When beginning behavioral therapy, your team of therapists will examine every aspect of the child’s (or individuals) life. This kind of analysis is referred to as Applied Behavior Analysis. Applied Behavior Analysis is the study of someone’s behavior.
In this article, we will focus on the assessment process. In other words, what should you expect if you decide to hire a Behavioral Service Company. Here you will find information on who will be part of the process, what information is needed for evaluation, and what happens once you have this information.
If you’d like a more comprehensive understanding of what Applied Behavior Analysis is, follow this link (What is Applied Behavior Analysis).
Step 1: Document Reviewal
The first step to every doctors’ visit is document/history review. Your therapists will review your child’s medical records. This is an important step in the assessment process because it helps the behavioral analyst, and your team of specialists, become familiar with your child’s health issues. They use this information to better cater their treatment to the patients’ needs
Step 2: Background Information (Functional Behavioral Assessment)
To help your child overcome their behavioral problems—whether it stems from autism, ADHD, etc.—we conduct interviews with both the parents and the child. The interviews will gather information, such as:
- How old is the child?
- What is the living situation like?
- Does he/she have relatives? How do they interact?
- Does he require assistance for daily living skills, such as brushing teeth, putting on clothes, eating?
- What does his/her activity schedule include?
- What does your child’s everyday life look like? Weekends?
- What does he/she struggle with? HW? Cleaning? Bathing? Obedience?
Here, the Board-Certified Behavioral Analyst is gathering information. It’s important the family be open about the issues that are concerning them. Picking a Behavioral Service Company that you trust is vital, but the trust has to be mutual. Being open is of the utmost importance when initiating the therapy process. It sets the foundation on which the doctors and therapist will start to conduct their work.
Adjusting or changing a child’s conduct is not an easy problem, which is why background information must be accurately gathered.
For more information on the duties and responsibilities of the BCBA or the Registered Behavioral Technician, click on the links.
Step 3: Physical and Medical Status
In this step, the Behavioral Analyst will review the diagnosis, add observations from the interview with both the patient and his family. They will, once again, examine any and all medication. In this stage, your team of specialists will use all of the information gathered about your child to establish a course of action. For example, if your child has a learning disability it could impact the therapists or RBT’s approach.
By the end of this step, the BCBA and RBT will have a list of problematic behaviors, which will lead to the development of the Behavior Intervention Plan.
Step 4: Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)
Now that the analyst has all the information, they will begin to set out a plan for modifying the outlined behavior. It lays out the methods and strategies they will use when altering the child’s behavior. The BIP will include:
- A list of the target behaviors determined during the FBS and the objectives that the Analyst has established.
- The situations/environment in which the behavior was observed.
- The alternative actions one can take to correct the maladaptive behavior
- Intervention strategies
- Weekly plan to adjust behaviors
- Weekly skills acquisition goals
- Weekly caregiver objectives/learning
This plan will also include the Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The IEP covers topics other than behavior. It makes sure that any child identified with a disability will receive specialized instruction. It was established by the Federal IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).
In other words, the BIP is an overview of what the behavior is, where it takes place, and why your child reacts the way they do. It will also include the actions that the family and the RBT will practice to change the behavior. The IEP, on the other hand, was established to help children with disabilities such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism have an established plan to attend school and learn in a manner that will help them perceive the information.
Step 5: Implementing the BIP
Once the treatment plan has been established, the analyst and behavioral technician never really stop accessing behavior. They will continue to implement their current treatment plan (with a lot of reinforcement strategies to incentivize progress) and adjust it according to new behaviors they observe in the child. It’s important you choose a company that provides quality care for your child since the word is so personal they become part of the family.
What Comes Next?
As the therapy process is carried out, the quality of life for both you as a parent and the child improves. The goal of the Behavioral Service Company is to educate parents on how to raise their children with a developmental delay.
The RBT is with your child for a part of the day, and when they leave, it doesn’t mean that your child’s condition leaves as well. Because of this, the therapy focuses on teaching the parents as much, if not more, than the child.
As a parent, you’re with your child all the time, and if the RBT and Analyst train you on how to deal with your child’s disabilities, it can make a major impact on the effectiveness of the therapy. This is an important part of getting your child to achieve ‘independence.’