuring out how to adequately measure outcome quality, and how this relates to funding ABA services. 

My guest for Session 196 is Amanda Ralston, and she's been thinking a lot about these issues for quite some time, and she was kind enough to spend some an hour with me to share her thoughts. 

As you'll learn in this episode, Mandy has been in the ABA field for over 20 years, and has experience founding and operating a large, statewide ABA provider, consulting with large multi-state ABA organizations, and much more. Mandy most recently founded NonBinary Solutions, which she talks about briefly.

We discuss the current model of insurance reimbursement, and contrast that with what's referred to as Value-Based Pay or Value-Based Care. These payment models differ considerably from the current Fee-For-Service arrangements that most listeners are likely familiar with. 

While Behavioral Observations is not a health-care policy podcast, I was encouraged to explore this topic by some friends and confidants, largely because this treatment model may be coming our way at some point. Given that Behavior Analysis is not a mature field as of 2022 - especially when it comes to funding our services - I thought it would be a good idea to explore the topic. 

If you experience this conversation the same way I did, I think you'll come to the realization that there are more questions than answers when it comes to Value-Based Care (many of which are articulated in this short video), so I may return to this topic from time to time as things develop. 

Here are some links to resources we discussed:

Session 196 is brought to you by the following:

  • The 2022 Stone Soup Conference! Great speakers, great cause, all for a great price. October 22nd (or later if you're busy that day). Come hear from Kirk Kirby, Drs. Camille Kolu, Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi, Merrill Winston, Holly Gover, Tom Higbee, and Florence DiGennaro-Reed.
  • 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.
  • 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 University of Cincinnati Online. UC Online designed a Master of Education in Behavior Analysis program that is 100% online and asynchronous, meaning you log on when it works for you. Want to learn more? Go to online.uc.edu and click the “request info” button.
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