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Why I Want To Kiss Hershey, Pennsylvania

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While I fully understand ALL of the Board Certification’s numerous rules and regulations to maintain our certification, I must admit that getting Continuing Education credits can be a drag.  The board is very particular about who delivers the education, how you record your hours, blah blah blah.  So, I always go to conferences with a large dose of dread due to this administrative nightmare, but usually tell myself, “Hey, you will learn at least ONE new thing.”

A few weeks ago myself and a colleague attended the Pennsylvania Applied Behavior Analysis conference in Hershey, PA.  My colleague and I decided to do our “due diligence” and we chose to go to two separate talks so we could get as much as possible out of the conference.  I went in to the fancy hotel conference room, squeezed myself in between two people (with a table leg right where I was trying to sit) and hunkered down for the 3 hour talk.  I had never heard of Linda LeBlanc before, and I was not necessarily intrigued by the title of the talk: Selecting Function-Based Treatments for Socially Maintained Problem Behavior.

But… she had me from the start.  She first showed several lovely composite analyses (this is a study to reports the findings of other studies) that show that the most frequent function of behavior was escape.  So, that already had my wheels spinning and told me that I might want to look at new behaviors and cases through a slightly different lens.  Then, she launched into a part of her talk that was particularly salient for me due to a previous position where I was responsible for supervising many people, which is that one is always taught how to implement these extreme detailed and scientific behavior analytic procedures, but we are NEVER taught how to choose the correct procedure!

**Cue angels singing**  Dr. Leblanc and her team have developed an algorithm to help the BCBA choose an optimal path to intervention.  While the details of this algorithm are quite complex, and of course, very difficult to narrate on a blog, the algorithm is really quite simple and easy to use.  What I liked most about these algorithms is that they can be used as a tool for a BCBA to show the client both a short term and long term plan.  She also shared that this helped with client buy-in because the client can actually SEE it, instead of just hear it (often in a description riddled with jargon) and then sit back and wait for it all to go down.

I am very excited to use this tool to help me better communicate with my clients regarding the most optimal path to intervention.  I think this will help to eliminate a lot of the confusion that surrounds a lot of behavior plans.  In addition, I know that sometimes parents feel that they have to take a “leap of faith” and I hope that this algorithm will help to quell some of these fears.

For these reasons, I want to KISS Hershey, Pennsylvania!

~Jill

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