Early Intervention Training Program Newsletter, Summer 2019
Including a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst on an Early Intervention Team
Informing families and caregivers about possible team members, helping them make informed decisions, and using evidence-based strategies are important tasks for all early interventionists. The Illinois Early Intervention (EI) system supports families with young children who have or are at risk for disabilities and delays, including children with challenging behaviors. While all team members may have some expertise in behavioral strategies for young children, one team member, a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA), has extensive training and experience in strategies for preventing and addressing challenging behavior.
What is a BCBA?
A BCBA is a board-certified behavior analyst. He or she provides Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services. Early interventionists and caregivers can learn and use basic principles of ABA, but a trained professional should conduct a systematic assessment and support the development of an intervention plan. To become a BCBA, a person must earn a master's degree or doctoral degree, complete rigorous coursework, complete supervised practicum experiences, and pass the national exam set forth by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).
Based on their training, BCBAs can administer, conduct, evaluate and supervise behavioral assessments and interventions. In Illinois, any provider conducting initial evaluations must also hold an evaluator credential. They are responsible for the development of an individualized behavior plan based on assessment results and the child's needs. They use evidence-based strategies, and may also supervise plan implementation by other professionals. BCBAs also review progress reports, evaluate behavior plans, monitor progress toward individual outcomes and plan objectives, and adjust individualized plans. As a member of a child’s IFSP team, the BCBA supports caregivers and other interventionists through training and coaching. Teams may want to consider engaging the expertise of a BCBA on the team when the child is engaging in challenging behavior or needs behavioral support to shape a behavior that could promote development.
What is ABA?
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a set of principles that form the basis for many behavioral interventions. ABA is based on the science of learning and behavior. Behavior analysis can help the team understand the child’s behavior, how the physical and social environments impact behavior, and what can be done to teach new skills and change behaviors. ABA principles can be used to increase language and communication skills of a young child, decrease challenging behaviors by teaching a behavior that could replace the challenging behavior, and improve social skills, adaptive skills, and learning. ABA principles have been used for many years and have been found to be helpful for children both with and without disabilities. Although some people think that ABA principles and interventions are appropriate only for children with autism, these principles can be helpful for any infant/child in EI whose functional outcome(s) is related to changing or shaping behavior to promote development.
What should the team expect a BCBA to do?
Based on the family practices within the DEC Recommended Practices the BCBA will work with other team members to promote the use of family-centered practices and family capacity-building practices and engage in family and professional collaboration. As a member of the EI team, the BCBA will-
- Gather information about the child through conversations with the caregivers
- Collaborate with the caregivers to identify the behavior(s) to be modified
- Assess the child through formal assessments and observations
- Analyze the assessment results and explain them to the caregivers
- Discuss individualized plan options with the caregivers
- Support caregivers in developing an individualized behavior plan
- Implement or support the implementation of evidence-based strategies
- Monitor and evaluate progress
- Coach caregivers and provide additional resources and information.
ABC approach – what is it and how do BCBAs use the ABC approach?
ABC stands for Antecedent, Behavior, and Consequence. ABC is an important component of ABA and a model for understanding why a child is behaving in a specific way and what can be done to change the behavior or teach new behavior by better understanding what triggers the behavior. Antecedents are the environment and events before the target behavior occurs, and consequences are the outcomes or results of the behavior occurring. Careful observations of antecedents and consequences help determine what changes to the environment could lead to changes in the child’s behavior. For example, a young child with developmental delays cries and screams every day during transitions (i.e., leaving the house and taking a bath). To understand the child’s behavior, the BCBA on the EI team talked with the caregivers and observed the transitions. During the transitions, the caregiver took the child’s toys away in order to get the child ready to leave the house or take a bath (antecedent). The child would then cry and scream (behavior), so the caregiver gave the toys back to the child and delayed the transition (consequences). The BCBA concluded that the child wants to continue playing with the toys instead of moving on to the next activity. In this instance, the BCBA suggested a few different strategies (e.g., singing a specific song just before the transition, allowing the child to hold one toy during the transition) to prevent the crying and screaming during transitions.
Better understanding what BCBA, ABA and ABC means can help you better inform families and caregivers about the potential role of a BCBA on the early intervention team and within their child’s life.
2019 CFC Award Winners
A big "Congratulations" goes out to the CFC personnel who were nominated for and won awards at the 2019 Child & Family Connections Conferences in May 2019. (One winner was selected for each conference, North and South). These individuals were recognized for their service, contributions, resourcefulness, and collaborative spirit. We are pleased to announce the following award recipients:
Troubleshooter Award: This award recognizes an individual who can see a problem and is always able to come up with a solution. This person is positive, innovative and creative, and rarely comes across a problem that can’t be solved!
- Kristy Collazo, CFC 6
- Sarah Organ, CFC 22
|Encouraging Word Award:This award recognizes an individual who recognizes others’ strengths and lets them know it! This person stays positive when things get hectic, keeps morale high, and helps others see the bigger picture.
- Bianca Boyce, CFC 7
- Jennifer Huie, CFC 22
|Rising Star Award:This award is for an individual who has worked within the CFC office for less than one year. This person although new in their position really understands EI and the principles that support it.
- Megan Smoes, CFC 16
- Gabriela Delgadillo, CFC 25
|Backstage Gem Award:This award recognizes an individual whose quiet daily organization or management makes everything go smoothly for everyone else. With the efforts of this person, there would be utter chaos!
- Starla Canselor, CFC 12 (not pictured)
- Jennifer Gardner, CFC 18
|Collaborator Award: This award recognizes an individual adept at working with others toward a common goal. This person always seems to find the common ground, is respectful of others, and is explicit, tactful and clear. Any team this person is on is better for it!
- Sarah Hodge, CFC 4 (not pictured)
- Sara Patterson, CFC 19
Home Visiting and Early Intervention Survey Summary
These are results of the 2018-2019 surveys of home visiting, Early Intervention (EI) providers and CFC personnel on their experiences in cross-system collaboration. In 2018, surveys were distributed by the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood, the DHS Early Intervention Bureau, and the Illinois Early Learning Council in order to better understand the knowledge and experiences of early interventionists and home visitors as it relates to both service systems. The survey results will be used to inform policies, procedures and guidance for home visiting and early intervention.
New to EI? Join Our EITP Virtual Office Hours
For individuals new to the early intervention system, EITP offers another level of support: EITP Virtual Office Hours!
On the first Tuesday of each month, from 3-4pm, new providers will have the opportunity to ask questions about our field and get answers from EITP team members and our EI partners.
There is no fee, and no credit hours will be awarded. You may call in every month or as needed. No question is too small! We are here for you!
To learn more (e.g. how to join, FAQs, pre-survey), please visit https://go.illinois.edu/EITPOfficeHours
The Growing Brain Training-of-Trainers
Decades of research indicate that the early years of life are a period of exponential brain development, characterized by great opportunity and vulnerability. The Growing Brain curriculum from Zero to Three provides a toolkit for how the brain develops and ways direct service professionals can encourage healthy brain development in children from birth to 5 years old.
Zero to Three Learning Center will be hosting a special Midwest regional event in collaboration with the Early Intervention Training Program (EITP) at the University of Illinois and The Ounce of Prevention Fund.
This two-day event provides a comprehensive understanding of the new Growing Brain curriculum and what it means to be a Certified Trainer in this curriculum. Trainers will learn skills and evidence-informed strategies to prepare early childhood providers for their vital role in building healthy brains, including: teaching early childhood professionals about brain development architecture and neurobiology to inform their practice; supporting language, cognition, prosocial behavior, and social-emotional development; and reducing toxic stress that can negatively influence brain development of very young children.
||The Growing Brain Training-of-Trainers
||July 10, 2019 9:00 AM - July 11, 2019 4:00 PM (CDT)
||The Ounce of Prevention Fund
||provisional trainer certification & Zero to Three Membership for 1 year
Register for The Growing Brain Training-of-Trainers in Chicago and equip yourself with evidence-informed strategies as you prepare early childhood professionals for their vital role in building healthy brains.
Supporting Parents’ Confidence to Pull Up a Chair at the Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education Table
In each Newsletter, EITP highlights a free article focused on Early Intervention that will be available for PDF download from the Young Exceptional Children journal!
Currently, we are featuring "Supporting Parents’ Confidence to Pull Up a Chair at the Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education Table" by Deborah A. Bruns and Diana J. LaRocco from Young Exceptional Children, v22, no.1, March 2019.
The following abstract is from the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC):
"Grounded in the work of researchers such as Dunst, Trivette, and Deal (1988), the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children's (DEC) Recommended Practices in the area of working with families provide guidance to EI/early childhood special education (ECSE) practitioners on how best to support families of young children who have, or are at-risk for, developmental delays or disabilities. These practices emphasize values and behaviors such as growing parent-professional partnerships, building on existing parent strengths, enhancing parent self-efficacy beliefs, and promoting active parent engagement in decision making, all with the goal of achieving a family's self-identified goals. Related research suggests that implementation of family-centered help-giving behaviors, which are both relational and participatory, enhances a family's confidence and competence in advocating for and obtaining formal and informal supports and resources to promote their child's learning and development, leading to positive child and family outcomes. The relational aspect of family-centered help giving is inclusive of behaviors and dispositions such as active listening and empathy. The participatory aspect of family-centered help giving includes actions such as joint development of goals based on family-identified needs and shared decision making. This article contains a series of vignettes that exemplify an autonomy-oriented approach to help giving. The vignettes highlight not only possible missteps and misconceptions that parents might encounter but also practitioner actions that support parents' competence and help them to gain confidence in taking their place at the EI/ECSE table. Following each vignette, connections are drawn to DEC's (2014) Recommended Practices and examples of practitioner behaviors and actions that enable families to assume the role of advocate are offered."
Service Coordinator Corner
The “Service Coordination Corner” spotlights the important work that service coordinators are doing within the Illinois EI System.
The role of the Service Coordinator is critical in EI, and as such, there are many initiatives underway in Illinois and nationally. Here are some exciting updates and resources you can use in your work:
- The Illinois Service Coordination Community of Practice (IL SC CoP) and CFC SC Trainer Forum continue to meet quarterly and discussions are driven by group members. If you haven’t joined, or you want more information about either of these groups please visit the EITP service coordination resource page to learn more and contact Sarah Nichols with questions.
- Service Coordination Consultant Corner – EITP’s Assistant Director, Maria Kastanis, and Professional Development Specialist, Sarah Nichols, are writing a series of articles around service coordination for the Educational & Developmental Intervention Services “Keeping In Touch” (KIT) series which is distributed by the Part C Coordinator of the Comprehensive Professional Development System (CSPD) for the United States Army Department of Defense (DoD). Check out the two articles in the series via the following links: April 2019 (pdf) and May 2019 (pdf)
State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) Fourth Quarter Update
As the implementation phase continues, we are pleased to see positive changes occurring. Our primary focus is now on our family engagement improvement strategy. Survey results from leadership teams and professional developmental activity participants are being used to inform resource development and ongoing family engagement activities.
We submitted our SSIP report to the Office of Special Education Programs in April and are awaiting their feedback. At the end of May, we joined other states to discuss our progress and challenges during a Cross State Learning Collaborative meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. Our large group of stakeholders convened in June and provided input regarding the evaluation plan and next steps.
Ongoing activities will continue to focus on capacity building around family engagement, refinement of the evaluation plan, and planning for scale up and sustainability. We welcome everyone’s input so if you have any comments, please email comments to Chelsea Guillen.
indicates events that are approved by Gateways (the Illinois professional development system for child care professionals).
*For all multiple day events, participants must register before Day 1 and attend all days. Registration will be closed after Day 1 of that event. To register for the event, click on the full title of the event.