Field unturned” and to not discredit or
















Field Notes: Lesson 1

Lesley Bailor

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Field Notes: Lesson 1

This week’s lesson
highlighted: the development of applied behavioral analysis (Chapter 1, Alberto
& Troutman, 2017), the essential use of scientific knowledge by behavior
analysts in order to provide comprehensive services to clients (BACB Compliance
Code, 1.01), the need and ability to define behavior (BACB task List, FK-10) in
a clear, observable and measurable manner (BACB Fourth Edition Task List, I-01)
and the ability to provide services ethically, responsibly and within one’s own
competency (BACB Fourth Edition Task List, G-07).

With the advent of
“best practices” in place, one of the first competencies of a behavior analyst is
the ability to describe and define behavior. In Chapter 1, Alberto and Troutman
(2017), discussed the usefulness and a variety of approaches to describing
behavior. When describing behavior, one approach is biophysical/biochemical
explanations; and while its’ usefulness is poor in terms of inclusiveness,
predictive utility and parsimony, it’s still important and verifiable as a BCBA
to consider biological/medical variables that may be affecting the client (BACB
Fourth Edition Task List, G-02). According to BACB Compliance code 3.02, seek medical
consultation if there is any reasonable possibility that a referred behavior is
influenced by medical or biological variables. I found this interesting to note
after recently viewing a video (TEDx Talks, Daniel Amen) discussing how his
nephew exhibited aggressive behavioral signs and through medical investigation
was found to have a brain cyst and upon removal was relieved of all symptoms.

As our textbook explains that the likelihood of attributing behaviors to
biophysical/biochemical explanation only accounts for a small percentage of
individuals, I believe not leaving “any stone unturned” and to not discredit or
discount the possibility and verifiability.

A more useful way
to define behavior can be found in Chapter 2 of Cooper, Heward, and Heron
(2007) which defines behavior as an individual’s interaction with their
environment. This includes, but not limited to what they say, feel, think and their
response. A response is defined as a single instance of behavior. For example,
in the Relias module, (Principles of Behavior: Reinforcement), Levi displayed self-injurious
behavior. An example of Levi’s response to self-injury was hitting his face
when he was denied access to a reinforcer, a favorite toy. However, the task
does not stop there. It is imperative of a behavioral analyst to not only be
able to define behavior, but to do so in observable and measureable terms (BACB
Fourth Edition Task List, I-01).  Levi’s
behavior of self-injury was observed and measurably defined through his actions
of slamming his head into the ground and slapping his face. Upon clearly
defining Levi’s behavioral problems, a behavior analyst must then conduct a
behavior-analytic assessment prior to developing and implementing a behavioral
plan (BACB Compliance Code, 3.01a). In Levi’s case, the assessment found that
denying access to certain reinforcers such as toys or his mom, triggered his
self-injurious behavior and a behavior plan was implemented (Relias Module,
Principles of Behavior: Reinforcement).

Although behavioral analysis competencies
and procedures seem simple to understand,


assessing and implementing a behavioral plan may not be so
easy to do. In Chapter 2, Alberto &


Troutman (2017), describes a competent behavior analyst as
one who has the knowledge,


training, education and supervised practice. It is advised/required
by the BACB Fourth Edition


Task List G-07, to practice within one’s limits of competence
in applied behavioral analysis and


to obtain help as necessary. Hence, my current goal to
pursue higher education after an 11-year


hiatus from school and working in the field of ABA as a
skills trainer. Upon the completion of


Lesson 1, it has become evident that this is more than just
a “refresher” course from what I


remember. In compliance with BACB code 1.02a, I am
personally limited as to the boundaries


of my competence and can only provide services commensurate with
my education and training.


I am concurrently taking an online RBT certification course
and hope to acquire a position as an


RBT in the near future to acquire current hands-on