Behavior Specialist may serve in the following roles:

BCBA: A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) uses their extensive skill set to determine the function of a student’s behavior, then creates and implements a behavior plan, which is unique to each child. The BCBA’s goal is to address skills in the areas of functional communication, social skills, following directions, and more. Services from a BCBA may take place in the school setting, the home, or in the community.

BCaBA: A Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) works under the supervision of a BCBA to implement behavior plans, collect data, and maintain treatment records. This highly skilled individual can provide direct services to students and supervise Registered Behavior Technicians.

RBT: A Registered Behavior Technician is a paraprofessional who provides clients with day to day behavior support, implements the Behavior Plan as determined by the BCBA, and collects relevant data. An RBT works under the supervision of the BCBA.

Behavior Therapy: The Need and The Benefit

What Is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst? The Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is a graduate-level certification in behavior analysis. Professionals certified at the BCBA level are independent practitioners who provide behavior-analytic services. BCBAs may supervise the work of Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBAs), Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs), and other professionals who implement behavior-analytic services.” –BCBA Handbook (p.5)

What is Behavior Analysis and how does it work?  In a nutshell, Behavior analysts look at the function of a behavior.  What does the behavior allow the individual to do: escape something, gain a tangible, gain attention, or access sensory stimulation?  Through observation of the behavior and the environment, the behavior analyst can create a hypothesis and treatment plan.

Who typically receives Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?  Individuals who demonstrate deficits in behavior, including social skills, communication, and behaviors that cause self-harm or harm to peers.  ABA can also be used to increase academic behaviors, such as on task work, following directions, and staying in designated areas.  Individuals with autism, behavior disabilities, or other learning differences may benefit from this treatment.

Why would a child receive ABA instead of counseling? ABA therapy differs in many ways from traditional counseling. Most importantly, ABA looks at how behaviors are reinforced in the environment.  New behaviors are taught and reinforced in a systematic way until the student is able to consistently show the new behavior naturally and as independently as possible.  ABA does not use talk therapy or group counseling at any point.

Where does ABA therapy take place?  Therapy can occur in any environment, but is more effective when it occurs as close as possible to the natural environment.  For example, school based services could take place in a separate classroom but are more effective in the classroom where the behavior occurs most often.  All facets of the treatment plan are determined on an individual basis.