By Adriana Rodriguez, M.A., BCBA
Have you ever worked with a client and have a hard time with buy in from the parents? Are the parents not following the plan you developed? If so, have you thought of the family’s culture as a factor?
The increase in minority population arriving the U.S has made it difficult for health care providers, to provide culturally competent health care services (Welterin & LaRue, 2007). This is problematic, specifically for behavior analysts because our main goal is to implement behavior analytic interventions to solve problems of social significance (Baer, Wolf, & Risley, 1968). However, based on the definition of culture, we can presume that what is socially significant for an individual, might not be socially significant for another individual. This is an important distinction to make, specially when selecting goals for families who have a different cultural background. As behavior analysts, we might conduct an assessment and select a goal that might not be in line with the family’s culture. Thus, resulting problematic as the family might not follow the plan, or it might even make it difficult for the parents to buy-in the intervention. In recent years, more and more behavior analysts have become aware of this factor, thus increasing the research and awareness of including culture within applied behavior analysis (ABA). Despite of all our efforts, we still have a long way to go as a field in order to provide culturally competent services to the people we serve. However, the more educated we become on the topic, the better services we will be able to provide.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Baer, D. M., Wolf, M. M., & Risley, T. R. (1968). Some current dimensions of applied behavior analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1(1), 91–97. https://doi.org/10.1901/jaba.1968.1-91
Welterlin, A., & Larue, R. H. (2007). Serving the needs of immigrant families of children with autism. Disability & Society, 22(7), 747-760. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09687590701659600
By Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez, M.S., BCBA, Bueno Ventures, OBM Alliance, 305 Publishing
Goal Setting, not a novel concept by any stretch. In fact, there even exists a management theorem called “Goal Setting Theory” (Locke and Latham, 2006) describing goal setting as the relationship between goals and its effects. The theorem continues with specific points of emphasis such as clarity of the goals, challenging yet attainable goals, feedback must be provided on goal attainment, and group goal setting is as important as individual goal setting.
So why is goal setting so difficult for many organizations? In a word – confusion.
Many managers who are looking to set a goal for their team starts with some basics – past performance, expectations of upper management, and the old “add 10%.” Now, the challenge with goal setting is twofold: the goal itself, and setting the goal.
THE GOAL ITSELF
A goal is a preset or specified level of performance to be attained. Good goals are SMART Goals (Geller, 2003) - Specific - Motivational - Achievable - Relevant – and Trackable. After defining the goal, managers take great care to ensure they meet the SMART criteria. Testing the criteria requires feedback from those who are affected by the goals and those who influence the goals.
Goal setting is the process in which the goal is set. It is advisable for the manager to gather input from stakeholders who are affected by the goal – the very employees doing the work. Although upper management definitely plays a role in setting the goal, the manager should take great care in how goals set affect the employees who are then held accountable to the goal.
Goal setting also requires an understanding of ensuring the goal is challenging yet attainable, and higher than (or toward the higher end of) typical performance, but at a point where it’ll be reached at least occasionally. It is also always better to start too low, and then increase it as you go, versus too high and never accomplish it.
There is much written on the subject of goal setting, and for people who work in organizations, it’s a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual topic. Yet, goals and goals settings are only part of the equation of a system to managing and positively influencing human performance. Without goals and goal setting however, the workplace may seem rather dull.
Geller, E.S. (2003). Should organizational behavior management expand its content? Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 22(2), 13-30, DOI: 10.1300/J075v22n02_03
Locke, E.A., & Latham, G.P. (2006). New directions in goal-setting theory. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15(5), 265-268.
The field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) while it has been around for many years is still in many ways in the growth phases as a profession. Once such area is that of diversity and multicultural issues. It has only been within the past few years that meaningful conversations have really started to occur around the topic of multiculturalism and diversity issues in the field. I will give you a brief summary of the current status of the field in this area and opinions of where I think we still need to go.
CURRENT STATUS ON DIVERSITY
statistics are lacking
Unfortunately it is hard to know exactly the current status of minorities in the field of ABA because the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) does not report the demographics of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBAs), or Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs). The only data available are in regards to the number of certificants and the practice areas of those certificants. According to a study by Nosik & Grow (2015), the majority of behavior analysts are women (82.2%). This does not necessarily match the gender of individuals being served by behavior analysts. Data show that most behavior analysts tend to work in practice areas with individuals with autism and the majority of clients with autism are males with 1 in 37 boys being diagnosed with autism each year (Autism Speaks, 2018). Other than gender data, there is no publicly available demographic data pertaining to certified professionals in ABA through the BACB, Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), or the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA) as it relates to race, ethnicity, religious/spiritual affiliation, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. Therefore, there is no accessible information on the percentage of behavior analytic professionals identifying as minorities or belonging to other diverse groups. This is concerning because there is no understanding then if the population of behavior analytic professionals are matching the demographics of the populations being serviced with behavior analysis.
Congratulations on wanting to take the first steps to develop your own ABA agency! This can be a rewarding yet overwhelming endeavor if you do not know where to begin. In this blog I look to offer you some tips on how to develop your agency.
1. COME UP WITH YOUR ABA AGENCY NAME.
Before you get started with your ABA agency, you will want to research and come up with your name. It is possible that someone else might have already picked the name you wanted. The best way to check is through your state's business registry website. You can then find out if someone currently has your business name and adjust it accordingly. Remember to think about what might drive an audience or client to your ABA agency and do not select a name that is either too ambiguous or specific. You also want to think of something that might catchy and easy for someone to remember.
2. DEVELOP A BUSINESS PLAN.
In order for any business to be successful there must be a clear roadmap of where the organization is going. You will want to figure out what is your organization's mission, what services are being offered, what services are being offered, who your competitors will be in the area, etc. The U.S. Small Business Administration has some great resources on business plan development and often have local offices where you can meet with professionals for coaching for developing your business.
3. SPEAK WITH AN ATTORNEY and accountant.
To begin your agency you will need to complete paperwork to register your business in your state and with the federal government. You can do this on your own, but it is advisable to have an attorney and/or an accountant involved to assist you with this process to ensure that you have done everything correctly. Also, determine all of your insurances that will be needed (e.g., general liability, worker's compensation, professional liability, etc.)