Whose Behavior Is It Anyway?

As a BCBA, you are in the job of helping to change people's behavior. Many have hopes that you will be a miracle worker who appears, waves a wand or sprinkles some magic dust and the behavior just disappears. Sadly, this is not the case. Helping someone change their behavior is a complex and challenging endeavor.

As a behavior consultant in a school system, I many times find teachers seeking a panacea. They want an effective behavior plan that is going to rapidly change a student's behavior. Some teachers are surprised that prior to receiving a complete behavior plan, I provide them with a list of preventative (antecedent) interventions which I would like them to implement. Many of these interventions are directed toward altering the classroom environment and the teacher's general behavior in the classroom. Regrettably, I regularly find teachers who are resistant to implementing these antecedent interventions. They would like the student's behavior to change, but they are reticent to change their own behavior. I suppose this may be human nature. We would like our problems to go away with as little personal effort as possible......

The reality is that we change other's behavior by altering the environment and changing the responses (consequences) to that behavior. So, as a behavior analyst, whose behavior should you be focused on changing? And if you cannot get anyone to implement your plans, whose behavior should you be looking at?

The skill of recruiting relative laypeople to implement antecedent interventions and to alter consequences is not taught in any ABA program. If you plan to provide ABA services outside of specialized institutions, this is a skill that you must acquire. Even the most technically sound plan will fail without "buy-in" from the milieu.

How do you get "buy-in?" That will be the topic of my next article....


Gregg Stoller MSW, BCBA

BCBA Supervision of Southern Vermont

Providing online supervision since 2012

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