Experience of Kathryn Glodowski, M.S., BCBA

A popular way to address problem behavior is to do so proactively or, said another way, to make changes to the antecedents of problem behavior. The proactive approach has intuitive appeal–Why wait for problem behavior to occur to address it when you could arrange the environment so that problem behavior does not occur in the first place? The problem, however, with relying on a proactive approach is that more than just problem behavior is avoided. Opportunities to teach children functional skills for difficult situations are also avoided, resulting in the persistence of problem behavior for children who routinely experience these proactive approaches.When class-wide or small group approaches to developing the skills of communication, toleration, and compliance do not yield the important life skills for particular learners, we recommend emulating the difficult situations in an analysis. This allows the BCBA to (a) determine if the reportedly difficult situations do indeed evoke problem behavior, (b) to determine whether providing the class headshotsuspected reinforcers does indeed turn off the problem behavior, and (c) to identify a context to teach the life skills. Keep these values in mind while watching Kathryn Glodowski, M.S., BCBA describe her implementation of the functional assessment process with a young boy with autism. Kathryn’s story, which is below, is also important because it reveals the sometimes iterative process of functional assessment.

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