We do! I love collaborating with them. A BCBA is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Students with complex communication needs (CCN) and significant challenging behaviors collaboration with the BCBA (or behavior team) is not just important it is TANTAMOUNT to the success and safety of the student.
I am privileged to work with the BCBA’s from @portviewpreparatory. We are allies and they are without a doubt the best around! With them we can achieve ALL things. Without them my therapy would NOT be successful- of this I’m sure! To keep it real, there are times where our goals can overlap and it may “seem” that their goal reaches into the speech realm. However, I can NOT cover everything and hit all aspects of language for our CCN students. So SHARE SLP’s- we have plenty of language and literacy goals to target!
When all members of a students team have open and regular communication it allows you to create a consistent plan for delivering and scaffolding your sessions. “It is key that special and general education teachers collaborate with SLPs when determining the approach to be used during intervention (Zangari 2012).”
Here are suggestions to think about for successful sessions with your student.
Collaborate Prior to Session
- Confirm that the 1:1 will guide, communicate and follow through with the BIP throughout your session. Always look to the BCBA for guidance and direction.
- Create an indirect or subtle cue at the onset of the session. Have a clear way for the 1:1 to frontload you as to the student’s current baseline. It may be necessary to delay your session for a sensory break or a different setting or environment may be needed.
- Thumbs up- good to go
- “Hand wriggle” – be mindful that a change in setting, activity, sensory stimuli or demands may need to be altered.
- Have a compliance check plan. This is a plan for when the student is in behavior during and then beyond your session and the behavior team wants him/her to finish a few trials of the incomplete activity. But, I need to move on to your next student. What do you do? Depending on the behavior staff, we do 1 of two things.
- Leave the materials and allow the 1:1 to complete the activity (themselves or with another behavior team member)
- Or, they call the speech team and if someone is available one of us returns to complete the follow through.
During the Session
- Follow their lead. Allow the 1:1 or BCBA to provide the reinforcement schedule and replacement strategies. As you work with the student regularly you will feel more comfortable helping with this and/or providing it (with guidance).
- ALWAYS have a low tech option available! There are times when it is necessary to remove the speech generating device (SGD) for the safety of all parties. Have your low tech available. .
- Pay attention and read non-verbal cues of the student AND the behavior staff. I know we are focused on our session and goals but this is crucial to know how to proceed with your plan.
- BE FLEXIBLE! Be willing to ditch everything and change your plan.
After the Session
- Stay in close communication with your behavior team.
- Ask for suggestions of what to do better, change, modify or add to your session.
- Observe your student
Takeway: Embrace your behavior team!! Listen and learn from them and they will do the same! They bring great insight, perspective and knowledge
See blog for details on how I collaborate with my BCBA’s
Upcoming Blog Post on how I collaborate with OT, Teacher & Parent.