- It's a pleasure to be here.
Thank you, Curt, and thank you, Shelley, for the introductory remark.
I really liked the who packed your parachute, I hadn't heard that.
To build on what Shelley said, let me tell you what Carolyn and I really do, so you have some background in regard to the information that we're gonna present and where we're coming from.
Carolyn has indeed worked in the field of intellectual and other developmental disabilities for over 35 years, most of that time directing a school program that was associated with the center for people with a wide variety of disabilities, including autism, intellectual disabilities, and so forth.
She has all the expert credentials as Shelley summarized.
She served on the board of the "Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis," published dozens of articles.
Carolyn has all the expert credentials, but her role in this workshop is primarily, this is a little different, she represents the consumer perspective, because some of our history, when we worked in the same center, she was running the educational services in the classrooms, I and my staff were the consultants to her program, okay?
And if you've worked in both of those capacities, where one say, you're working say in a classroom and you've got a consultant coming in, you have a certain perspective.
If you're a consultant and you're coming in to work in someone else's setting, you have a different perspective, okay?
So I'm saying she's kind of representing the consumer's perspective to help keep me honest in a lot of things that I say, because we found that to be helpful over the years.
And I think that'll become apparent as we go through.
My background, I spent the first 22 years of my career working primarily in a supervisory capacity in association with clinical behavioral responsibilities.
Then the last 19 years, I made most of my living more from a consulting capacity.
My supervisory role is much more limited, just a small group of people who work in my center, but we make our living primarily consulting in schools, human service agencies, that serve people with autism and other disabilities.
Occasionally, we will direct a Navy aid program for a student in a school where we hire the staff or the school does, we train the staff and we run the whole program.
The individual with autism is here.
She goes through the regular curriculum.
So that's what we do.
It would be really helpful for us if we knew more about what y'all do.
And as you're probably thinking about it now, "Well, he talks kinda funny." (audience laughing) Hey, wait till you hear Carolyn.
(audience laughing) She has more of a true Southern accent because she grew up in that part of the country or at least has been there longer than I have.
Anyway, so it sounds like that most of you essentially make your living working through others to help folks with autism and you're dependent on other people doing things who are working with the students with autism on a day-to-day basis, or in some cases you're in somewhat of a supervisory role where you have staff that you supervise to help get your job done, which is good, 'cause if you're not in one of those two roles, primary or consultative role, it's gonna be a long day for you, (audience laughing) maybe a long day for you anyhow.
But that's what we're gonna focus on, okay?
Specifically, what we're gonna get into, the information or at least the background come from two sources, generally speaking.
Primarily, we call it a formal evidence base, and that is about four decades of research in applied behavior analysis that has developed an evidence-based approach to working with staff, more from a supervisory capacity, but also to a degree from a consultative capacity.
And when I say consultative capacity, what I'm referring to, and I hope this is what y'all mean, is you're working with staff who are working with students.
You have no supervisory authority over the staff, and what that comes down to the bottom line, you don't hire and fire those staff, somebody else does.
As a supervisor, when we say supervisory role, you do have authoritative responsibility over the staff or hiring and firing role.
So we're gonna have to rely on the research over the years.
We've been involved in doing some of that research and many others as well.
We also rely on a more informal base.
That's our clinical consulting experience that we've done over the decades.
We've been doing it a long time and if you've been at it for a while, you know just 'cause we've done it a long time doesn't necessarily mean we do it well.
It just means you've been at this a long time.
Hopefully, we will share more of our successes than our failures, and we have had both.
The more we can rely on the formal research base to go about how we do what we do, the more likely we are to have success.
Our agenda is in part, we're gonna use the key point approach.
We're gonna try and make key points about effective consulting, working through others, and similarly, we'll have some basic premises and prerequisites that we'll present.
Some of these, you may or may not agree with.
Those that relate directly fund research, so they have a strong evidence base, we'll try to point out, versus when we're just making recommendations or key points based on our experience where there's much less of a formal evidence base.
We will consider those if you will both in terms of developing formal plans.
It sounds like a lot of y'all provide consulting within the behavioral framework, the applied behavior analysis framework.
Now, you may consult in other areas as well in the communications or speech and language perspective, but what I'm getting at is as we go through this, we're not focusing on the technology of helping students with autism, okay?
We're not focusing… We're assuming you all have an effective technology.
If you need to help someone do discreet trial teaching or pivotal response teaching or escape extinction, you know what folks with autism need.
What we're gonna focus on is working with others to use that technology effectively, both in terms of how your interventions are written if you write formal intervention plans, then in regard to training staff to implement the technology that we use, and then working with staff after you have trained them to try to promote for efficient performance on their part and what to do when things aren't going so well.
That's what we're gonna focus on today.
So we're assuming y'all know how to work with folks with autism.
In that regard, let me ask you all something.
Why don't you, you're gonna think this is silly, but there's a point to it.
I want you to think back to when you were growing up and you first started to think about relatively seriously what you wanted to be when you grew up.
Now, some of us have to think back farther than others, but that's okay.
And then I'm gonna ask some of y'all to share what you wanted to be when you grew up.
But so I don't put any of you on the spot, I will start by asking Carolyn.
She knew I was probably gonna do this.
So what did you wanna be when you grew up?
- [Carolyn] A professional downhill slalom snow skier.
(audience laughing) - Have you ever been a professional downhill slalom snow skier?
- [Carolyn] Not professional.
(audience laughing) - So you're a skier?
- Yeah, sorta.
(audience laughing) I won one race, came in third (audience laughing) out of three skiers.
(audience laughing) - Unfortunately, we've done this before, so I wasn't gonna let her get away with any of that.
So what of you all?
Who would share, yes, ma'am.
- [Woman] I wanted to be an environmental engineer.
- Environmental engineer?
Are you environmental engineer on the side?
Hey, that's a good one.
Somebody else, thank you.
Do you do volunteer firefighting?
- [Man] No, but I suppose you could say that some of what we do in school is.
(audience laughing) - Definitely putting out some fires, okay.
- Yes, ma'am?
- [Woman] I wanted to be a veterinarian.
- A veterinarian?
- Are you a vet?
- But I got lots of animals.
(audience laughing) - [Man] Pro hockey player.
- Pro hockey player, did you make it?
- [Man] No, I didn't.
(audience laughing) - All right, well, thank you all for sharing, those that did.
So when you thought about what you wanted to be when you grew up, how many of y'all wanted to grow up and do what you do now for a living?
Somewhat, a few might be thinking somewhat, but I would bet for the most part not.
And I would bet also what that means is, I could be wrong on this one, that many of you weren't formally trained so much to do what you do now for a living, particularly if you're a consultant.
I'll bet most of your formal training was more on say behavioral interventions and applied behavior analysis, principles, and practices for working with people with disabilities, much less emphasis on working with support staff or educators to implement that technology, 'cause that's just basically the same for all of us.
And that's in part why we do this training, because there is an evolving technology for working with staff to carry out behavioral procedures and other therapeutic interventions.
It's not a complete technology, but there's a good evidence base, and that's what we're gonna focus on.
And those of you who have gone… How many are board certified behavior analysts?
Okay, thank you.
And you know that behavior analysis in its training programs is starting to incorporate more on supervisory and consultative skills.
It's still a minority of the content, but it starting to grow.
And so probably down the road, folks who go through behavior analysis graduate programs will get more training in evidence base technology of working with staff and consulting.
But most of us, quite frankly, learned how to consult with staff or to supervise after we got the job and had to kinda figure it out.
But fortunately, the field's come a long way, and that's what we're gonna try to share.
We're gonna focus on as much as possible a way of working with staff, consulting if you will, as an evidence base, stemming from primarily, at least from our background research in applied behavior analysis for organizational behavior management.
Well, most of you all are well familiar with the importance of having an evidence base for the interventions that we apply with individuals with autism.
There's been a big push, both in the States and Canada, to rely on evidence-based procedures in working with folks with autism, and there's a lot of controversy with different approaches from ABA to numerous approaches, and then you've seen many in Canada, but the research is pretty clear.
If we were rely on evidence-based approaches, we're more likely to have success because we're using procedures that have initially been shown in controlled research to do what they're intended to do, and they've been shown in typical applied settings, the types of settings in which we work, to do what they're intended to do.
So if we rely on those procedures, we're more likely to have success.
We're less likely to waste time by using procedures that don't work.
And quite frankly, we're less likely to create a lot of false hopes.
If we rely on procedures that don't have an evidence base, and yet we espouse those to people, often we create false hopes and there's much disappointment when interventions don't do what they're supposed to do.
The same rationale holds with working with staff.
We're more likely to be effective, we're less likely to waste time, if our strategies for working with staff are evidence-based.
Now, we don't have the complete technology for doing that and there's certainly refinements and tweaking as we work with staff to help them carry out their interventions.
But the more we rely on evidence-based procedures to do that, the more likely we'll be successful.
And that that's what we wanna try to emphasize throughout today.
And for those of you who BCBAs or BCABAs, that's an ethical requirement.
It's part of being a certified behavior analyst.
We have to rely on procedures that are a part of our field that have an evidence base in their application.
If we don't, we're violating our ethics, so another reason.
The model we're gonna use, and it's also the model that's in that book you have in front of you, this is a model or a protocol, if you will, that we follow when we're working in a supervisory capacity or a consultative capacity.
We'll come back to each of these steps, but this allows us if we stick with this model, and it will seem overly simplistic in many ways, but it allows us to be systematic and consistent in how we approach things, okay?
And it starts with specifying consumer outcome, and that's usually the easy part.
In this case, in our situations, the consumer outcome pertains to student behavior.
Students in this case with autism have primarily learning or functional skills, overcoming challenging behavior.
That's the consumer outcome.
The students are the first level of consumers.
That's what we wanna impact.
If we don't do that, we're wasting somebody's money, we're not getting the job done, that's the bottom line.
The next part of the model is we specify staff performance that is necessary for consumers to attain their outcomes.
So that may be that, in our terminology it's probably a little bit different, but that may be the teacher assistants have to carry out discrete trial training proficiently, or to do planned ignoring proficiently.
They carry out certain procedures that are necessary for students to attain the designated outcomes.
So in the most part, how many of you all actually write formal intervention plans that are formally written that folks carry out, whether for challenging behavior or for teaching purposes?
So in essence, specifying staff performance would be what's in those plans, okay?
They're doing what you write, and we're assuming that what you write is good.
It's technically sound evidence-based, okay?
Of course, you know that there's all the soft stuff, too, that involves other things they've gotta do besides what's in that plan, and that's important as well, but we start with the plan.
That's what they need to do, carry out the plan.
Then, of course, we have to train folks how to do what's in the plan, unless you've been working with them for a long time and you have direct observational data that they already have that skill, which reduces your training requirement.
Then We have to monitor it, okay?
Y'all know that.
Then based on monitoring, folks who are doing a good job, we have find a way to support that.
Behaviorally speaking, we gotta reinforce it, because we want that to keep going.
It's also important because those folks who are doing a good job carrying out your plans, those are the ones you wanna keep in the system.
You wanna keep those folks around 'cause they're doing a good job, so we can help support what they're doing, but it's not a perfect world, and sometimes folks are not doing this necessarily to get this, and we have to work with folks to improve non-proficient performance.
So this is the basic model that we try to adhere to when we do things right.
But we don't always do things right.
And so as we go through the day and we talk about key points and premises and examples, all of them stem back to this model.
We're trying to do one of these steps to have success, whether as a supervisor and, quite frankly, the book you have in front of you, that's focused primarily on the perspective of a supervisor not a consultant.
The model is the same.
The application is a little bit different because you don't have control of the contingencies on staff performance like a supervisor would.
I'll just go through some basic premises and prerequisites that we have found helpful, some of this based on research, more so on our experience, to be successful as a consultant.
We were talking during the activity, in our role in my company, when we consult a school system, we don't consult with nearly as many different schools as a lot of y'all said.
Our problem is that we're in a small town and we're in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, and we might have a school we're working with, though we're not working with that many school systems, but they may be four hours apart.
So that's part of our problem.
But anyway, first premises and prerequisites.
As a consultant to consumer groups of equal importance, almost, one is the student, right?
'Cause that that's the bottom line, we're there to help the students learn, develop their maximum potential, overcome problem behavior.
The second consumer group is the staff that work with the consultants.
If you go back to our basic supervisory or consultative model, the second step is what staff performance has to occur for students to obtain their outcome.
What I mean by this is we wanna avoid the situation that I'll bet some of you have been in, that you've got a very good intervention set up to overcome a problem behavior, but you think, "If the teacher would just carry it out, she won't carry it out," and often we start to look at those folks who won't carry out our procedures as the problem, that's the obstacle.
Uh-uh, they're our consumers, too.
It's our job to get them to change their behavior, quite bluntly, so the students receive the services.
We wanna void that kinda concept.
Now, it's easier said than done, granted, but early in applied behavior analysis or ABA back when the field really got going in the '60s, late '60s and early '70s, there was a common cliche, and that was, there are no bad students, there's just bad teachers.
The essence of that cliche was that the students weren't learning because the teachers were not teaching effectively.
Well, we need to take that concept a step farther.
There are no bad teachers, there's just bad consultants.
(audience laughing) If we take that role, and granted it's easier said than done, okay, but then we start to see the problems we have working through staff as not a problem, but our job.
That's what we got to do.
As a consultant, that's your job.
That's as a primary consumer group is to be able to change their behavior or to maintain their behavior, if you get down to the very brass tacks, right?
The fourth basic premise or prerequisite, if you will, is what we call participative consultation.
And this is probably just a little bit of jargon for something you already know, but that is as much as possible or functional involving the staff whom we're working with in the decision-making process about what we do, okay?
And many of y'all know, like for example, we go in and we need to do an assessment because someone's starting to show some serious problem behavior, or they're not making progress on a teaching plan where they previously had made progress.
When we go in and start to do assessment, the more we can involve those folks working directly with the student in doing that, solicit their opinion from the get-go, that's usually quite helpful, and the same in designing interventions.
So it's not just us telling people what to do, getting their input, and often sticking with your evidence-based technology for interventions, having to shape that input.
Or sometimes what we will do, I might say if I was interacting with Carolyn and she was teaching a classroom and I wanted to ask her, "What's your take on my Shelley's getting worse?" We'll just go through and we'll keep talking until I can find something that fits with our observation and try to reinforce that.
I'm not sure that's the nice way to do it, but still trying to get involvement.
I've got another slide that talks about the evidence-based characteristics of participative management or participative consultation, and what that means is there hasn't been that much research in the human services, participative supervision or consultation, but there has been a lot in business and industry.
And the results of that research are kinda interesting.
The reviews have indicated when you involve staff say in the decision-making process that affects their daily performance, does that improve their performance?
The research suggests no.
What it does do though is it increases their acceptance of the work environment or working with that person, which you would suspect then would impact that performance down the road.
In other words, if you involve staff in determining, okay, what the intervention is gonna be, and then you start with that intervention, you would think that since they had input into it, the more likely to carry it out.
There hasn't been research to show that yet, but that seems to work for us, okay?
So that's something we try to do.
But what we do know and with the research, if you take that approach, your presence is usually more acceptable to them than if you don't take that approach.
And that can be particularly helpful from a behavior analytic point of view as a setting event or an establishing operation, if you will.
It's trying to establish, frankly, your attention as a reinforcer for their work performance.
So when you get into dealing with them after you've trained them and have to impact their performance, your opinion, your attention will be more valued if you take a participative approach from the get-go.
Does that make sense?
(audience affirming) - That's just something we try to build in.
Like many of the things I'll talk about, the downside of that is it takes more time.
It makes the consultative process more time consuming, which is something y'all don't wanna hear.
This gets back to something that was brought up at this table.
The importance of the involvement of the education supervisor, and I say education supervisor because where we work, depending on if it's a private center, public school, so the supervisors will have different titles, and I don't know what the titles are here.
Usually for us, it's a school principal- - [Woman] For us, yes.
- or assistant principal.
The more you can involve them to some degree, generally the better things go, for initial support, so they know what you're gonna be all about, and then for continuing to support when you implement interventions.
In the best of worlds, you never start an intervention, and we don't do this, so I just said the best in the world, we don't get it done every time, but in the best of worlds, you would never implement an intervention in a teacher's classroom that basically the principal didn't know what you were gonna do beforehand, because you wanna set it up so you can get that principal's support if there are problems down the road.
We don't always do that 'cause it takes too much time and we've got a lot of principals who don't wanna take the time to know that.
But if you could, at least they should have some general awareness, because at some point in time, and many of y'all have already faced this, it's gonna get back that something isn't always taught.
You're gonna have folks who just aren't cutting it and students aren't getting the services they need, and something needs to be done.
If that supervisor or principal is aware of what you've been trying and how things are going or not going, it's a lot easier to get their support to do something than if you hit them without any background.
- [Woman] Do you still find that true even when you're talking about a really big high school where the administrator really has very little contact with us?
- Good question, very good.
If it's a really big school, now we don't even try to make them aware of what we're doing with individual students, but we do try to make sure they see us every time we're there.
We have some face-to-face contact.
We want them to, and this is just based on our experience, we want them to see us as more part of their team and less of just an outside person coming in to tell them where they screwed up.
Okay, for behavior analysts, just we have to be aware of and maintain our ethics of our discipline.
This is particularly important when it comes to when things go south, when there are problems, because if you've set up a plan in the classroom and the plan is not working, but you, based on your direct observations, it's because they really don't have their resources.
We're concerned about our resources as consultants, but they don't have the resources to do it right.
We can't just leave that ethically.
That has to be reported to the powers to be, and that's not always a fun thing to do.
But like in my business, we're private.
We have learned over the long run, when we go in and do an initial assessment, if we don't think they're gonna be able to carry out our interventions, in the long run from my company, it's best to tell them, "We can't help you and these are the reasons why." I'm sure you all can do that, (audience laughing) but you have to have to at least lay out what those real obstacles are, and from the ethical perspective, make sure everybody knows about it.
And it may be that you can make that point, and everybody says, "We're just gonna have to do the best we can." All right, we'll go with that, but you've made your point.
The likelihood of being real effective is low because the resources just aren't there.
That's an ethical requirement.
It's a lot easier to ignore it, (chuckling) but that would be unethical.
All right, let's move on to, it's mentioned developing ABA interventions and writing plans.
But it's with any intervention, if you have a written plan, whether it's discrete trial teaching, dealing with a behavior support plan to deal with a problem behavior, communication plan, whatever, some general guidelines we've found helpful.
One, many of y'all have heard of this, the KISS principle, keep it simple, silly.
There are cruder ways to say that, the KISS principle.
We're just gonna say keep it simple, silly.
That means we want our plans to be as simple as possible to carry out, all right?
And that gets into the second point, 'cause we wanna make the job of staff as easy and efficient as possible, because, come on, it's a principle of learning, it's human nature, we all tend to do things that are easier more than we do things that are harder.
And so we need to keep that in mind when we write our plans and a lot of us will have a tendency to wanna make that plan look like an intervention in the "Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis." (audience laughing) Most practitioners could care less about "JABA" they could care less about those intervention procedures.
And quite frankly, those of you who have research backgrounds or applied behavior analysis, it's not meant for practitioners.
It's meant for behavior analysis researchers.
We can take information from there, but usually we have to make it more simple to carry out.
And we talk about making the job of staff as easy and as efficient as possible, that includes both interventions, and that also means not just the ease of carrying them out, but sometimes the pleasantness or unpleasantness of carrying them out.
For example, let's say we have a student who reacts violently when we started zeroing in on math.
And if you work with students with autism, you know some of them, math is not their favorite time of the day.
And let's say, all right, so we know that this problem behavior during math serves to allow the student to escape or avoid having to do that math work, okay?
Now from behavioral perspectives, there's several ways we can approach that.
One way would be escape extinction.
We are not gonna let him get out of this math assignment, and sometimes we have to do that.
Well, what usually happens when you run an extinction program?
The behavior gets worse before it gets better, right?
You get your extinction first.
So you're setting up for this teacher, all right, let's say, your name is?
Okay, let's say you're gonna work with Carolyn, and she gets really upset when you start math, all right?
And she'll start ripping the pages, she might start pulling your hair, she might start spitting at you, but you're not gonna back off.
We're gonna teach her that escape behavior is not extinction.
That's not gonna work for her.
That is a very unpleasant, (audience laughing) difficult, intervention to run.
- It will be, yes.
(audience laughing) It can work, and sometimes we have no choice but to run the escape extinction program.
Alternatively, well, what is it about that math work that Carolyn really dislikes?
Can we find a way to make it less unpleasant?
Some people will call it more of a positive behavior support intervention than ABA.
It's not, it's an ABA intervention, it's positive.
We might look at preference-based teaching.
What can we do to make that math work less unpleasant?
Then there's no reason for Carolyn to have to act out to avoid it.
The latter approach is more likely to be carried out by most practitioners than the former approach.
Now, (chuckling) you've probably found some of these folks.
Some people like to just be mean and down and dirty.
(audience laughing) He's not gonna do that in my classroom, and boom! But generally speaking, I remember consulting with in the classroom back in the mountains of North Carolina, and there was one little student with autism and his way of both getting attention in certain situations and getting out was spitting.
Well, this little fellow had a home-based ABA program where consultants were working with the family and the child at home, right, and the program they had for spitting there was just to ignore it.
And there's a first-year teacher in a special education class, and she was wonderful, she ignored it.
Her blouse was soaked after a session.
That, to me, that's almost unethical for a consultant or programmer to put somebody through that.
Our technology is broad enough, we can find a nicer way for folks to try to overcome problem behavior and we need to try to do that.
So the point is, try and make the job of staff as easy and efficient as possible with interventions and with data collection.
And if you've ever worked in a classroom or you've been the frontline person, it takes a while before data becomes your friend, as opposed to just another pain in the backside.
And so we wanna make data collection, which we have to have, especially for your itinerant folks where you're all consultants, so you can't get enough data when you're there, you gotta have people collecting data, and we have to have it, but we should still look for ways to make that as easy for staff to do as possible.
And there's couple of things that we do that I'm sure some of our colleagues in behavior analysis will have a very difficult time with, but for problem behavior, for example, we'll try and go with interval systems in terms of did it occur during this interval or not, as opposed to frequency counts.
Unless it's a very discreet, low-frequency behavior like running out of the classroom or something, but generally partial interval recording is easier to do.
In other words, you just record that Carolyn tried to bite Barb at all during that interval.
That's all you gotta record.
And of course, if you've been at a while, record if she didn't during that interval, too, because otherwise you get folks who just don't record and you got a blank sheet, and ah, the problem's gone.
(audience laughing) A partial interval is generally easier.
You can't do it for all behaviors.
What we also do is we'll set that up and when working with the teacher say, "Okay, we need these data to evaluate how well things are going, whether we need to tweak our program or whatever." And this is the one that I don't have any evidence to share this with, except it works for us.
We'll tell the teacher, "Okay, look, it needs to be accurate, or at least as accurate as you can make it to reflect how behavior changes.
So on a given day, if your day starts out bad and just goes south, so much going on, you got a tour group coming in, or another student gets upset and you get that ripple effect, and you don't think you can get the data recorded accurately, that's our blow off rule, just blow it off for that day.
We'd rather have accurate data three days a week than inaccurate data five days a week.
So if you don't think you can get the data recorded accurately, don't take it for that day.
We found a lot of people appreciate that.
We still need enough data.
Generally, if we can get data three days a week, that's usually sufficient for problem behavior.
There are exceptions, and if it's a severe self-injurious behavior and so forth or health threatening behavior, that's different.
But for most behaviors, we don't have to have data every day.
We'd like it, but if we can make it easier for folks.
With teaching programs, depending on how good your classrooms are, if they're doing real good ABA teaching and students are mastering goals every day, that's one thing.
That's not typical in a lot of classroom, we wish it was.
But for data on teaching programs, we don't necessarily require that teachers take data every time they run a program.
Depending on the expected rate of progress, we can just take it periodically during the week and learn just as much about rate of progress as if we took it every time.
That depends on the anticipated rate of progress.
If you expect that they should learn this in three days or two days, yeah, we have to take data every time we do it.
But if it's gonna take a few weeks, then we only need data a few times each week to evaluate progress, and we've found people like that, and we get just as accurate data.
And there is research on that to support that.
The point is, again, trying to make the job of staff as easy as possible and generally as pleasant as possible to carry out your interventions.
You're more likely to be successful.
Now, the problem with that, and my group has been accused of this, where they said, "Well," 'cause we've gone in sometimes where other behavior analysis' interventions have not been effective, and we've been accused of dumbing down the interventions by using the KISS principle and that kinda thing.
That doesn't bother us a whole lot (audience laughing) as long as we're effective.
It makes no sense to have so much stuff in a program that there's no way people can carry it out.
The bottom line is, does it work, and work in a way that's acceptable to everybody involved, the student, the teachers, the parents?
So the least we can do, frankly, to see a change in student behavior, that's the approach we go to.
We'll come back to that one.
Use technical language judiciously.
It's hard for me to say.
I don't know how behaviorally skilled or knowledgeable the folks you worked with are, but one of the characteristics of applied behavior analysis is we talk differently.
We talk in terms of contingencies, in stimulus control, in escape extinction, in establishing operations, and negative reinforcement.
That's not how most people talk, and that's not how educators talk, or even special educators, for the most part.
We have to be able to describe our principles and our procedures in language that people regularly talk in while maintaining the principles.
So we have to have the evidence base behind our procedures, but we need to be able to describe them in the ways that everybody talks.
So for example, we do a lot of work in adult services as well around South Carolina in a lot of rural areas, and just like in classrooms, we have to look at particularly with problem behavior, is it being positively reinforced or is it being negatively reinforced?
You use those two terms with people who don't have a behavioral background, and whoosh, it's like someone talking to me about electrical engineering, whoosh.
So we have to find a way to present that because the principles are important to be aware of.
So positive reinforcement, somebody does something, they get something they like.
Negative reinforcement, somebody does something, it gets them out of something they don't like.
So we try to take the strategies, the principles, but present it in everyday terms.
There are exceptions.
You may be working with some teachers or other staff who are more behaviorally astute than you are.
That's fine, and then we can use our language and talk about our contingencies and so forth.
Anyway, that's that.
So the problem comes up when we try to keep our intervention plans as simple as possible and as readable as possible, and we'll come back to this one, the only problems we have, and I don't know if y'all have this, but we have various types of regulatory systems and evaluative reviews that folks will be looking at our programs over time to assess their quality, to see if we meet your criteria for funding resources and so forth.
So what that means for us, y'all gonna love this one, we usually have to write two intervention plans.
One that we give to people to carry out, one that we put in the file for all our regulatory purposes and professional review purposes.
I wish I had a better way to do that.
But what we give to staff is basically, this is what you need to do, so you can act quickly and know what to do in a certain circumstance.
We don't put in there the background assessment, the rationale, and the references to research from which we drew these procedures, the background on the student.
In states, a lot of, if you look at psych reports and I'm a psychologist, in behavior plans, you gonna see the background on the student.
We're writing all those consultants, (woman sneezes) bless you, the teacher knows that background a lot better than you do anyhow, and you're putting this plan she has to read.
Anyway, we might have to do that, but that's not the plan we give to people.
The plan we give to people, this is what you do.
Hopefully, if we'd taken the participative route before, once you give it to them, they have a pretty good idea of what the plan's gonna be, because they're able to participate in it.
But that's extra work on the part of the consultant.
But if you're giving something to people to read that they're expected to carry out and it has more information than just what they need to do, the likelihood it's gonna be read and attended to decreases.
Okay, let's switch now a little bit to training staff to carry out our interventions.
Once we do our assessment, how do we make sure staff have the skills to do what they need to do?
We have a very powerful technology for training job skills to staff, behavioral skills training, a lot of research to back it up.
It can be very effective.
We use it routinely.
As you'll see when we get into it, there are some issues with this approach to staff training that we need to do a better job of resolving.
But that's what we're gonna talk about.
This is when we have a plan or even, I don't know if when y'all consult, you have formal plans that you write or if you just have guidelines at times, too, and my guess is, whether you're supposed to or not, there are times when you just give your opinion on what folks need to do.
But if we wanna make sure they know how to do certain things with students, we use behavioral skills training.
I'll go through these.
I think you all know these.
I know many of you have worked with this.
When we do it right, and we don't always do it right, but when we do, the way we train is at first we explain why we're training them in the skillset we're training, which in many cases is gonna be an intervention plan.
If we've done our job right, they already know the rationale.
They've been involved from the get-go when we first started coming in classrooms to do the assessment of why someone's engaging in this problem behavior.
But either way, we make sure we first let folks know why we're gonna train them in a particular plan or a particular skillset.
Then we describe what we want them to do.
We walk them through it verbally, this is what we do, and like what I just did, hopefully a little slower.
Then we provide a written summary.
Who gets the written summary of what to do?
Everybody who's expected to carry out the plan.
So the teacher, the teacher assistant, any other consultant who may actually interact with the student and need to address the target behavior.
This is another reason it puts a burden on consultants.
When we write the plans, we have one for the file and a to-do sheet that we give to whoever carries it out.
And common practice in the States is we have a plan, we meet and we talk about it, then the plan gets filed in a drawer somewhere.
That's not sufficient.
We can file the plan, but each staff person who's being trained should have their summary of what to do, so that people forget what's a low frequency behavior, and they do forget over time, they have that sheet thing go back to.
Now, in all honesty, there are gonna be some folks who's practicing this that they're gonna lose or throw away that sheet as soon as you leave.
That will happen.
But there will be some folks who are motivated and they wanna do it.
Having a sheet that lists what they do will help.
Now, some people criticize us for that and say, "You're just giving them a cheat sheet." Well, we're giving them a to-do sheet.
This is how to do it, to look at, just like we like to have that, right?
Then we demonstrate, okay?
We show how to do what we want them to do, a key part of how we all learn.
Most of us learn better by seeing, and as you'll see in a minute, then doing, than we do by listening.
So we have to demonstrate what we want people to do.
Often, it's in a role play.
We do a lotta role play in our training, to protect student confidentiality, and because as a consultant, and many times we go in, we don't have the rapport with a particular student.
And you don't wanna do anything with a student that involves close physical proximity or certainly hands-on like physical guidance or prompting, if you haven't had an opportunity to get to know a student and develop a rapport, vice versa.
Because if you do, 'cause you wanna show, I wanna Carolyn how to intervene with Barb, and so I go intervene with Barb, but Barb doesn't know me, there's a good likelihood I'm gonna make things worse, but then I won't be able to get out of it.
And as soon as I leave the classroom staff are just gonna be laughing their heads off.
"See, see how he does our job." (audience laughing) So often when we do our training, it's not with a student.
In really, really particular cases or tough cases, like I say extreme self injury, then we will be involved with a student.
But that takes a lot longer because we have to work with the student and get rapport first before doing things.
Does that makes sense?
Generally your best bet, we want to get out there and do stuff with students so we can show the staff that we know what we're talking about and we can do it, and they can see some success.
But if you're not there a lot, that's not a good idea, because if you haven't developed a rapport and your attention is not reinforcing for the student, you're likely to just dig yourself a deep hole.
Anyway, we have to demonstrate how to do it.
This also requires that whoever's training staff knows how to do what their training staff to do.
You would think that's a given, right?
You stay in this field long enough, you're probably gonna be in the position where someone's expecting you to train somebody else to do something that you're not sure how to do.
Our professional advice is when you're in that situation, find a way to weasel out of it, (audience laughing) because, come on, we can all tell when someone's talking to us or training us in something they don't really understand.
You can't train somebody to do something if you don't know how to do it.
Now, knowing how to do it yourself doesn't mean you necessarily can train somebody well how to do it.
They're two separate but related skillsets.
But the point here is we can't just tell people how to do it and give it in writing, we need to show them how to do it.
And to be able to show them how to do it, we have to know how to do it.
So sometimes before we do training, Carolyn and I will do the role-play ourselves, or Marsha and I, or whomever, Carolyn and Marsha, but we'll get beforehand and discuss, "Okay, you're gonna do this, I'm gonna do this, and this is how we're gonna demonstrate." Good training takes preparation, 'cause your role play need to be very accurately done so you make the key points.
But the bottom line is we have to show how to do it.
Then the next step, once we've shown folks, they have practice.
This is a step we often skip, we as a field, 'cause a lotta people don't wanna do it for one thing.
It seems condescending for folks, for another thing.
Y'all are gonna experience this in a little bit.
But when we're training say the classroom staff, teacher and assistant or teacher and two assistants, we go through these steps, we talk about it, we give it in writing, we show them.
And we say, "Okay, you show me.
Assume that I'm Johnny, you carry it out, or you play the role of Johnny and you be the intervener, let's watch, okay?" And we get feedback on that and we keep doing that until we see folks do that proficiently.
That's the performance-based part of behavioral skills training.
Behavioral skills training is in part old wine in a new bottle.
It's really performance and competency-based training, which started many years ago, a lotta research to back it up.
The performance base means that you as a trainer have to perform the skills you want them to learn and the trainees have to perform the skills that you're training them before the training's over.
The competency part means you keep doing that until you see them do it proficiently.
And I know some of you you're thinking, "Well, I agree, that makes sense, but that takes a lotta time." It does; we're gonna get into some ways to cut down on the time.
They're not perfect, but they can help, in a little bit.
But evidence-based training usually involves these steps.
Are we all together on that one?
- [Woman] No, I'm totally with you, but my question is, you're saying you don't have the child present.
- Often, not always.
- In most of our cases, the child has to be present because nobody else is there to take care of them at the time.
So do you have any suggestions on how we can do this with the child?
- Well, yeah, and we run into that, too.
We'll do it however we can.
So it might be that we'll do the training one step at a time.
Here's the whole classrooms, we'll just step aside right here.
We're training and then we're watching.
We'll just do it right on the job.
We prefer not to do it that way, but we will if we have to.
The same steps can be done.
We might get interrupted, 'cause halfway through they gotta go over and do something, but we'll just do it right there in the classroom.
- [Woman] It works great when you do have your supervisor or the principal who's involved in your plan because then they can kind of backfill if you should need those moments on the side.
- Very good point, and to build on that, I'm glad you mentioned that, if you can, and realistically it probably won't happen real frequently, get the supervisor involved in a training session.
Like get with the supervisor, say you've got pretty good rapport with the principal, and you're gonna go say, "We're gonna train classroom A on Gerard's behavior plan.
Could you take about 10 minutes and help me do that?" And go through with the principal.
If the principal participates in the training with you, it increases the likelihood folks will do it, because that's their boss.
It also ensures the supervisor or the principal knows what you want that staff to do, and they're present more than you are.
And if they're a really good principal, they're out and about and they're visible a lot, and they can help your job in making sure they carry it out.
(chuckling) Just to reference a recent study one of our colleagues and I did, Marsha Parsons and Gina Rollyson, there's a lot of literature out there on behavioral skills training.
This particular article was developed just for practitioners with some of the do's and don'ts and general guidelines for behavior skills training, if people are interested.
I mentioned before, we have a very, very powerful technology for training job skills, performance skills to staff.
Those steps of behavioral skills training have been shown over and over before.
The problem is in many human services agencies, that's just not we trained very often.
So, it's effective.
It's also usually acceptable.
I mean, usually when people go through it, they rate it as favorable training.
Part of that is because most people prefer to be shown how to do something than just told how to do something.
So by the time you demonstrate, people usually like that.
Now the practice part, initially there may be reluctance.
Some of you may not want to have to practice how to train someone to give a manual sign.
So there is sometimes some reluctance, but if you can work through that and people do it, usually they feel pretty good when it's done, because when you're training a skill and someone has to practice it and they do it and they get it right, then they know they've got it, assuming they're interested in giving it, which isn't always the case.
So it's usually well received.
The problem with it is this one, the efficiency.
It does take time to follow all the steps of behavior skills training with everybody who's expected to carry out particular intervention with a student, okay?
So I wanna spend a little bit of time on talking about some research that's looked at ways of making behavioral skills training more efficient.
One that we've been involved in, we've been using this approach for many years, they finally got around to researching it more.
There's early research in the '70s, '80s, and '90s on pyramidal training.
Usually, pyramidal training is where you might get a small group of supervisors or a small group of teachers who you train how to do an intervention, then they're to train other people in the school how to do it.
Typically, if you look at the research on pyramidal training, it's like you take one strategy such as planned ignoring, and you train a small number of people on how to do planned ignoring in certain situations.
Then they train a bunch of other people how to do planned ignoring.
We recommend that you consider, if it's relevant to your situation, training key folks how to do behavioral skills training, so training a generic staff training skill, and that's what this study was all about.
So that as teachers need to teach new skills to their teacher assistants, they had the skill of behavioral skills training.
(chuckling) It's kind of cumbersome to talk about, but basically we use the steps of behavioral skills training to train teachers how to do behavioral skills training.
So we had to use a number of different examples and so forth.
But we'd wanna do is by the time we were done, we could walk into the classroom and say, "Okay, Carolyn, show me how you're gonna train your two assistants to carry out Evelyn's new choice program." So she could then use those steps of behavioral skills training to train them.
Once you've got a few key people in the school for skilled behavior skills training, there are some advantages to that.
There are also some disadvantages.
Advantages, it reuses your time for staff training, 'cause you can train a small group of people, depending on how your school's set up.
In very large schools, you train a small group of people who then train other folks, so it can reduce the amount of training time you have to do.
It can also help in implementation, and there's good research to back most of these points up, in that say if you've got somebody in the school who you train in a new intervention procedure with a certain student, then that person trains other people in the school to carry it out, well, that person's around much more than you are as a consultant and they're in a better position to help carry out the implementation of it.
They're also more likely to help with supervising the implementation if they are involved in training staff to do it, because they've got some investment in it as opposed to you coming in and you do all the training of the staff.
So when you can set that up, that can help things down the road.
The disadvantage is that it's not for all supervisors from several perspectives.
Some people don't wanna be in the position of having to train staff.
Y'all may not either, but it's part of your job, so you got to.
Particularly if it's a peer training type of thing, so if you have say a small group of teachers who are gonna train other teachers, some people don't wanna be in the position of having to train their peers to do a certain thing.
So before training people how to do behavioral skills training, before initiating a pyramidal training approach, find out if folks are willing and interested in doing that.
The other thing to find out up front is if you're gonna have people help you with the training, do they have the time to do that?
Can they be relieved of their current time to train other people?
Because if not, you're gonna waste your time training them to train folks who they won't be able to do.
So you wanna find these things up front before you go out and start a pyramidal training process.
But if you can get it done, you got a nice resource there.
You got someone you can rely on in the school to train and help oversee other folks too.
Does that make sense?
A little cumbersome to train initially, but once you get it in place, it can be helpful.
Another way, and we've gotten into the use of video technology and video or visual media in our staff training supervision process kinda kicking and screaming, because when you get in your mid 60s, you don't like to learn new stuff.
You wanna stick with what's worked over the years.
But this can be a big help in a time efficiency perspective.
This particular study talks about one way we've done it, and this is where there were a number of staff, this was not in a school setting, this was in a center-based residential setting, but a number of staff were expected to carry out interventions for problem behavior, okay?
So everybody who interacts with someone has to know the support plan.
And this particular approach, still using behavioral skills training, but taking certain steps of behavior skills training and making a DVD or a video of that information.
In other words,, the rationale for the plan, what the steps are, how to complete the data sheet, that could all be put on video or DVD, so staff at their convenience within a certain period of time, could go look at that information, all right?
We didn't have to meet with staff to do that.
Then we just did the on-the-job part, which is always a component of training, that's the only part we had to do.
So they would look at the video to get the background information, the procedures, they could get a copy of the plan, and we just had to show up in the classroom, or in this case, in the residence, and then do the on-the-job part of training, whereas we watched them do it in vivo.
So it saved all that initial meeting time, they could look at the video as time permitted on their basis.
- [Woman] Did you ever use it for a student-specific video of the intervention you were trying to teach?
- Yes, oh, absolutely, yes.
- [Woman] And did that work as effectively as the more generic?
- Actually, I didn't explain that well.
What we did, it was for individual support training.
So each thing we trained was for a specific, right.
I think it could be done on more generic-base with certain skills.
Now, again, pros and cons, like most things.
The pros, it can reduce overall training time.
You have to, of course, consider the amount of time it's gonna take to make the DVD and the video or whatever.
People are gonna have to have access to something to watch it.
I don't know how readily available that is.
- [Woman] Just saying, most of our EAs have iPhones.
That'd be easy.
- Well, you know we're teaching those skills to students with autism, so we, as staff can use them too.
The technology is making it more readily available to do this, okay?
And so I think it's something that warrants a lot more exploring.
The main problem with using visual media of some type is it's shown to be inconsistently effective.
There's some studies that have shown you can train everything by watching videos.
Other studies, uh-uh.
And so we don't know what the relevant parameters are when it's effective and when it's not.
What we suspect is it's that performance aspect of performance and competency-based training that you can't get in a video real well.
You could get, in visual technology, you could get demonstrations.
I'm sure y'all have looked at various training modules that have demonstrations, you can get that part of it.
What you can't get in with most DVDs is you can't get the performance practice.
You can't see staff do what you want them to do that you're training, so that still has to be done.
What we found, we could have them watch a video initially to get the rationale, to read the plan, to see how to carry out, fill out the data sheets, and we could just go out and do, if we needed to do the demonstration and the practice on the job.
So we still, it saved us time.
That's something to consider, and maybe down the road, a number of programs or some that I'm aware of have gone to using a lot more technology for their training and feedback consultative purposes, like Adversary who has programs in Florida and Delaware, different parts of the States.
They have a number of their sites where they've got 24-hour video monitor and they can tap in and do live consultation, which saves travel time or a lot of travel time, and you can still have live realtime interaction.
It's just not face-to-face.
- [Woman] Have you actually ever videotaped the performance piece and then had them launch it and then unpack what they're doing and to see if they feel it's effective?
Because that's a step that I use that has really made (indistinct) - It can be effective.
It's just like video modeling can be a very effective way to teach folks with autism.
It can work with us, too, but we still need the performance practice part.
But yeah, that can be done.
So if you have a quick way, and there are a lot more quick ways now than there used to be, to film or get a demonstration on there, it's something if I had y'all's job responsibility, I would seriously think about where that could be done.
Some of the other concerns with that, well, it's most effective when you've got a large number of staff or staff in different locations.
If you just have one teacher or one teacher assistant to train, I'm not sure if it'd be worth the time to develop a DVD or a video for that purpose.
But I mentioned where some programs now have continuous video monitoring in the classrooms.
It is not always well-received.
And a lot of caution has to go into how that's done if it is gonna be well-received, because historically, we usually put videos in places where there are problems.
And even if it's not intended, it ends up getting used by supervisors to catch people being bad and get on their case.
That's not gonna work very well.
And think about it, if your performance, like mine is today, is being videotaped when you do your job, and if someone comes in and criticizes your work performance, particularly your boss, based on that video tape, that's not gonna pair you with that videotape in a very pleasant circumstance.
And you'd be surprised how often the equipment fails after an incident like that.
(audience laughing) There are a lot of considerations.
However, if you were thinking about down the road that if you could get some type of visual connection with different sites and set that up, and more and more programs are going to that slowly, that could save a ton of time for real-time consultation and just seeing how students do it, right?
But our suggestion would be, if you're thinking about going to that, take the time upfront to sit down with people whose schools, whose classrooms, whose performance are gonna be monitored and get them involved from the start to avoid some of the sabotage and the unpleasantness that can go with being monitored around the clock, 'cause it takes a lot of work upfront to make it go in a pleasant way.
Okay, I wanna kinda put on a different hat now and talk about, we talked about plans a little bit, we talked about training a little bit, now we wanna get into, let's say you've got the training done, all right?
Things are supposed to go well.
What do we do from there to make sure things go well?
So we're gonna switch into now our consulting after we've done the training, so to speak.
And what we want, and you may agree or disagree with some of these, we want, of course, our consulting strategies to be effective.
Effective means that staff are carrying out the plans that we write and procedures we recommend, and we're seeing student behavior change in the direction we want.
We go back to our model of supervision, students are obtaining their outcomes, staff are doing what's necessary for them to obtain their outcomes.
That's what it means to be effective.
We also want our consultative model to be efficient, and that's gonna be a problem here (chuckling) if you've got classrooms or schools spread over a large geographic area.
We also want our consultative model, and this is the part that you could disagree on, we want it to be acceptable.
Acceptable to whom?
Everybody who's a recipient, because generally things go better if it's acceptable.
We've done our training and some workshops and so forth, particularly with some pretty skilled behavior analysts.
We've had folks say, "Why do we really care if people like what we do as long as they do what we want them to do?" (all laughing) How many times you've been divorced?
(audience laughing) That's kind of a bottom line behavioral view in many respects that we've had in our history.
And we found that's not very successful in the long run, in our experience.
We want folks to do what we want them to do, but in ways that they find acceptable.
And there's several reasons for that.
Still going back to the reasons being effective consultants.
So specific ones can enhance the effectiveness of your feedback down the road.
What we mean by that is on a general basis, the more acceptable you are to staff, it's kind of like an establishing operation from the behavioral perspective.
You want to do things that establishes your attention as a reinforcement for staff.
When I say staff, the people with whom you're consulting.
If they feel good about their work when you praise things they're doing well, and that actually functions to reinforce some of their work behavior, that's a good position to be in as a consultant.
But don't expect for reasons we'll get into in a minute that to happen overnight.
But the more acceptable, basically pleasant, you can make what you do with the folks you're consulting with help establish your feedback as a reinforcer.
Reduces escape and avoidance of staff.
(audience laughing) It certainly happens with other people, not us, but one time I was working in an agency, there were a number group homes, and we would do monitoring to see how well our homes were engaging folks with pretty significant intellectual disabilities in meaningful activities.
And I was in upper management and I would go out like a good manager should do, and I would observe.
I'd go into one home and I'd observe, then I'd go to the home next door, there wouldn't be anybody home.
First home will call the second home and say, "Denny's coming over," and they'd get outta Dodge.
That's where I got to.
(audience laughing) It was that unpleasant for them for me to come in and observe what they were doing.
And we'll come back to this observation.
And some of y'all have run into this, in escape and avoidance behavior on the part of folks you're consulting with, you go in and you need to do something, now's not a good time or we need to do such-and-such.
When that happens, it makes your job more difficult to be effective.
The more pleasant or acceptable what you do is, the less you'll see that escape and avoidance behavior.
People will make time because they'll start to see your time as valuable and they'll want your time and they'll work around those escape and avoidance behaviors.
It can function as a positive setting event.
We've talked about that, help set the occasion for your feedback to be reinforcing.
It also makes the job of the consultant more enjoyable.
And why is that important?
On a personal basis, unless you're born very wealthy, what are you gonna do most of your adult life?
You're gonna work, right?
So we spend a lotta time as adults working.
It might as well be as enjoyable as possible.
It's just kind of a value we hold.
But think about it, it's kinda like for you strict behavior analysts, it's kind of like a counter control measure.
You make the job of the staff with whom your consulting more acceptable or enjoyable, that's gonna turn around and make your job more enjoyable, why?
Because you're not gonna see those escape and avoidance behaviors when you come in.
They're more pleasant to work with because they enjoy working with you.
Because they're more pleasant to work with, it makes your job more enjoyable, right?
So it's like trying to set the occasion for some self-control on your own performance.
I'll bet the ranch, especially with your caseload, there are some folks you'd rather go into their classroom than other folks.
(audience laughing) And if you're not careful, you will avoid certain classrooms and people more than others.
And there's good reasons for that, but from an ethical and professional perspective, we're responsible for everybody, even those folks we don't like to talk to.
So if we can do things that make it more acceptable for us to be in their site, they in turn generally will be more pleasant to us, if that makes sense.
So it sounds like we're getting into this touchy, feely area, it's hard for behavior analysts to do, but it's like we're just trying to make our job more reinforcing so that we do what needs to be done.
- Yes, ma'am.
- [Woman] But being mindful is the opposite side of that as well, that when you go to the building and you have a number of people who haven't seen you for a while lining up and want to see you, but because of the time, you feel like your effectiveness is actually dwindling away because of the numbers and the time that you could commit.
So often there have been times where I've walked into the building and word's gotten out that she's here, and then suddenly it's like, everyone's like, "We need to talk to you, we need to talk to you, we need to talk to you." And you're like, okay, my next meeting at another school, which is 40 minutes to drive to.
So you want to honor those people.
You wanna be mindful of their time.
And my thought that school was waiting for you to come.
So I know you don't have to answers to the question, but it's like being able to balance.
- Yeah, when difficult questions come up like that, I refer them to Dr. Green.
(audience laughing) - [Carolyn] It's a very slippery slope.
- Yeah, I know what you're saying and I don't have an answer for that.
Although if it's compared to where it could be, it's a good position to be in-- - Yes, it is.
- relative to some others.
Generally- - [Woman] But it's a slippery position, because if you're not validating them and you're not working with them, then eventually down the road, hopefully this will never happen, but eventually down the road, it's like, well, why bother?
She doesn't have time for us.
I worry about that getting to the point where we know, I hear people now say, "Well, we know what your calendar is really busy." So what are they saying when they say that?
- Well, hopefully, they're trying to be polite, but you're right, you're in essence putting their attention-seeking behavior towards you on extinction, and they're gonna quit coming to you.
- Yeah, I agree.
- I don't have an answer for that.
The way we approach it on a large scale, usually we have two priorities.
If we've got a large constituent base and we're trying to decide where we're gonna spend our time, because we can't do it right with everybody.
- [Woman] That's right, very slippery.
- If you're in that situation, and this is just a value judgment, we say, "All right, where are we most likely to be effective.
- Right, that's where I am.
- Do it there, or where are the most serious problems that are likely to cause harm?
Those two are the priority.
And with some of the others, sometimes we just give them face validity.
But that that's a value judgment, that's not a recommendation.
- No, I know.
- If you have that kind of a caseload, and we try to do this too, you look for someone in a school who can be a resource and do your work for you.
It's gotta be someone in an authoritative position, usually, and someone who's willing to take that on, but the more you can build with them that they're there and they can carry it out, those are the people we target.
And each school is different, because it may be that the assistant principal is much more knowledgeable and skilled than the principal.
As long as it's someone in an authoritative position, we go there.
(audience member muffled speaking) Yes, you're at your limit, you know.
(audience laughing) - [Woman] The eager beaver.
Do you have any strategies when you're dealing with staff that they are good staff, but when they are observed, they're more self-conscious, so you may not be able to see their true colors?
How do you make them more at ease in being observed?
- Well, that's another one that y'all won't like.
(chuckling) The more often they're observed, the more they'll get used to it.
That's the easiest way to deal with it.
It's more straight forward, not always the easiest way.
We do a lot of… We run into that a lot, because we do a lot of training people in positive behavior support, and part of the training classes they come to, we have to go out and watch them do certain skills, and we try to set it up, no, this is not test.
this is just part of our training.
Still, the best part of that whole process for them is when they see us leave after it's over.
(audience laughing) We know that.
We try to calm people down, be as pleasant and non-threatening.
I don't have a good answer.
(audience laughing) Anybody else?
- How about have them observe you?
So you observe them doing it and you give them checklist and tell them observe you doing it, and tell them to pick up the things you did in the fall.
(audience muffled speaking) Oh, it's okay to make mistakes.
So then if they made a mistake, they might not feel so self-conscious of it?
- Actually, that's a very good idea, and there is some research to back that up.
We'll get a little bit of this later, but at Princeton Child Development Institute, which is a center-based school for folks with autism, a very effective one, one of things we learned from them is when we're training staff prior to going out and monitoring, letting them know, if you make sure they know what you're gonna observe, if you're using a form that you familiarize them with that form, just like you were saying, but you take it a step further, let them use that form to observe you.
So it kind of shows that it's not just them, and plus when you come out to observe, then there's nothing mysterious about it.
They know what you're gonna observe.
They've actually used that form.
And so when we do it right, we actually train people to do that.
We don't train them in the proficiency on observing someone else's behavior, but we have them practice using that observation or monitoring form on us before we come out.
Glad you brought that up, thank you.
- [Woman] The other thing, too, that I know I did a lot in the beginning was that I would see things and I would wanna fix it all.
And so, you know, I'd give a lot of corrective feedback.
I realized if I switch that, give a lot of positive reinforcement and choose one thing per visit that I'd wanna change rather than the list, then you're giving more positive reinforcement than interactive feedback.
- Point well taken, very good.
And then finally, why would you wanna be concerned with acceptability of our procedures?
It's just a nice way to do business.
Okay, some of these we've already covered.
As a consultant, two primary consumer groups, we've covered that.
This one we didn't cover, and that is specifically that this is what we train our consultants, all right?
You're gonna think this is weird.
Assume you are an aversive stimulus, assume you are unwanted from the get-go.
And the reason for that is usually you are.
(audience laughing) After a while, like this lady was saying, and they know you've got some good stuff, that changes, but assume from the beginning that you're an aversive stimulus, for several reasons.
One, agencies in schools don't bring in consultants when everything is going really, really well, right?
Usually a consultant comes in because there are issues.
And I don't how your system is set up in terms of y'all's role, but from the perspective of someone having a classroom when a consultant's coming in, there are more reasons for that person not to want you to come in than there are for them to want you to come in.
Now, you would think that, okay, you have this knowledge and skill that they could use to help them do a better job in their classroom.
We'd like that to be the case.
Sometimes it is, usually it's not.
If they have student who is really, really engaging in problem behavior, it makes them more likely they would want you to come in because they really need help with this student.
But for the most part, consultants come in because someone perceived that there's a problem or that someone perceives, say I have a classroom and Carolyn's gonna be the consultant, then I think, "Well, somebody thinks that I don't know how to do my job, so they're bringing her in." If you accept from the fact that, except from the beginning, that you're likely to be an aversive stimulus for a host of reasons, then you've got that mindset going in, and that helps.
It's like a setting event.
So you know you're gonna have to work to be acceptable to that person.
In my consulting experience, I've been in classrooms and I've had people, teachers say to me, "So, Denny, how does one get to be a consultant anyhow?" And she's not saying that in a complimentary way.
(audience laughing) Think about it.
You're coming in offering advice.
Are you there every day dealing with this student that's driving you up a wall when you're writing this?
No, and so they're coming from a different perspective.
No less important, just as important as what we do and vice versa, but it's another- - More so.
(all laughing) - It's another reason if you can get that in your head that you're gonna have to work upstream for a while, then you're better able to deal with it, okay?
So that's what we suggest.
We've already talked about the other two base premises here in training.
To be effective as a consult, and again, some of this, you should know.
Basic strategy one, every time you go in that classroom or that setting, take some data.
It may be the same data you're expecting the classroom staff to take if it's a timing trial.
It may not be.
Say if they're taking data on an instructional plan and that's not being carried out while you're there, you can't get the same data that they're getting.
If it's on behavior problems, if the behavior's occurring, you can take the data just like they're taking.
But if it's not occurring, you can't.
But always take some data because once you zero in and take data on behavior, either of the students or the staff, it helps you get focused on what's going on.
If you can try to zero that in to what you expect to be going on based on what you've already trained, then you can get some data that helps you know whether folks are doing what they should be doing, okay?
It also helps, and I'm kinda going up and down this list here, later when you have to give feedback, you'll see that the more specific you can make your feedback, the more effective it can be.
And often you have to have data to do that.
So take some kind of data.
It'll get you focused and help evaluate if folks are doing what you want them to do or not.
And the last reason on there is to cover your backside.
And that's just things will come up, and some of y'all have probably experienced this.
I worked with a classroom, oh, maybe about an hour away, hour and half from where my office is, to do some training for folks to carry out certain behavioral procedures, and finished up.
We had good data that worked and things were going well.
Then by, oh, actually the next school year, towards the end of that school year, I got a call from the principal that there were some issues with one of the staff persons, and they got disciplinary action and the staff person actually was fired and was appealing that and was saying that she was never trained to do what she was supposed to do, so she couldn't be held accountable and be fired.
And we only did a small aspect there, but that came up.
And the fact that we had data that showed that this is what she could do after the training session in the classroom, we didn't get called in to that scenario, but we could have.
So we just recommend every time you go into the classroom, take some type of data, keep it on file.
You can go back to it for a number of beneficial purposes down the road, okay?
Evidence-based procedures, we've already talked about that.
We focus primarily on training formally using the steps of behavioral skills training.
Same thing occurs when we train informally, meaning we're just out there in the classroom and we see someone, we assume they're doing something wrong because of a lack of skills.
We can do that right on the job if it's not a real complex skill.
The third basic strategy is one which we think is one of the most critical skills for a consultant to have.
That's the ability to give behavior change feedback, behavior change to support and reinforce proficient performance, behavior change feedback to correct non-proficient performance.
And we're gonna go over a protocol that some of you may be familiar with on how to give feedback.
We didn't just pull this protocol out of the sky.
One of our colleagues, Marshall Parsons, and Carolyn and I have worked on this over the years.
We did a review of research a number of years ago on feedback and pulled out what seemed to be the effective components of feedback and the manner of giving feedback that seemed to be best received by staff recipients of the feedback based on research.
The result of that review is the following protocol.
What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna describe it briefly, then we'll demonstrate it.
And then I'm gonna describe each step in more detail in terms of why it's there.
You'll notice that like steps one and two in particular, one and seven, I'm sorry, are built in to try to make the feedback acceptable.
The other steps are primarily to impact behavior change.
And why do we need to be concerned with the acceptability of feedback?
Basically, most of us don't like to be told we've been wrong or we're doing something incorrect.
Even those that are fairly strong-willed and been around a while usually have trouble responding to negative or corrective feedback.
The steps you can read.
We try to start on a positive note.
Then we go right, bless you, go right into specifically letting folks know what they did well, then what they did not do well, if it was anything, then how to correct what they didn't do so well, and then prompt questions, make sure they understand, let them know what's gonna happen next in terms of when we're gonna give feedback, and then we try and wrap up on a positive note.
So it goes something like this.
Let's say Carolyn is working with a student, and this particular student really dislikes printing.
He's an elementary school student about seven years old, and he has some really subtle but effective ways to get out of his academic work.
In fact, we'll demonstrate what he does.
He's a neat kid, but he is very skillful.
Are you gonna be an a student?
- [Dennis] Okay, so I need to work with Carolyn on her printing.
So Carolyn, you got a pretty worksheet, and you know what you need to do.
So you need to start- - What do I need to print?
- [Dennis] We're gonna start with your name at the top of the form.
- [Carolyn] My name?
- [Dennis] C, that's good.
- [Carolyn] I don't feel so good.
(audience laughing) [Dennis] You don't?
- [Carolyn] I don't feel so good.
- [Dennis] Well, what's wrong, Carolyn?
- [Carolyn] Oh, I just think I have a headache.
- [Dennis] Well, I'm sorry to hear that.
- My finger hurts.
(audience laughing) - So, let's say we're gonna reverse this role.
Actually, what this fellow would do, exactly what Carolyn did, but then he would really get you if that didn't work.
He would look you in the eye, and he has pretty significant autism, but when he wanted to, he could get eye contact, and he'd say, "I'm sad." And almost everybody would say, "Well, why are you sad?" And then he'd say, "Barb doesn't like me." He'd pick somebody in the room, a staff person, and their natural reaction, "Well, of course, Barb likes you." And what's he doing?
He's getting out of what he doesn't wanna do.
He's escaping the printing.
So let's say for purposes of our feedback that Carolyn did what I just did, all right?
So she works with the student well, but she still, when he says something non-task related, her first response is to immediately respond to what he said, potentially negatively reinforcing his escape behavior, maybe also positively reinforcing his off-task talk.
So I wanna give her feedback on her performance there.
Now this feedback protocol is designed when you're giving formal feedback, meaning meeting with one, usually privately, but it's a formal feedback session, not just you happen to be walking through the classroom and you wanna comment informally on performance.
Carolyn, I watched your session with Elliot and it's going really well.
You got him to do a lot of work and a lot of good things going on.
- [Carolyn] He's tough, he's really kinda tough to teach.
- It can be difficult.
What you particularly did well was when you would instructed him to print his letter and he didn't, then you'd follow up with a more assistive prompt.
And eventually, he then would respond.
Very nice job of reinforcing or praising his completion, the different parts of the work task.
One of the things I noticed, however, sometimes he would bring up topics that didn't relate to his printing, like when he didn't feel so good, and you would respond to that, which is a kind of a natural thing to do.
But remember we talked about, he often does this in order to avoid having to do his work.
So in the future, when that comes up, try to refrain from responding or talking to him about things other than the printing.
If you're really concerned that he doesn't feel well or whatever, talk about that after he finishes, completed.
- [Carolyn] Okay, I'll try to remember.
- Okay, does that make sense, what we just talked about?
- [Carolyn] I think so.
- I know he's making a lot of progress and it can be challenging, so I'll probably come back there this week and watch again.
- [Carolyn] I'll be on vacation.
(audience laughing) - I'll be here when you get back.
(audience laughing) But the way you work with him, he's gonna learn this.
Good stuff overall.
(audience laughing) Working with the students is a piece of cake versus working with staff.
(audience laughing) - So, I don't know if you were following along, but I tried to hit every component feedback.
Specifically, try to start positive, and the reason for that, one, it just seems like a nice thing to do, but two, we wanna start the feedback session on a pleasant or upbeat note, if we can.
Another reason, sometimes, not always, but sometimes when you have to give formal feedback to somebody, they may be a little anxious about it.
And just by starting off pleasantly or empathetically can help reduce some of that anxiety.
And that, one, is a nice thing to do, to reduce their anxiety, but also if they are relatively anxious about getting formal feedback, being anxious and listening real well are somewhat incompatible.
So folks don't always hear what you say, and y'all probably have been in that situation.
We're so anxious about something, we're not attending at all to what somebody's saying.
Anyway, so we start with that step.
Then the second step is what we consider the most important part of giving feedback.
That's specifically letting someone know what he or she did well.
Of course, we're hoping that by specifying what the person did well, that this might reinforce continuation of that performance.
That's what we're hoping.
We don't know if our praise is reinforcing.
But the other thing it does, it can overcome a problem that my guess is a lot of y'all face.
Carolyn and I don't face this much anymore, but this is when you're consulting with or giving feedback to somebody who's much older than you or more experienced than you in a job.
That can be an awkward situation.
One way to help with that, if you can make your feedback very behavior specific, this goes back to one of the things we talked about this morning about always taking some data, if you have some data, that helps make your feedback more specific.
But the more specific you can make your feedback, it does several things.
First of all, it impresses upon the person that, hey, she was really watching, if you can be that specific.
Instead of saying, "Wow, you're a really good teacher," say, "Nice job using less to more assistive prompts.
Every prompt you give after the first one gives more assistance than the first." Or if you're using a time delay prompting procedure, they're using that, specify what they did well.
When it's very specific, they know you're attending.
The second thing it does, it impresses them that maybe even if you really are young or inexperienced, you know what you're talking about, 'cause you can't give really specific feedback, behavior specific feedback, unless you do know something.
That carries more weight than just saying something like, "You did a really nice job with Elliot today." That can be still useful and reinforcing in a more informal basis, but for formal feedback, make that very behavior specific when pointing out what somebody did well.
Sometimes one of the problems in giving positive feedback is people aren't used to getting positive feedback and they're not sure how to respond.
And so sometimes you give positive feedback and you don't get reinforced at all, and that's awkward.
The worst case for me is when I'll try to give positive feedback and the person doesn't even say anything, just looks at you.
(audience laughing) I'd rather have someone tell me to get outta Dodge.
But over time, if your feedback is very specific and accurate, people usually respond well to it, usually.
So that's the second step.
Third step, if somebody didn't do something so well, we need to point that out.
That's part of our job.
It's the part of behavior change part of the feedback.
And of course, it doesn't help anything to let people know that they screwed up, unless we can tell them what they need to do to improve it.
So that gets into the next step.
So we lay out specifically what the person needs to do to improve it.
Like in Carolyn's case, to wait to the end of the session before talking to Elliot about his being sad or not feeling well.
Then, this is kind of the participative part, we prompt questions from the person.
Does that make sense?
Any questions about what we went over?
The next step, now this one's a little weird.
This is put in there, letting people know what's gonna happen next.
That might be something like I'll say, "Yeah, I'll come back sometime next week and try to watch again." Or "You got this one, no need to see me anymore." We do that for a couple reasons.
One, the nice reason is we hope that people will work hard to get it right so they can get our positive feedback.
That's the kind of arrangement we want.
That's when people keep coming to you all the time.
It's a good sign, even though it may overwork you, but we want them want us to come back because they know we will positively recognize the good things they're doing.
Sometimes, however, people will work to improve their performance not for that reason, but they'll work to improve it to get you off track.
They will try hard 'cause they know when I get this right, Denny's gonna quit coming around so much.
That's not what we want, but we'll take it if that's all we can get.
Also, some people, if they've been in the job a long time, they've seen people like us a lot.
They've seen stuff come down the management hierarchy in the school system and they learn, just lie low and this too shall pass.
So they'll just try to fly below the radar and hope that we go away.
Just letting people know what's gonna happen next, "I'm gonna try and get back sometime later this month and watch it again," or "I will be back tomorrow at 9:30, Carolyn, when you get back from your vacation." (audience laughing) That kind of indicates to people that you're not gonna be able to blow this one off, you're not just gonna be able to lie low in this one.
He's coming back or she's coming back.
That's why we put that in there, okay?
Ending with a positive or empathetic statement, that's just trying to finish on an upbeat note, and there's always something that somebody did well.
And I've had people tell me, "He doesn't do anything right." Well, he's still breathing, that's good.
(audience laughing) As behavioral folks, we can do better than that.
Everybody does something well, okay?
And we actually train our consultants and supervisors to use this feedback protocol and we train them with behavioral skills training and that's a hoot.
It goes like this.
So I'm gonna train Carolyn as a new consultant how to give feedback to Barb who's a teacher, so she's gonna give feedback to Barb on Barb's teaching experience with a student.
So I'm in there watching Carolyn watch Barb's teaching.
I can watch her give feedback to Barb about her teaching and then I give feedback to Carolyn.
So it's kind of a hoot to do behavioral skills training with giving feedback, but we found that's what it took.
We had supervisors and consultants who are very skilled clinicians, but they had difficulty giving feedback.
They had difficulty observing someone's else performance accurately and then giving feedback.
Giving feedback is a performance skill and we need to target that specifically.
And when we first trained folks, as we're gonna do with y'all in a little bit, we'd have them have these steps on a card right in front of them, and so if they have to look at it and then talk and look at it and then talk, that's fine.
The only problem comes up is if they don't do what's on the card, and they just say, "Start with a positive statement." (audience laughing) This happened.
What that means is we didn't train them how to do it, if they didn't understand what's on there.
A couple of key points, just through experience, when giving feedback, it must be presented sincerely, and it also has to be presented in a way that comes across sincerely to the staff person.
And we can help with the second one, actually, 'cause giving feedback is a performance skill, and we get better at with practice, when we're fluent in doing it.
We don't know how to teach the first one.
We don't have a behavioral technology teaching someone how to be sincerely concerned about the welfare of students with autism or their support staff.
So, if you're in a consultant position, or any position for that matter, or you're working with someone who you're convince is not sincerely concerned about the welfare of the people you're working with, the only thing we recommend there is you gotta to find a way to get them outta the system.
We don't know how to teach sincerity.
That's a whole different ball game, but if you are sincerely concerned and you may be nervous giving feedback, again, to someone who's more experienced than you and older, or maybe a lot bigger, whatever, stick with it.
We use this protocol, have a set way to do it, it will come easier over time.
If you're dealing with staff who, for whatever reason, like Carolyn did, they're gonna try and get you off task, or they're gonna argue or be defensive, our first line of response is we listen and we go right back to the next step on the protocol.
Just try to stay on task and not get off of that.
So, any questions on the feedback protocol?
It takes a little while to learn, but then it comes a little second hand.
- [Woman] Could you talk a little bit more about, as we're trying to give feedback on this way, but you are dealing with someone who is argumentative or someone who defensive, you alluded to that in a sentence that you said about the person gets defensive or argumentative, to just stick to the protocol.
Can you just elaborate on that a little bit?
Because it does then get to be a really tense kind of situation for myself as a consultant, trying to figure out how do I navigate all that and to keep us on track and dealing with the kind of hostility that might be coming in my direction?
- I don't have a real good set of answers to that.
I don't have any research or evidence-based answers, but I can tell you the strategies that we rely on.
Sometimes when we see it's kind of going that way, we lower our standards, not in terms of what we wanna accomplish, but what we wanna accomplish at that point.
And so I back off and just try to get one good thing in there, one thing done, as opposed to working on everything say that needs to be done.
The most common strategy when we do it right, if they haven't already pushed your button, is we just maintain eye contact and be respectful and really not say anything, or just give it a, "Well, yeah, that's something to think about.
But as I was saying, da da da da da." We try not to give it a lot of attention.
That will work in some cases, it will make it worse in some cases, but usually the more you attend to the defensiveness or the arguing, the worse it gets.
So our first response is to minimally attend to it without being rude if possible, or then to figure, okay, I'm not going all the way.
I'm not gonna hit everything I wanted to hit.
I'm just gonna try one little thing to get that done.
Another thing this feedback protocols help, particularly step number two.
If you're ever in a situation, and I'm sure you probably have been, let's say you have a student with either a behavior problem that when you go in, you just can't figure out what's going on, all right, just you're not sure what's what yet.
But the staff, they want some answers.
Well, one of the things you can do to buy time in terms of trying to get back and do more assessment and figure out what's going on is use step two, whenever you come in, find something that folks are doing well and let them know about it.
So you can at least give some positive feedback.
And if nothing else, even though you haven't helped them yet at all with the problem that you're trying to address, when you leave, you've helped them feel a little bit better about something they're doing, and that can be a good thing.
So we'll use it that way as we buy time to figure out what we're gonna do, 'cause I've been in that boat a lot.
- [Woman] Sometimes just listening to them, letting them have a voice, and then that buys you some time, too.
And you can give them a positive comment, but they need to be heard.
Sometimes that's as validating for them as well, especially depending on the stress around it.
- That's what she keeps saying.
(audience laughing) I don't buy that.
No, I understand.
Carolyn's better at that than I am.
Basic strategy number four, monitor in a way that's acceptable to staff.
We've talked about some of this already and y'all have raised some good issues.
This reference, it's a little dated, but we were finding, this was in a center-based program, we were finding when we'd go in and do our detailed observations and a lot of indications that folks didn't like it.
Well, if you think about it, that's not surprising.
Most of us don't like to be overtly observed in what we're doing.
Your boss comes in, and if you're itinerant, they decide they're gonna come out and they just walk in and say, "Oh, don't mind me, I'm just here to observe your performance." (audience laughing) What kind of reaction do you have?
I'm willing to bet it's not one of utter glee, although it might be.
In my career, I worked for one supervisor a long time ago and she was the type of supervisor You wanted her to come out and see you do your work, because you knew she was gonna find something that she would talk to you about that you were doing well.
She would make you feel good about something.
You wanted her to come out, but she was also very competent and she knew her stuff.
She knew a lot more than I did.
That's a nice situation I've had, but that doesn't always happen.
Generally, it's best to assume from the get-go that directly observing someone's performance, that's not gonna be the high point of their day.
It's another thing that makes a consultant be somewhat of an aversive stimulus in the classroom, because we have to monitor.
And from a behavior analytic perspective, we gotta monitor very precisely.
We're gonna have to record data usually, both the student and staff performance, and it's something folks don't like often.
So we embarked on a program of research a long time ago, mid '90s, and we tried different ways to monitor.
And then we would survey staff in terms of having participated in this monitoring session, how would you rate it in terms of liking it or disliking?
Well, come to find out, that wasn't very useful because they basically told us they liked all of it, which we could tell wasn't true, that there were probably some demand characteristics in our surveys since I was their boss that they were just saying what they thought I wanted to hear maybe.
So we started giving people choices, okay?
We've monitored this way, we've monitored this way.
When we monitor in the future, which way would you prefer?
So over time, we've pulled out those procedures that folks seemed to select.
If you're gonna monitor it, I'd rather you do it this way.
And the protocol we came up with, again, it's a little dated, but we still use it, involves these steps.
Now this is when you're formally monitored.
It's like I walk into your classroom and so forth and I've gotta watch a student and I've gotta watch what you're doing and take some data and do it very formally, as opposed to just walking through.
If you're just trying to say, you're going from one school to another, but you realize you're gonna be in close proximity to a third school, you just wanna stop by so you can be present there briefly and maybe reinforce some type of good performance, very informally.
Then you go on to the other school to do some formal observation and get some data, see how things are going, all right?
So we recommend these steps, and some of them we talked about before.
The first one is, and this is common sense.
We call it Southern hospitality, but it's common sense.
When you walk into the classroom or whatever setting the folks are in which you're going to observe, greet everybody.
Just like when you walk into rooms with other people present, you usually say hi or what's up or hey, do the same for the classroom.
It's common social manners.
And we mention it, because it doesn't always happen.
The second step, let them know why you're there.
Hey, look, I wanna see how Billy's program's going, how he's responding to what you're doing.
So I'm gonna watch, okay?
If we've done our job, right, like it came up earlier today, they know why we're there.
They know exactly what we're looking at.
When we developed an intervention plan, we should have besides training them, given them a copy of the plan, shown them how we're gonna evaluate, which is probably looking at their data or whatever.
So they should know before we come in exactly what we're looking at.
But just in case, let folks know.
Now, some of my colleagues say, "Well, if you tell them exactly what you're looking at, they're gonna do things just because you're there." And that's in part true, okay?
Yeah, of course, that's better than they know what you want to see them do and they still don't do it.
You got more problems on your hand, but that's reactivity.
They're reactive to your presence and particularly your observational presence.
So far based on research, the ways to deal with that, you'll like the first one, observe often.
The more you observe, the more reactivity tends to reduce.
And also the more you're present just generally, your presence becomes less of a novel stimulus, and so you get less of reaction.
If you can't observe more often, try to lengthen out the period of observation, meaning go in and at first people might be reactive, but generally the longer you stay in your visit, the less reactive people will be.
But you still might get, you know, come on, when someone comes in to observe you or me, are we not gonna put our best foot forward?
You would hope so.
So you know if they are trying real hard and they're still not getting it right, that's another issue, too.
But anyway, let them know why you're monitoring.
There is almost never a good reason to do covert monitoring.
There are some exceptions.
(audience laughing) Covert monitoring, I mean, that that's occurred.
If you have videotape and people know you're actually watching through the monitor, but more informally it happens, and we do do this, where you're there to observe one thing but you're gonna be kinda looking at something else, too.
There's nothing wrong with that, generally speaking, just getting as much information as you can.
But if you're sneaking around consistently to observe, Mrs.
Sunglasses, right, two bad things usually happen.
One, it rarely remains covert.
Folks know what you're doing or they figure it out, and once they do your credibility is just going down the tubes.
The only time we recommend covert monitoring, and this is usually not on the part of consultant, it's usually a supervisor, if you expect something highly illegal, harmful, or abusive is going on, then the purpose of monitoring is different.
It's not to evaluate and give feedback.
The purpose of monitoring there is to catch the person and get them outta the system.
But that's rare in terms of what we do.
So generally speaking, no covert monitoring.
Third step, and this is true science, use common sense when to proceed.
What that means is, it's kind of sad, you're thinking here, "Of course, we know this stuff," well, our folks, people working with me and for me, we didn't always do it this way.
Common sense when to proceed pertains to if you go in and something highly unusual, particularly where let's say there's an aggressive outburst or some situation where somebody could get hurt, either staff or students, that's not a good time to stand there and take data.
(audience laughing) Or if it's a situation where somebody could be embarrassed, staff or students, that's not a good time to stand and take data.
In each of those situations, generally speaking, what we wanna do is either help out if we can, sometimes you can't.
If you try to help out as a somewhat novel person, you're gonna make the situation worse.
So if you can't help out or they don't want you to help out, get outta Dodge, just leave.
If you've ever been in that situation, and I have, where if you have a high school student and he's extremely aggressive and you have to intervene physically for protection, that almost never goes exactly by the book.
You try to carry out the physical hold or protective strategy the way you've been trained and so forth.
You have to do that, for those of you who've done that, when it's over, heart, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, you're breathing hard, it's (yelling), the last thing you want is someone to pull up that step, "Denny, you did not use his name when you told him please stand up." (audience laughing) - But you put him in his place.
- Right, right, so when it's highly unusual, a potentially harmful, or embarrassing situation that's not a good time to take formal data and observe.
Now, the exception would be if say an aggressive outburst is exactly what your program is designed to address and you wanna see how people do, but even there, your best bet is to help out if they need help or get out of the way if you can.
In fact, mostly what we're interested in is what does go on during routine situations, because by definition, that means what's happened most often.
So if it's a highly unusual day and a bad situation for staff, it's not good to stand there and take data.
Provide feedback quickly, as quickly as you can, even if it's not the whole protocol, but don't leave the setting or the classroom without giving some feedback.
When you have your performance formally observed, it's in many ways like taking a test in school.
You have certain anxiety, once you take the test, wondering how you did.
Same kinda thing if you know someone observed your performance, usually there's a lot of anxiety.
How'd you do?
Anxiety is an unpleasant thing.
If you can give feedback right away, you reduce that anxiety, so people don't have to wonder.
So try to give some feedback.
If you can't 'cause everything's so busy, it's as simple as saying, "Well, Carolyn, I know things are really busy.
I'll give you a call this afternoon and go over it," or something like that.
So you just don't leave people hanging, so give feedback quickly.
(Carolyn speaking off camera) (audience laughing) I think it's about time for your annual performance evaluation.
(audience laughing) And the last thing is simply a social courtesy.
Before you leave, always say something to folks.
Don't just walk out, okay?
It could be something like, "Barb, I appreciate you letting me come in again.
I know Carolyn is a handful.
We'll keep at it.
See you next week," or whatever, just common social greeting, as opposed to everybody's busy and you don't wanna interrupt, and you decide I need to get to that next school quickly and I'm behind schedule.
Just take a minute or minute and a half, just go over and thank people or say something.
That's common social courtesy.
And believe it or not, these steps can help make monitoring more pleasant.
It rarely will make your monitoring of someone else's staff performance the most enjoyable part of their day, but it usually reduces some of the unpleasantness of having your performance monitored.
We've talked about this back early on that as a supervisory strategy, same kind of thing, making job for staff as easy as possible while maintaining strategy.
Do what paid to do and what frontline education staff want.
What this means is, and I don't know how your system works, but like in my work, often a principal or what we call director of special education or director of exceptional children's services for the county, for the whole school system, will bring our services in because a particular student is having problems.
So if we do our job right, we wanna please that director.
But the most important part, the most important people to please, if you're gonna have an impact on getting those consumer outcomes obtained are, of course, the people who work with the consumers or the students most often, all right?
So always look at them as a priority, what those folks want you to do.
When we say here, what you're paid to do, that's to achieve certain outcomes with the students, what frontline staff want or educators, assistants, whomever, that may be a little bit different.
They want their students to do well too, hopefully, but there may be a few other issues.
And if you can help them address those issues, that increases your credibility and acceptability.
General strategy three when consulting, try to get some quick success and enhance it.
Well, it's good for the student to have some success, but it's also very good for your credibility and it's kind of a setting event for your future work with someone.
How you get that success depends on your technical skills and being able to see things.
One thing to keep in mind, though, if it's pertaining to someone with behavior problems or challenging behavior, one thing, and we do this lot, that can help a little bit, look at that student's routine or day, and usually if it's a serious behavior problem, that means there's a lot of the day that student doesn't like.
Because a behavioral problem occurs when there's something wrong in the environment, there's something the student does like or they're not having a good time.
They're either engaging in problem behavior to get something they want, like attention, so they're not getting enough attention, or they're engaging in problem behavior to get you out of their face or someone else away, to get outta something they don't, positive or negative reinforcement.
When they're having a good time, behavioral problems are much less likely to occur.
So one of the things you can often get quick success is look at their routine, immediately build in some short preferred activities for the student, whether it's first thing in the morning, if you work with someone and the staff says, "I can tell when he walks in, it's gonna be a bad day," and in some cases that happens.
In some cases it's not due to the students, it's the staff person who's having a bad day.
(audience laughing) But if that's the case, then building in a preferred activity brief right in the early part of the day.
So just trying to build in some preferred activities will help reduce some behavior problems and give you some quick success in some cases.
So the problems with that approach is sometimes people will say, "Well, I'm not gonna let Carolyn do something she likes, not for acting like that." Well, of course- - The rest aren't doing it.
- The rest aren't doing it.
- Absolutely, why does she get to do it?
She's worse than any of them.
Why should she get special things?
You're right, and that's reasonable for people to think like that because they don't look at the world behaviorally like we do on the job.
Unfortunately, I don't have a good way to respond when that comes up.
We tried, it doesn't happen overnight, but, obviously, if we're gonna build in preferred activities for someone who's having serious behavior problems, we're not gonna build them in contingent on the behavior problems.
It's gonna be a schedule-based thing, but we're just trying to settle things down a little bit, so, one, it might make it easier to address the real problem, but two, sometimes if you don't have someone with that kind of an attitude as we just illustrated, they see some improvement right off the bat and that enhances your credibility, if credibility is an issue.
Or if you have several things you can focus on first, you don't have to necessarily focus on the most serious.
Focus on where you can get the quickest success, 'cause that'll enhance your ability to work with the staff later on a more serious problem.
Forget about bibliotherapy or almost.
Bibliotherapy is when you walk in and let's say Brenda's got a new student who engages in pica behavior, and I give her a JABA article read on pica.
(audience laughing) That is rarely effective.
First of all, our research literature is not written to be read by practitioners.
That doesn't mean they can't read it.
Of course they can, but that's not what it's for.
More importantly, it casts the consultant in a pretty bad light.
One, it's like I don't wanna take the time to deal with it here, just read this, type of thing.
So it's not very effective.
It ends up casting you as a consultant in a bad light.
When I say almost, and you work with some folks who are very interested and they wanna know more information about particular syndromes or behavioral issues, then it's entirely appropriate to respond in that manner.
But as a first line of intervention, giving people stuff to read will cause more problems and headaches as a consultant, usually, than the good it will perform.
(woman sneezes) - Excuse me.
- Bless you.
We've already talked about using technical language judiciously.
I keep saying that.
All right, we've talked about the model, same model for consultation.
I wanna look at what we consider the supportive part.
We've already talked about a lot of that.
That's where we select our consumer outcome, what staff need to do to obtain that, we train, we monitor.
That all sets the occasion for folks to do a good job.
It doesn't guarantee it by any means.
Most important of what we do to affect day-to-day performance is how we respond to what staff do.
So I wanna first talk about supporting proficient performance, and this came up this morning that sometimes, especially as consultants if you've got a large caseload, you get kinda sucked into where all the problems are.
And the folks who are doing a good job, you just don't get to them.
You gotta try to set up your own self-control procedure and schedule because the folks who are doing a good job warrant support.
Just keep doing it.
Again, those are the ones you wanna keep in the system.
How do we do supportive consultation?
Of course, we're trying to reinforce proficient staff performance.
We may or may not have control over reinforcers for staff performance in a consulting role.
Usually we don't, but we try to develop it.
First line for supportive is feedback, using the feedback protocol on a formal basis.
We also use informal feedback.
That is, it's kinda the old cliche, you go in as a consultant, you look around, you find somebody doing a good job and you tell them they do a good job, trying to give a lot of informal feedback.
That is also easier said than done in many ways.
You don't wanna come across artificial.
A lot of people are not used to receiving positive feedback about their performance.
So giving good informal feedback.
It's like, frankly, being a good therapist.
You have to base your future feedback on their response to your current feedback.
So you learn, you try, and if they look at you like, "What do you want from me?" type of thing, ooh, I better say it a different way next time.
Maybe you can compliment their performance indirectly by complimenting progress with the student and how that reflects well on what they're doing.
Some people, frankly, I don't know if you've experienced this, the most reinforcing thing you can do for their performance is stay outta their way.
But you keep taking the data, and it keeps looking good and it reflects what's going on, then you don't need me here.
And they're thinking, "You bet your life I'm taking data then." (audience laughing) Hopefully, that's not always the case, but it reinforces or individualize, you know that.
But the key consulting skill is how to give feedback that comes across well, and the best way to learn that is do it, get your feedback by how people respond, both just interpersonally, but also with their performance.
So we give formal feedback, we give informal feedback, and sometimes, and you may not have sufficient time to do this in your job, we build in more supplementary support systems.
These are more formal recognition systems or formal reinforcement systems, things that a lotta schools have in place, teacher of the year, teacher of the month, teacher assistant of the month, those kinds of things.
We look for ways to reinforce good staff performance.
We've had the Green Stamp program.
It has formally printed little cards, and on the front, and this was in a state agency, it had the seal of the great state of North Carolina, and it says I like your work at Western Carolina Center because, then you open it up, and that's where if I was a consultant, I would write something nice about their performance, I could send it to them through inter-campus mail.
I can do it through email, however.
One of the nice things about that type of system is that it makes it easier for you to give a lot of positive feedback.
Of course, it has to be given sincerely.
We think there's nothing better than face-to-face positive feedback, but that takes time if you've got folks in different locations.
So find other ways.
Try to build in supplementary support systems.
And a lot of people and some of you might be thinking, "Well, that sounds a little bit childish," the Green Stamp program, where you send a green stamp to somebody and say, "I like your work because," you open it up and you see what somebody likes about your work.
That's exactly what I felt when I started at that center.
This was long time ago.
I thought it was just a little bit hokey.
We're adults, we're not gonna get off on getting these little notes from each other.
It sounds like something we did in school.
Until I got my first one.
(audience laughing) I had, of course, told other folks I thought it was kind of a ducky system, and so when I got it, I had to be cool, (audience laughing) but I literally could not wait to get my office and open up and see who it was from and what was written.
So it did have some impact.
It'd be nice if I'd gotten more than one.
(audience laughing) I'm not saying you should do that.
But I'm saying when you have time, if you can find ways to build in, and work with the principal, build in ways that people who do a good job, assistants, that they can get recognized formally for that, that can go a long way to enhancing your attention as a reinforcer for folks and, hopefully, reinforcing really good performance.
We'll deal a little bit more with this later, but it's basically building in formal recognition systems.
Now, there's some things that have to be done carefully with those.
You gotta make sure they're contingent on actual performance.
So for somebody get teacher of the year because she happens to be married to the principal (audience laughing) or something like that.
It's gotta be contingent on performance, and the performance base rationale for the recognition reward needs to be made apparent to everybody in the system, so they know this is what's getting recognized.
But those kinds of things take a while to set up, but once you set them up, they can enhance a little bit of work enjoyment and they can hopefully give a backup way to try to reinforce good performance.
- [Woman] Emails also play, if you don't have time to write it on a piece of paper, email.
- Oh, absolutely.
- They love it.
- And you can even develop some of your own cards or attachments to send as a way to give good feedback.
- [Woman] And copy all those.
- All right, just the opposite, to hold us accountable, remember our consultative model, support proficient performance, correct non-proficient performance.
So the way we do that, when we do it right, is we try to follow a systematic model.
So if someone's not doing what we've been working with them to do, carrying out age support plan and carrying out a teaching intervention, we do our assessment.
The reason why we have to do direct observation and need to be present in the environment as much as we can, is it a lack of skills, someone doesn't know how to do it, either 'cause we didn't train well, we kind of skipped on that, or it's a new person, or maybe that they're dealing with the low frequency problem behavior and don't have to carry out the intervention very often and they forget some of it or lose those skills.
If it's a skill deficit, then we do, of course, behavioral skills training when we do it right.
If it's a lack of time or resources, this also has to come from direct observation because a lot of people will say, it's like we do it too anyway, "We don't have time to do certain things or don't have the resources," and that's just a smoke screen.
So we have to assess to see really if it is a resource issue.
If you're in a consultant role, then typically that's when we gotta go to the principal or someone in administration to help deal with that.
That's part of the reason why early on we mentioned the more contact you have with the powers to be in a setting from the get-go, the easier it will be down the road.
So if you're working in a classroom and you've got some good things going on, but they may just have too many students who are too challenging in that classroom for folks really to address it all.
Then if you can take that news back and you've got good data on that to someone in management, you're more likely to be able to sell it.
Rarely in a consultant role, can you solve the resource or time issue for them.
Lack of performance, meaning folks know how to do the intervention, what we've asked them to do, they're just not doing it for whatever reason.
Our first line of intervention is feedback.
We use the formal feedback protocol and we do it several times.
How much is several, well, I can't answer that, but we do it more than once until we get improvement.
If we've done it several times and we're not getting improvement, then we gotta go the next route and it's gonna take more than what we can do to fix this problem with this staff performance.
That's where we have to go back to the supervisor, principal, whomever.
This again relates to why it's beneficial to get them involved early on, or at least try to keep them aware of what you're doing when problems are being encountered, so when you get to this point of needing their help to basically come down on a staff person or remove that staff person, it's not a surprise to them.
They've got some background.
And of course, you know when you do that, if you're the one that goes to the principal and you end up costing Carolyn her job, that's gonna be an issue in that setting.
You're gonna be the bad person for awhile.
It's hard to do when you have to take disciplinary action on somebody in order to change non-proficient performance.
That's when they know how to do the job, but they're not doing it.
But what's the alternative?
That's part of our ethical response.
We have to take that problem to someone who can do something about it, even if it puts us in a bad light, and it usually does.
So that has to be done very carefully.
But the worst thing we can do is we're aware that someone's not carrying out the intervention and the student's not getting the services she needs, and we don't do anything about it.
We gotta at least try.
Fortunately, in most cases, if you've done everything the right way, you've trained well, you give a copies of the intervention, you supported giving good feedback about how people are doing, if we follow those steps frequently, we don't have to get to this disciplinary action route very often.
And I really can't comment if the system is unionized because there's gonna be other rules and ways to do things.
But sometimes we just have to do it.
And usually, the immediate effect of that is if the principal supervisor carries it out, is that folks know you were partly responsible for that.
You're gonna be the bad person in that environment.
But over the long run, most people will respect consultants and supervisors who will step in and take care of business when it needs to be done.
I want to move quickly through some staff motivation part.
When we say staff motivation, we're talking about supporting staff and working diligently, proficiently, and enjoying their work, especially in regards to the work with us as consultants.
We want them to do what we recommend.
Part of their job where they work with us, we want that to be more enjoyable than the rest of their job.
We want to turn that around where we're not an aversive stimulus coming in, we're a good part of their job.
And it may be, I think the lady right here indicated, it might be that we're just a good listener and we're the only ones that they can spout off to.
And we'll do that because it's a nice thing to do and it might help us do our other job with them.
So, how do we do that?
How do we go about trying to promote proficient quality performance, and enjoyment, at least in regard to their job that involves us.
We don't have any control over their job that doesn't involve us.
We can focus on our part.
We try to follow the steps that we've already gone through, that sets the occasion, and then there's other things we can build in to try to do that and I wanna go through some of those.
What we're trying to do, basically, keeping it simple.
The world of work is by nature gonna have some unpleasant things in it, and that's just the way work is.
There's some negatives things.
What we wanna try to do is increase the good things in the staff's work environment and decrease the bad things as they are associated with what we do with staff.
Again, we can't impact their whole job and it's not our realm.
But anything that has to do with our working with staff, we wanna have more good things than bad things, as much as possible.
So we look for good things to increase in their environment and bad things to decrease.
I'm gonna give some examples of what those pertain to.
This was a little dated, but we have replicated this, actually.
I just wanna summarize real quick what supervisors, a lot of these were not in schools, some were in school, people who are mid-level supervisors.
And we asked them, based on your experience, what's been done to you from your supervisor and what you've tried with your staff, what are the best and worst ways to help staff work hard and enjoy their work?
In other words, it's how to motivate staff.
It kind of blew us away when we got the results and we categorized them, things we should and shouldn't do if we wanna promote diligent work and work enjoyment.
So we did it again and got the same results.
And here's what we got.
First, from the perspective of what we wanna decrease, what are the things that according to these experienced supervisors, and these were just in the States, what impeded staff working hard and enjoying the job, so things that actually resulted in staff discontent The most common by far was simply interacting with staff in an unpleasant or a discourteous manner, things as simple as you pass the staff person in the hall and you don't say anything to them, you walk into a staff person's classroom and you don't say anything to them, you immediately start taking data, focusing primarily on what they do wrong on the job, always coming in and pointing out what they could do better, just being overly negative or discourteous.
The second most common thing that was an impediment to staff working hard and enjoying their job was when the consultant or supervisor just not around much.
And we've talked about that.
Not helping out when needed, this one's a gray area.
That means folks will appreciate a consultant who at times will help out when needed.
So you go in a classroom and somebody needs help calming down the student, whatever it may be, if we can help out at least some.
And obviously that's a difficult area because you've got your own job to do on a short timeline.
But if you're in a setting consulting on a regular basis and you don't help them do some of their job some, you're probably gonna be viewed in a more negative light.
That's just the way it is, based on what people say anyhow.
And then not acting to help resolve staff issues of concern.
That's when you go in and it might be that a student has particular behavior problems and the assistant says, "Well, you know, he's been on the same worksheet for three months." (audience laughing) (audience member speaking off camera) (all laughing) He can do it, but would you wanna do it for three months over and over?
But she's just given that worksheet.
That's what she's got to work with.
She said, "If we could come up with some new stuff for him to do." So, if you can work on that.
Even if you can't resolve issues or concerns, at least try and get back with folks and let them know why you can't.
So if they raise issues of concern, we can't just ignore, even if they don't pertain directly to why we're there.
That can help our staffs.
And again, a lot of this is common sense, but it's still what research has shown.
All right, just the opposite, what we can do to help promote proficient work and work enjoyment, and this follows exactly from what we want to avoid.
This one we found kind of interesting.
We were hoping that what these experienced supervisors would say, the best way to help motivate staff to work hard and enjoy their work is give a lot of positive feedback specifically about their work performance, because we advocate that a lot, right?
We did behavioral research on it.
That's not what they said.
They said, "Simply interacting in a pleasant manner, treating staff respectfully, politely, that's your best way to promote work performance and enjoyment." Does it really work?
I don't know, but a lot of experienced supervisors say that.
This just means trying, (chuckling) it's not rocket science, it's just some way be nice.
What's difficult about that is if you're training people to be consultants, you ever tried to train an adult to be nice?
(audience laughing) I mean, it's like once we get into adulthood, we either have certain social skills or we don't.
But just something, being polite and pleasant, that's why we've tried to build a lot of that into our specific feedback protocols, how to monitor that kind of thing.
Providing frequent positive feedback, that means feedback specifically about performance, that came in as the second best way to promote work enjoyment.
Then it's not broken down in the second, we included it, kinda lumped it together, being frequently present in staff work area, we've talked about that, helping out when needed, and actively resolving staff issues of concerns.
If you try to do those things when you can, and you're limited in time, the more you can do, generally the better you will be received on average as a consultant in different settings.
Now, another thing we can do to promote work enjoyment in a way is look at certain aspects of the jobs associated with you as a consultant that staff really disliked and zero in on those.
And Carolyn will talk about that.
She's the one who's done the research on that.
- Yeah, this was fun, and one of our mottoes is work hard and have fun.
So we spent a lot of time trying to figure out how we can help staff have fun.
And we realized that some of the staff we were depending on to do some things we wanted them to do, there were certain aspects of those things they didn't like doing with a darn.
Different ones of the staff that we worked with had different aspects of what we were wanting them to help us do that they liked and didn't like.
For example, one of the gentleman, we firmly believed that we have to continuously monitor staff performance, one, to maintain staff who are doing a good job.
We wanna keep that high level feedback ongoing.
And secondly, if we see that staff are kinda slipping, and sometimes they did do, they've gone through our behavioral skills training and they get on the floor, and they can slip back occasionally.
So, occasionally, we have to go in when we monitor and give some of that corrective feedback.
So we feel like monitoring is a real important part of our ability to be successful with what we're doing.
And so anyway, this gentleman, he was helping us to do some of that monitoring in the setting where we were acting as consultants, and he just really didn't like it.
He didn't come right out and say that, but when we queried him, if you will, about what aspects of what we were wanting him to do that he liked and didn't like, the monitoring was his least preferred job task, work task for us.
So we talked with him, why was that the case?
Because he was that aversive stimuli that was going in and monitoring staff performance, even though he was using the diagnostic protocol, he didn't feel real comfortable with that.
So we talked about how we could make that more fun, (laughing) more fun for the staff being observed and more fun for him.
And in this particular case, we came up with a performance lottery system.
(audience laughing) We were fortunately able to do that.
Tim, the fella that had the concern, he was willing to go out and solicit businesses and restaurants and that kind of thing, and get some free dinners and gift certificates, et cetera, that didn't cost us anything.
And over a month's time, for those staff who had an 80% proficient performance observation, we put their names in a hat and they could draw or we'd draw a name, and the person whose name was drawn got to pick from getting a free lunch or getting a gift card to somewhere, and that kinda made it fun with very little effort, if you will.
We were able to help Tim better enjoy his job.
Another one of the staff, for example, we had a monthly progress review that we wanted folks to help us with, and they would send in monthly data and that kind of thing.
And of course, some of those paper/pencil tasks that all of us have to do are not the most fun thing we can do either.
And one staff person said, "Well, if I could find the time to do it and just get it over with, and maybe if I could have a snack, (audience laughing) that would make it better." She said, "I don't want much, I just want a candy bar and some water." So anyway, we worked with her supervisor and found a time at the end of the month she could go to a room all by herself without disruption, get that task done in two hours, when it was taking her several days with all of the interruptions, et cetera, and we were able to give her her water and candy bar while she's doing it.
So it's sometimes those little things that we can do.
And we thought at first, but we don't have any control to make changes in these people's work schedules or tasks.
Well, when it came down to it, their dislikes weren't that overwhelming to help do something about.
Does that makes sense?
And so, as a consultant, we were able to help them better enjoy their job and have more fun just by doing that little bit of work.
- Okay, and part of the intent here taking a less preferred job duty and making it more preferred, it enhances- - Here.
(audience laughing) It can enhance work enjoyment, it can enhance your tip as a consultant.
The problem is it takes time and you've got a full plate, but look at it as a possible setting event, setting an occasion to be more effective down the road.
Same with setting up the supplemental reinforcement systems, it takes time to set them up.
Once you set them up, you develop your own certificate that you just have to fill in, or you get a principal to do that.
Once you get that system set up, it usually does not take much time to then do it on a regular basis and it can help support more routine feedback and that kind of a thing.
The idea is just to build in some systems that also prompt us to reinforce good staff performance and make it easy for us.
Once we get these in place, it's real easy to send a card, all you gotta do is fill it out or tap onto the system you've put in place.
Are these the most important ways to impact staff, of course?
No, they don't occur frequently enough and often they're only gonna hit one or two staff out of the whole group of staff, and maybe everybody's deserving of a special recognition, but they do usually if it's done sincerely, if you're the recipient of this type of recognition, it usually helps you feel good about some aspect of your work, and feeling good about some aspect of work is a good thing to put in place in the environment.
So as a consultant, if we can help put good things in for folks who are doing a good job, and they're contingent, that's a nice thing to do.
Moving along, other ways to help motivate on the job.
Again, trying to increase the goods in a staff's work environment, in the classroom, wherever.
We just talked about formal recognition, putting together a formal recognition system.
And again, keep in mind, those will add some nice things, but they're not gonna impact a lotta staff behavior change on a day-to-day basis.
They're too infrequent, they don't impact enough staff, but they're nice when they happen, so we use them as supplementary.
Informal recognition, the best and that's impromptu praise.
You know that.
We recommend it with our students.
We recommend it with our supervisors.
Be out and about, find folks doing a good job, and let them know they're doing a good job.
That's impromptu praise.
There's also kinda certain ways to do this we've found over the years.
We haven't researched these, but have had a lot of experience.
We've tried them where they've worked with us from our consultant or our supervisor, and then we adopted them.
One is what we say saying good things behind the back.
And this is where we take a bad thing in the work environment and turn it into a good thing.
When you say bad things about somebody, that's what we learned to do when we were in school, elementary school, junior high or middle school.
I'm not sure your classification (indistinct), but we gossip about people.
We talk bad about them when they're not around, right?
Now, as adults, we don't do that in schools or our work settings, right?
- [Woman] Right.
(audience laughing) - Of course we do, and that's a bad thing.
Gossiping, rumoring, saying bad things about people when they're not around, we can turn that bad thing into a good thing as a consultant.
Meaning if say we're having a meeting or we're talking to somebody else, compliment someone's performance who's not there.
Say something good about their performance when they're not around.
Often, two things will happen.
Several things will happen.
One, what that does is it models for the person whom you're talking to what you value as a consultant in terms of good performance, and that can help.
But too, usually, the informal grapevine in an agency like a school is much more powerful than the formal chain of command for communication.
It'll get back to the person, the nice thing you said about his performance.
And of course, it has to be sincere and it has to be accurate based on your direct observation of the job well done or some aspect of a job well done.
But think about it.
If you hear that your consultant said something nice about what you have done to somebody else, usually you feel pretty good about that.
There are exceptions, but it's one way to get one more good thing into the work environment.
Another way, so we call it special recognition meetings.
How often are you called to a meeting for the sole purpose of someone telling you you've done one heck of a job?
It doesn't cost anything, a little bit of time.
As a consultant, it's hard to arrange meetings and so forth, but in doing that or asking someone to meet with you and the sole purpose of that is to give positive feedback or appreciation for something they've done well, that can be powerful.
Or you're in another meeting for some other purpose, the meeting's winding down, and I say, "Isabel, before you leave, could I see you just for a second?" for the sole purpose of complimenting something I observed her do well with a student or whatever.
That's how tapping onto a regular meeting for a little special recognition on your part.
I'm not saying you should do any of these things.
You do what you're comfortable with, but trying to pass on good things based on good performance, what that does is not only helps that staff person feel good about his or her work performance, it's one more thing to help you be established as a reinforcer or your attention in working with that individual and to change that aversive stimulus that you start out as in many cases into a positive stimulus.
In part, it's just being nice and trying to reinforce good staff performance.
It's also trying to make us more effective down the road as consultants.
So we get to the point that people like to see you walk in the classroom as opposed to cringing (chuckling) or just the opposite effect.
Hopefully, that doesn't happen.
Take home the goods.
We'll wrap this up pretty quickly.
This has nothing to do with stealing agency property, okay?
(audience laughing) That's a different issue.
What it pertains to is kinda, again, turning a bad thing into a good thing.
We've all heard this affects teachers, teacher assistants, consultants, it affects everybody, that we shouldn't take work home with us.
What that really means is we shouldn't take the bad aspects of work home with us.
You know the worst case scenario, it's like somehow you get treated unfairly at work and it really ticks you off.
So you go home and you have some time to think about it.
And the more you think about it, the angrier you get, 'cause it shouldn't have happened to you.
You didn't deserve it.
It was very unfair.
The night goes on and pretty soon it's time to go to bed.
You go to bed, you start thinking about it some more.
The more you think about it, the more ticked off you get.
Unfortunately, being angry is incompatible with sleeping.
(audience laughing) You don't sleep so good.
You get up in the morning, you go back to work, you didn't sleep so good, you're not in the best mindset, to help folks to work hard and enjoy their job.
That's the bad part of taking work home.
There's a good part taking work home.
But as a consultant, if you can catch a staff person, maybe by email if they check their email or face-to-face, either at the end of the work day or preferably the end of the week, or maybe before they're going on vacation or a long holiday weekend, and you interact with that staff person, a teacher, teacher assistant, whomever, one-on-one, for the sole purpose of giving some positive feedback or complimenting some aspect of their job that they did well and you noticed, and you just wanted to say it 'cause that was just really neat.
When they go home, if they do think about the job, what do you think they're gonna think about?
(audience members answering) That's gonna probably enter their mind and that's a good thing.
You go home, you're feeling good, 'cause someone took the time out just to let you know about a good thing you had done at work.
That's what you leave work with.
That's a nice thing to do.
Again, I'm not saying any of these things you should do.
You should do what you're comfortable with.
But do something to try to make the work environment of staff nicer, particularly in regard based on things they have done well.
Well, that's just a reference to show that the motivational strategies go in that more in-depth.
Just a few things to wrap up.
And so we're gonna try and finish up shortly after 3:30 for several reasons.
One, because y'all are starting to look really tired.
(audience laughing) Two, I already told you one way to help your training to be acceptable is finish ahead of time.
(audience laughing) But three, Carolyn and I are not gonna leave, and if you have individual questions, concerns, criticisms, Carolyn will take the criticisms.
(audience laughing) Okay, okay?
we will stay here and be glad to interact with anybody individually since we're gonna wrap up a little bit early.
- [Carolyn] You know it depends on our ride.
(audience laughing) - All right, to wrap this part up, we wanna use what evidence-based technology we have, both for our students with autism and for working with staff, how we train, how we give feedback, how we try to reinforce.
Of all of the little pointers, the points and premises and prerequisites we've talked about, what we find most helpful, unfortunately, you gotta work hard.
There's just no easy way to do the job of a consultant and be effective, despite what the people we consult with think, that we have the easy part.
To do it well, it takes a lot of time and effort.
Wish I could say differently, but that's what it seems to be.
The more you can be around, present in the work site with the people with whom you're consulting, generally the better things will go, particularly if you're pleasant in about how you go about doing what you do.
That does not mean we ignore the problems.
Of course, we address the problems with feedback and other mechanisms as need be.
But we try to do that as pleasantly as possible.
We have to focus on our outcomes.
If students aren't getting better, we're not doing our job, either because we're not being able to get staff to do it well, we aren't using the technology of behavior change very well.
That's the bottom line.
If your students aren't getting better, consultants aren't consulting.
In the middle there is what staff does.
And again, if you focus them as part of your consumer group, it's a little easier to deal with.
So they're not the problem anymore, they are a part of your job to work with.