Applied behavior analysis (ABA) in Schools Across the Nation
"Behavior analysis services are provided by a district-wide board certified behavior analyst (BCBA). The behavior analyst provides comprehensive behavioral assessment and consultation services for students with severe or persistent behavioral challenges. Once a student has been referred, the behavior analyst conducts a functional behavior assessment (FBA) to assist in the understanding of the relationship between the student's behavior and the purpose of the behavior in relationship to environmental factors. Various environmental settings, (e.g. home, school, community) are investigated and analyzed to assist school personnel in understanding and evaluating the student's problem behaviors within a larger context. Next, a behavior intervention plan (BIP) is designed to outline specific prevention and response strategies for the identified behavior. The behavior analyst ensures that all elements of the BIP are humane, respectful, and cause the least amount of disruption to the school structure as possible. Data are collected throughout the consultation process, and programmatic changes are made as necessary to ensure continued progress."
Responses range from, "Mine doesn’t even recognize BCBAs. They think it’s a fad that will be going away" (Jeanne Kirchner), to "we are lucky to have 10 BCBAs on staff and 3 supervisors that have their Masters in behavior analysis. We oversee approximately 60 direct service, ABA trained staff (a couple RBTs and BCaBAs in the group) that push-in to the classrooms or run social groups for grades k-8, run 1:1 or small group sessions for our preschool kids, and staff ABA classrooms for some of our students with more extreme behaviors. The supervisors also do consultation for students that are not receiving direct hours" (Laura Ackerman).
"Currently, Applied Behavior Analysis is one of the only empirically validated interventions used to create and support the learning curriculum and environments for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Therefore, principles and strategies of Applied Behavior Analysis are utilized throughout the school day and all staff are trained in Applied Behavior Analysis and how to apply ABA to a school setting. Such an environment requires supervision by qualified Behavior Analysts and therefore, Port View Prep® employs Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA), including a doctorate-level BCBA-D, to supervise the programs that help students navigate and better understand their world via structured therapies designed to achieve positive behavioral results and actions. Port View Prep ensures that every student receives an Individualized Behavior Intervention plan that was developed by a BCBA and reviewed by a BCBA-D. These Behavior Intervention plans are developed based on results of a comprehensive Functional Behavior Assessments that take place upon enrollment. Our staff of ABA therapists implement Behavior Intervention Plans throughout each school day and focus on utilizing antecedent strategies and reinforcement to achieve desired learning outcomes and to minimize and ultimately eliminate negative behaviors and habits."
Ventura County Special Education supports the philosophical tenets of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) as described extensively in the professional literature. Some typical definitions are: "Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is a systematic process of studying and modifying observable behavior through a manipulation of the environment." Prizant, Barry M., PhD, CCC-SLP, Center for the Study of Human Development, Brown University, RI
"Applied behavior analysis has been empirically validated across numerous interventions that have the potential to change the way public education functions as a whole" (Fielding, et al., 2003).
"Behavior analysts are trained to develop, deliver, and monitor educational programming that is driven by the results it produces with students. Collaborative consultation with the moment-to-moment coaching it entails can assist educators [in creating] their own evidence-based practices (Hursh, 2007, p. 44)" (Fielding, 2013).
"As a result, Waterbury has continued to develop an intensive individualized program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder at all levels. This program is a continuation of ABA practices and principals. There is collaboration between individuals working at all levels, so that the program has continuity at all levels. In addition, this year a part –time Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) will be hired to assist staff with educational and behavioral programming for autistic students (2008-2009)."
"Behavior services are provided throughout the district by West Hartford's Behavioral Specialists. A referral procedure is initiated with a record review, visits and observations, contact with parents, and a consultation with the student's general education teacher and special education support staff. Specific intervention may be provided, documented and monitored. The consultant will participate in strategies, SATs, 504 meetings and PPTs as needed. In addition, the district employs four full time Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA). District BCBAs support students and staff through consultation, behavior analysis, development of behavior support plans, and staff training."
"Behavior Specialists are trained in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) techniques, classroom management strategies, individual behavior intervention plan development, data collection techniques, discrete trail training, and strategies for positive behavior support. Collier County Public Schools currently employs Behavior Specialists, Board Certified Behavior Analysts, Board Certified Associate Behavior Analysts and School Psychologists to provide these services. Behavioral Specialists are available to provide services at cluster school sites for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities (E/BD) who demonstrate behaviors which significantly impede their learning. These Specialists work collaboratively with educators, administrators, other school personnel and families to ensure that students with severe behavior difficulties receive effective interventions. To impact student change, such as an increase in achievement, direct observations and measurement of behaviors occur in the classroom and other educational settings. By looking at the data, Behavior Specialists assist the Individual Education Planning (IEP) team in designing interventions which will result in increased student achievement. In addition to the cluster school sites, all schools provide positive behavior support services to students who may have behaviors that are interfering with learning. School Psychologists work collaboratively with school teams in developing appropriate interventions based on individual student needs."
"Behavior Analysts consult and collaborate with school based behavior teams to design, implement, train and evaluate formal Behavior Intervention Plans. The formal Behavior Intervention Plans are written using information collected using a Functional Assessment or Analysis. These plans may include complex reinforcement schedules and/or restrictive behavior procedures in order to decrease maladaptive behavior. Typically, most of their professional time is spent supporting students with emotional/behavioral, intellectual or physical disabilities. These are the students who display the most complex behavior problems. In addition, Behavior Analysts also conduct a variety of trainings throughout the district. Some of the trainings include: ABA Principles, Instructional Methodologies, Teachers’ Guide to Behavior Assessment, Restraint/Seclusion overview, Collaboration with Outside Agencies, VB-MAPP and Data Collection. Currently there are 7 District Based Behavior Analysts serving students within OCPS."
"The Behavior Services Department uses the science of Applied Behavior Analysis to teach students the skills they need to be successful in the educational setting. Behavior Analysts serve schools as Support Professionals providing consultation to Problem Solving, Student Study and Individual Educational Planning Teams. Behavior Analysts assist school staff in classroom setup, instructional methods and staff training. They address the function, or reason for a student’s maladaptive behavior and attempt to teach one that is functionally equivalent. In other words, the goal is to teach the student socially appropriate ways to access their educational environment. Skills such as learning to wait, asking for help and building peer relationships are just some of the areas that may be addressed. These abilities are crucial to a student’s educational success. On some occasions, students need more intensive interventions than classroom consultation. In that case, Behavior Analysts will complete a Functional Behavior Assessment and write specific Behavior Intervention Plans for a student."
Currently our keiki in the Hawai'i DOE are being denied access to licensed behavior analysts and therefore access to FAPE under I.D.E.A.
(Mark Howard ICASE 2017 Presentation) "Understand applied behavior analysis (ABA) and its history, recognize one way in which ABA has been applied in the public school setting, demonstrate understanding of paraprofessional training in an ABA classroom, explore collaborative relationships between ABA centers and public schools, understand challenges and limitations of implementing intensive ABA in public school settings and compare the differences between the application of ABA in public schools and in ABA/autism centers, explore additional evidence-based practices complimentary to ABA, and review student specific student outcomes."
"The Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) will train and collaborate with all staff, in order to support students with behavioral challenges throughout the school day. The BCBA will evaluate, observe, support and train students and staff in the development and implementation of behavioral strategies and programs, as appropriate and necessary. Data collection and observations are essential to the BCBA’s ability to complete individual Functional Behavioral Analysis (FBA) and Behavioral Intervention Plans (BIP) with greater effectiveness."
"The Elementary ABA program is designed to meet the academic, social and behavioral special needs of students with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disabilities. Students in this program generally function in the significant range of the disability. The degree and scope of the expressive and receptive language development of students in this program may vary widely but are generally deficient. Social and behavioral growth may be poorly developed."
"Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Specialists design goals and objectives to address the learning needs of students on the Autism Spectrum who require discrete trial programming. ABA Specialists gather behavioral data on students and complete Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA), and may develop individual or group Behavior Intervention Plans to gradually diminish negative behaviors and increase positive behaviors. They also support learning and facilitate opportunities for a student’s integration into general education classrooms when needed."
"Individualized programming for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders using the principles of applied behavior analysis to increase skill acquisition and decrease maladaptive behaviors. Regular review of data and programming, training of staff and regular consultation to classroom and families is provided by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Services include: Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA), assessments for school or transportation refusal, classroom-wide behavior support, Individualized behavior support, consult to academic instruction, and parent training. Comprehensive programming for children with ASD using the principles of applied behavior analysis to increase skill acquisition and decrease maladaptive behavior includes review of data and programming, training of staff, and regular consultation to the classroom by a BCBA".
I appreciate your patience, but I wanted all to know that students have been receiving services and that we do, indeed, have BCBA support in the Clinton Public Schools. Kathleen Buchanan | Director of Special Education
“ASD Class” – The students in this program are students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) requiring intensive specialized instruction who might otherwise not be able to learn in a public setting. The staff is highly trained in ASD, ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) and de-escalation strategies. The highly qualified lead teacher is Special Education Certified. Each student is paired with a paraprofessional. A BCBA consults with the staff regularly. The students are mainstreamed as much as possible depending on their individual needs."
"Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a very structured and systematic teaching approach which breaks down learning into small discrete units, which are taught in small steps. Data is collected to monitor individual progress. The District contracts with New England Center for Children (NECC) to provide services to significantly disabled children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Specifically designed to meet the educational and social needs of children with autism, the Partners model utilizes the instructional curriculum, training and supervision systems that have been developed at NECC. All programs are derived from the NECC Curriculum and NECC's Autism Curriculum Encyclopedia. Individual 1: 1 Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Discrete Trial Training are employed, along with opportunities for supported inclusion in regular education classrooms throughout the school day. Parents are encouraged to participate in a two hour a month home training program conducted at the student's home provided by the student’s NECC-trained tutor to review, model and discuss home issues."
"Holyoke Public Schools provides a continuum of services for students with autism from preschool through high school. Our IEP teams determine the most appropriate programs and services, based on each student’s level of need. Our students are educated in the least restrictive environment, and we follow a team-based approach to provide the most comprehensive services, delivered by a variety of service providers. Parents are the most important members of our teams."
"Guide to Special Education Programs and Related Services: An inclusion based intensive approach to Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) instruction. The services include a combination of supported inclusion, discrete trial sessions, small group activities and incidental teaching strategies to students. The program is based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and Positive Behavior Supports with a focus on the use of individualized Behavior Support Plans incorporating function‐based strategies including functional communication training (FCT) and positive reinforcement systems."
"Typically developing peers are educated alongside students with some significant communication and social challenges who may have a diagnosis in the Autism Spectrum or other global delays within a highly structured, safe and learning environment. The peers attend the program during the mornings allowing more intensive services to be provided in the afternoons to the students on IEPs. The curriculum includes language lessons incorporated into early literacy, science, social studies, math, life skills, and therapies. Social and play skills instruction is integrated throughout the curriculum. The principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis are embedded in the instruction. The use of positive reinforcement, success oriented activities and the utilization of sensory integration strategies provide students a functional framework to focus on personal goals. Special needs students and their families may participate in home-school services and some individual discrete trials as part of their program if deemed appropriate per their IEP."
"Sharon Public Schools currently support the needs of students with Autism Spectrum related disabilities in one of our 3 full-year district wide ASD Programs (Heights and Middle). These students may also have difficulties in physical functioning, sensory motor skills, adaptive functioning, fine motor skills and/or self-help skills and focus on a highly specialized and individualized program using the principals of Applied Behavior Analysis.
Often, students placed within the ASD Program model complete most of their academic content in a smaller learning environment using Discrete Trial Instruction or ABA –Based Learning, and enjoy social experiences within the larger school community. Some students experience inclusion opportunities for academic or social connections for part or most of their school day. Staffing includes: Staffing includes: special education teacher/BCBA, speech/language therapists, occupational and physical therapists, guidance counselors and psychologists. Individual Team decisions determine the student’s daily schedule and level of supports needed within the ASD and general education settings."
"The SEEM Collaborative provides a full range of services to students within our member district schools. Each student receives the blend of services needed to best support his or her unique needs and to enable academic, social, and emotional advancement. SEEM staff work closely with member district staff and parents to assess student progress and determine future treatments and placements. Applied Behavior Analysis: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the science of systematically studying variables that influence behavior (Sulzer-Azaroff and Mayer,1991). SEEM Collaborative currently employs several Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), who provide and supervise ABA services, for students ages 3-22. Five main areas of service are provided: consultation to SEEM Collaborative schools; consultation to member and non-member public school districts; direct and consultative home services; assessments; and ABA-based trainings. SEEM Collaborative provides district-based professional learning workshops in the following areas: Behavior Analysis (ABA), English Language Education, Social Emotional, Leading Educational Access Program (LEAP), Transition, Assistive Technology, and Special Education)."
"Students in the Focus program require highly individualized, consistent, intensive special education and related services. The methodology and/or supports may include: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), direct teaching, small group functional academics, communication skills, daily living skills, orientation and mobility, functional vision use and highly specialized assistive technology. Integrated approaches are utilized to assure medical, orthopedic and augmentative communication techniques are cohesively adjusted for optimal student learning. Inclusive opportunities, through reverse inclusion and purposeful participation within general education environments allow students to be a part of the school community. Community based instructional opportunities may be available for generalization of skills such as socialization, community awareness and exposure, functional mobility and safety skills.
Staffing: Each classroom is staffed with a special education teacher (MADESE certified in early childhood) and instructional assistants as needed. An Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Tutor provides services both in and out of the classrooms, as needed. A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) consults to the program weekly."
"Building Sustainable ABA Programming in the Public School Setting - Why develop ABA programs in the public schools? The successes and challenges of developing intensive special education services within the public school. Implementing services in community schools using public school staff and resources is a cost effective and tremendously beneficial."
In August 2014, The New Jersey DOE’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) announced the creation of a job code for Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs).
"A full continuum of special education programs is available to students who have been evaluated by the Child Study Team and found to be eligible for special education and related services. When a student is determined eligible, an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is developed. The IEP describes, in detail, the student’s special education program and is implemented after parents have given written consent. The goal of special education is to provide students who have been evaluated by the Child Study Team and found eligible for special education and related services with the opportunity for academic as well as personal growth and development. Each student is encouraged to seek the highest level of excellence in the least restrictive environment.
When a student is determined eligible for special education and related services, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed by the IEP team. The IEP team, including the teachers, parents, case manager, and the student, when appropriate, determines the program that meets the student’s learning needs. The IEP describes, in detail, the student’s special education program and is implemented after the parents have given written consent.
To the extent possible, classified students are scheduled in general education classes in all areas of the curriculum. Some students may be scheduled part of the day in classes taught or supported by special education teachers, while others receive all instruction in the general education setting with the appropriate supplementary aids and services."
"My name is Mrs. Demski and I am the Voorhees School District's Behavior Specialist. This is my fourth year working for the district. I am a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. I earned my bachelor's degree in psychology at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. I earned my master's degree in Psychology with a concentration in applied behavior analysis from University of Maryland Baltimore County. I am a member of the Association for Behavior Analysis".
"ABA is a significant component of all NYC schools. In our preschools, there are dedicated ABA classrooms for students with autism. Educational programming, behavioral support, and classroom arrangement all reflect best practice ABA. The Program Coordinators’ and BCBAs comprehensive data collection plans and forms help provide consistent monitoring of students’ progress. To ensure high-quality programming, staff receives pre-service and in-service training in ABA practices. ABA classrooms are continuously observed to guarantee that the students with ASD in these environments receive the appropriate instruction" (NY 2017).
"The Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) provides behavior analysis services and behavior management plans for both students who receive special education and students who are receiving supports through the Multi-tiered System of Supports (Tiers 2 and 3). The BCBA will be the supervisor for the school district’s Positive Behavior Interventionist and Technician program throughout the elementary schools. The BCBA will also be responsible for providing professional development opportunities for certified and non-certified Fargo Public Schools staff, participate in district level committees."
"The ABA in PA Initiative is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit advocacy organization made up a parents, industry professionals, and lawmakers dedicated to change the future for all children in Pennsylvania with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by ensuring access to Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy via Medical Assistance. The ABA in PA Initiative aims to bring the autism community together as one united voice to urge Pennsylvania and private sector to listen to our concerns and take immediate action to address the service gap for ABA. It is our firm belief that, working together, we can assure that our children get the care they need, when they need it!"
"The Pennsylvania Department of Education addressed the need for a competency-based program for trained staff in applied behavior analysis by initiating the credentialing process in behavior analysis. As a result, the development of a training program designed around Functional Behavioral Assessment in public school settings has emerged. A practical tool for school teams, the Functional Behavioral Assessment Worksheet, has been developed using Applied Behavior Analysis principles and procedures. This article discusses the uses and benefits of the Functional Behavior Assessment Worksheet."
"Social emotional resources and positive behavioral supports are provided through a tiered continuum and are accessible to all elementary school students. They are developed and monitored through the collaborative effort of several school-based teams which meet on a regular basis: the MTSS, RTI, PBIS, and School Improvement teams. The MTSS teams additionally participate in district wide meetings four times a year. The teams are multidisciplinary in nature and may include regular and special educators, a school psychologist, a school social worker, a behavior analyst, a speech and language pathologist, the guidance counselor, and an administrator. Other therapists, teacher assistants and the school nurse may be involved on some teams."
"Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects behaviors such as social interaction, communication and development of relationships with others. Support for teachers who provide instruction to students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Alexandria City Public Schools is provided by an Autism Resource Specialist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Tenets of Best Practice: Effective instruction for students on the Autism Spectrum should include the following: Intervention approaches should be individualized to match a child's current developmental level and his or her profile of learning strengths and weaknesses, intervention for young children should be based on our current knowledge of child development, an intervention approach should directly address the core characteristics of ASD, intervention approaches should demonstrate a logical consistency with their long-term goals and teaching protocols, and intervention approaches should be derived from a range of sources."
"Our program supports the special education instruction of students with autism and related disorders."
"While neither the federal nor Virginia Regulations address other uses of FBAs and BIPs, both sets of regulations require that, as a part of IEP development, when a student’s behavior impedes his learning or that of others, the IEP team must consider the use of positive behavioral interventions, strategies and supports to address the behavior. A BIP is, by regulatory definition, one means of addressing interfering behaviors. As a result, although not directly addressed in the regulations, the VDOE has taken the position that, when an IEP team has conducted an FBA and developed a BIP for a student with a disability whose behavior interferes with his learning or that of others, that BIP must be treated as a part of and implemented with the same fidelity as the remainder of the IEP. Practice recommendations contained in this document are based on applied behavior analysis principles. Information is presented for school employees, as long as they do not represent themselves as Licensed Behavior Analysts or Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) and do not practice behavior analysis professionally unless they obtain one of those licenses. The BCBAs are practitioners who have met the qualifications set by the national Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). The terms and guidance contained in this document are not identical to BCBA practice or the qualifications set by the national Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB)."
"Jefferson County Public Schools partner with Private Behavioral Healthcare Provider to Serve Children with Autism (2013) - Grafton Integrated Health Network (Grafton) and Jefferson County schools have partnered to provide services for children with autism in TA Lowery Elementary classroom in Charles Town, West Virginia. Historically, local school systems would identify resources to serve children with significant behavioral, intellectual and developmental challenges within their schools and on occasion, would transport children to facilities outside of their state when necessary. In the spring of 2013, Grafton leaders approached Jefferson County Public Schools about a possible collaboration to serve students within the schools at Jefferson County. Jefferson County public school officials responded enthusiastically to this project and their willingness to collaborate on this partnership confirms their strong commitment to students, families and teachers within their locality."
Articles and Research Pertaining to ABA in Public Schools
"On a practical level, schools often lack the specialists they need to adequately educate children with autism. These children, especially those on the severe end of the spectrum, need the most evidence-based treatment available: applied behavior analysis(ABA). Whether a child with autism attends a public or a private school, the important thing is that he or she NOT be isolated from the larger community. Children with autism should stay connected to their neighborhoods and hometowns, where they can interact with other students and their families, with local teachers and shop keepers, forming relationships and bonds that ideally will support and sustain them as they grow into adults."
"National demand for licensed behavior analysts is increasing rapidly, with positions more than doubling between 2012 (1,414 postings) and 2014 (3,083 postings). California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are enjoying the highest demands, with nearly 50% of all job postings concentrated in these three states. The demand for behavior analysts vary across industries, with 85% of job postings concentrated around Health Care (46%), Educational Services (28%), and Social Assistance (11%). In an educational setting, highly desired skills are data collection and school psychology."
"Today, 1 in 68 American children are diagnosed with ASD. The Federal IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), legislation that was first passed in 1975, guarantees each of them the right to an individually appropriate education. While IDEA does not specifically mandate ABA services, both parents and school administrators are increasingly concluding that such treatments offer the best outcomes for children."