Behavior Analysis

We all need ways to obtain our wants and needs, ways to escape unwanted situations, and ways to gain attention from others. In our programming, we focus on setting up our environments to support constructive behaviors.  We ensure that choices are provided to individuals to give as much control as possible over one’s life; we provide visual supports to increase the predictability of what is coming and also increase one’s sense of control; we focus on “catching people being good;” and we make sure that good things are happening for desirable behaviors and that we are taking the benefits off of problematic behaviors. Our Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) sets up programs specific to individuals to tackle such behaviors of concern as self-injury or aggression directed at others.  No matter what the behavior looks like, our focus is always on determining how that behavior might be serving the person.  For example, is it a way to get attention when attention is lacking?  Is it because someone is experiencing pain and has no other way to deal with it?  Is it because someone is in a situation they don’t like, and this is how they escape it?  In some way, this behavior is serving this person.  Our job is to determine what the function is, and to teach some other, more constructive way to meet that end that will serve the person better in his or her life.  An example is teaching someone to say “move please” or “excuse me” rather than punching another person who has gotten too close.  Or teaching someone who is nonverbal to use an ASL sign or an icon/picture to communicate that they need to leave a loud crowded environment as an alternative to bolting out into a parking lot.

Related supports

Our Department of Program Quality staff focus on writing medically necessary measureable goals as a part of each individual’s Personal Plan.  After program/home supervisors have discussed with individuals, families, and guardians the goals that the individuals want included in their plans, the Program Quality Analysts (PQAs) work together with the individuals, staff, and supervisors to develop and dovetail goals, focusing on skills that will increase a person’s independence, social acceptance, and inclusion in the community, skills that are useful to this person, and skills or behaviors that are likely to be naturally reinforced after the programming is done. These goals cover a wide range of topics, depending upon the needs of each person.  Samples include:  increasing one’s safety as a pedestrian; making purchases in the community; communicating with words, signs, or pictures as an alternative to aggressing on others or self-injury; increasing one’s physical activities; increasing one’s independence in following a showering routine; developing more self-reliance, self-monitoring, increased independence, and reliance on natural cues and supports in the workplace, at home, and in the community.