CentralReach is proud to hand over the blog today to SLP specialist, Rosemarie Griffin, who is sharing her take on how child care teams can work together to help our students lead successful, beautiful lives! Take it away, Rosemarie…

When working with students who have autism or other complex communication disorders, we know that a team approach is best. But sometimes putting this into practice can be easier in theory. It can be overwhelming at times to implement collaborative and systematic instruction, especially if you are working with professionals who may use a different approach.  When we all work together towards the common goal of helping our students gain functional skills and become more independent in all areas, it’s a win-win for all!

Being both a speech language pathologist and a board certified analyst, I have developed some strategies to use when working among a team of professionals. Below are some tips to follow to help make a collaborative approach easier to initiate and maintain:

  1. Take time to introduce yourself to members of the team. If you are a contracted individual, you may be new to everyone. Taking time to introduce yourself to the teacher, parent, principal, paraprofessional, etc.… is vital to setting the tone that collaboration is an important part of the therapeutic process.
  2. After introductions have taken place, set up a time to meet with team members to discuss current progress. You may be coming in at a time of crisis or during a time where things are not going so well. It is important to ask the team members to highlight things that are going well with programming and areas that need to be addressed. Being a good listener is an important piece to the collaborative process.
  3. If a plan is set in motion to help decrease problem behavior, make sure that you have read over the plan and provided training for the entire educational team. If the team is new to the field of applied behavior analysis, they may need time to process the information, to practice the plan and get feedback on how they are doing with implementation. Carrying out the plan as recommended based on your assessment and clinical judgment is vital for student success.
  4. Work collaboratively and develop shared goals when it is appropriate. Speech Language Pathologists have a wealth of knowledge regarding speech and language. Teachers have great experience with current curricular expectations. Paraprofessionals can give amazing insight on how the student responds to different teaching strategies. Use the teams experience with the student to help guide goal and objective formation.
  5. As mentioned above, shared goals are so very important for students with autism and other more complex disorders. Working with the team to create a daily data sheet that can be used over the course of the school day and by other members of the student’s educational team is vital to the student’s success. For example, if you have a student who is answering the personal information question when is your birthday, a shared data sheet would allow this skill to be addressed across the learners day. This would allow for multiple opportunities for practice and would help us plan for the generalization of this important skill.

 

Name: _____________ Date: ___________________

 

Student will answer, “when is your birthday? + –

+ –

+ –

+ –

+ –

 

  1. Share professional research from the field of applied behavior analysis with members of the team. Ask the team members for research information or resources from their fields. This shared learning can increase the competency of all professionals and help their shared clients make more functional gains. Knowledge is power!

I hope that you can use these guidelines to help your work with students with autism become more systematic and collaborative. Together we can make a difference!

Sincerely,

Rosemarie Griffin CCC/SLP BCBA
Speech Language Pathologist
Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Rosemarie Griffin is a speech language pathologist, board certified behavior analyst and creator of the action builder cards.
She serves students in a public school setting and a private school setting. Rosemarie uses the science of applied behavior analysis to help her students improve their
overall communication skills. Her goal is to help all students become more effective communicators and to help all professionals feel more comfortable with providing effective instruction for students with autism and other developmental disabilities. If you have questions about the content of this article, please feel free to contact her at abaspeech@yahoo.com. Find Rose on her website
www.abaspeech.org or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/abaspeech/.

If you’re looking for a collaborative and easy-to-use platform to help your Speech practice, visit us here for more on how our current SLPs use CentralReach.

Are you a BCBA who conducts functional behavior assessments in schools and/or consults with teachers regarding the best ways to teach children with various disabilities? If so, you’ve probably encountered challenges like the following:

  • The first grader who is perceived to be oppositional because he acts out, ignores the teacher, or shuts down when given directives.  Your assessment indicates he is missing listener skills, but because his same-age peers are beyond that point, he is expected to function at an equivalent (or at least compliant) level, and he is at-risk of losing his place in the general education classroom.
  • The seventh grader who returned from the summer break much bigger than he was the year before.  Previously a struggling, but quiet, student perceived as having lower intelligence, he is now confrontational with peers and refuses to try most of his work. He learned quickly that aggression makes others back off.
  • The third grader who works on a modified curriculum in the regular education classroom who never seems to hear instructions given to the group, and won’t work at all unless an adult stands next to her.  Whereas first and second grade teachers had classroom assistants, third grade does not; her teacher questions whether she can adequately serve her without “cheating” her other students.

Situations such as this can easily result in the students being placed on a Behavior Intervention Plan to increase compliance with directives or on-task behavior. Yet these often fail.  Why? Because of over-reliance on consequence manipulation, continued exposure to demands that require missing skills, or well-meaning educators/administrators designing environments that remove a blanket of expectations rather than just the ones the child is not yet ready to master.

This is not an indictment of the educational system.  Many behavior analysts (myself included) have been guilty of writing failed plans, even when we are trying to incorporate skill building. For my part, that usually results from my assuming certain skills are either missing or have not been trained to the point of fluency.  Our ability to assess which skills are missing is greatly reliant on clinical experience.  Once a child is school-age, assessment tools are often fractionary and limited.  Once a child is in high school, resource availability decreases even further.  As children grow, skill repertoires become increasingly complex, and skill deficits may become more and more scattered.  Certain behaviors, such as noncompliance, task-refusal, and verbal misbehavior become so concerning to adults that BCBAs often feel pressured to write plans that focus on those behaviors, although we know they are reflections of lower level skill deficits.   This combination of complexity and politics makes assessment and intervention planning very difficult.  Wouldn’t it be great if there was an instrument that gave us some framework to guide these difficult team decisions?

The Inventory of Good Learner Repertoires (IGLR), an assessment tool developed by BCBAs Steven Ward and Teresa Grimes, is soon to be available on the CentralReach Learn platform.  The IGLR is used to conduct a holistic assessment of the student-teacher-classroom relationship. It begins with an assessment across ten categories:

  • Behavioral Excesses (challenging behaviors that interfere with instruction and learning)
  • Behavioral Supports (supports currently in place to maintain appropriate behavior)
  • Resilience and Regulation (degree to which the child maintains appropriate behavior in challenging situations)
  • Readiness (degree to which the child engages in behaviors required for effective classroom instruction to occur)
  • Perseverance and Focus (continued engagement across time, distractions, and difficulties)
  • Flexibility (participation in learning activities across contexts)
  • Consequences (response to various types of consequences)
  • Preference for Learning Channels (degree to which the child relies on various types of instructional stimuli and/or performs educational response types)
  • Spontaneity (degree to which the child initiates and engages in unprompted activity)
  • Potential to Benefit from Inclusion (degree to which the child engages in behaviors required by most general education classroom environments)

Assessment results are based on observation and interview, and are meant to guide a team decision-making process for setting IEP goals.

In addition to the IGLR instrument, the authors have written the companion books Teaching Good Learner Repertoires and Teaching Advanced Learner Repertoires.  These books guide intervention based on the IGLR results.  They have also provided web-based supplemental administration and scoring instructions for the IGLR.  Information from all of these resources will be incorporated into the CentralReach version of the tool.  This will include administration hints, automatic scoring, and hierarchical goal recommendations.  Users will literally be guided through the administration of the instrument and then be given customizable goal recommendations that ensure team members consider whether the child is ready to learn the next skill.  The books will also be available for purchase through the CR Marketplace for users who wish to delve deeper into the realm of intervention planning.

Having the IGLR at the fingertips of the school-based BCBA on the CR platform should be a great advantage.  Keep your eyes open for updates as we prepare to bring this awesome resource to you!

Sleeping soundly is a virtue that we all wish we could claim but many struggle with sleep, some every night. Parents know all too well that sleep problems are not just an individual problem; when a child has trouble sleeping, it affects the entire family causing stress and anxiety.

Unfortunately, prevalence of sleep problems in children with autism is high with estimates reaching 80%1. Research conducted by the Weisskopf Center for the Evaluation of Children2 indicates that parents of children with autism deal with a range of sleep issues, including difficulty falling asleep (53%), restless sleep (40%), unwillingness to fall asleep in own bed (40%) and frequent wakenings (34%).

Dr. Mary Barbera went through the ordeal of sleep issues with her child on the autism spectrum. With her experience, education, and research, she has authored a new e-book, Stop Playing Musical Beds: Solving Sleep Problems in Children With and Without Special Needs, with step-by-step guidelines on developing a tailored intervention to effectively resolve sleep issues.

Dr. Barbera recommends that clients start with a two-part assessment – one of the parents and another assessment of the child that includes a start-to-finish documentation of the bedtime routine. Then you move on to creating the customized intervention plan where she discusses safety, supplements, routines, reinforcement, and the importance of establishing a “leader.” The plan should outline activities for parents and for the child. This then translates into a task sheet and documentation of each day’s sleep-related activities. Then you can review the data and identify opportunities for adjustments.

If you have clients suffering from sleep deprivation, this is a valuable resource to help determine the appropriate plan for each client. Furthermore, while the strategies covered in this book were created specifically for children with autism, they also work well for children without special needs.

Below are additional resources and information on sleep issues and ASD:

 

About the Author of Stop Playing Musical Beds
Dr. Mary Barbera, PhD, RN, BCBA-D “fell” into the autism world in 1999 when her first-born son, Lucas, was diagnosed with autism one day before his 3rd birthday. She quickly transformed from overwhelmed parent to Lucas’ advocate and therapist. Fast forward to today, and she is not only a BCBA but also a best-selling author with “The Verbal Behavior Approach: How to Teach Children with Autism and Related Disorders.” Her book is endorsed by many professionals in the field as well as parents. In 2015, she launched Autism ABA Help: An Online Program for Professionals and “Gung-Ho” Parents, which has already reached participants from over 20 different countries.

In addition to the new ebook on solving sleep issues, the CentralReach Marketplace offers fun and engaging CEU courses, staff trainings and pre-built curriculum. Follow us on Facebook for updates on new courses and special offers.


  1. https://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/health-and-wellness/sleep
  2. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2869.2004.00405.x/full

[quote ]The following video was recorded and presented by Charlotte Fudge, MSN, RN, BCBA, CCM of CentralReach.[/quote]

CEO Charlotte Fudge unveils the latest mobile-optimized clinical interface of the Learn module (beginning at 05:00). Upcoming improvements include:

  1. One comprehensive view of long-term goals, short-term goals and targets
  2. New branch filters with color coding capabilities
  3. Improved navigation for adding/editing branches
  4. Extended reporting options

Other webinar highlights include “Marketplace” (00:30), CentralReach’s new clinical content exchange portal, “Enhanced VB-Mapp Functionality” (01:18), Enhanced Performance Reporting (02:00), and “Medication Functionality” (3:05).

For questions about CentralReach, please contact careteam@centralreach.com or open a support ticket.