Although there is no universal definition of psychological trauma, most sources acknowledge that it involves exposure to an event or series of events that adversely affect functioning and well-being. It is important to note that particular populations – including children and adolescents in foster or residential care and individuals with developmental disabilities—are more likely to experience potentially traumatic events, than comparable groups in the general population (Euser et al., 2014; Hibbard & Desch, 2007; Mazzone et al., 2018; McDonnel et al., 2019). Therefore, acknowledging the prevalence of potentially traumatic experiences and their subsequent effect on behavior is a prudent course of action in any discipline for which practice tends to focus on high-risk groups. Across a range of disciplines, the concept of “trauma-informed care” (TIC) has come to the forefront of practice guideline development and policy-making (Baker et al., 2018; DeCandia et al., 2014; Guarino et al., 2019; Harris & Fallot, 2001; Isobel & Edwards, 2017; Levinson, 2017).
These initiatives, along with a broader research agenda, acknowledge the prevalence of traumatic experiences and the need to develop assessment and treatment approaches that are sensitive to the effects of those events. Despite a growing acknowledgment of the importance of understanding the impacts of trauma on therapeutic approaches across human service disciplines, discussions of trauma do not seem to have permeated the behavior analytic literature (cf., Friman et al., 1998a; Prather, 2007). Although definitions of TIC vary across entities, there are four core principles germane to the conceptualization and practice of TIC. They are to: (a) acknowledge trauma and its potential impact, (b) ensure safety and trust, (c) promote choice and shared governance, and (d) emphasize skill-building. The focus of this presentation will be to highlight how the Practical Functional Assessment of severe problem behavior is entirely consistent with Trauma-Informed Care
Participants will be able to:
- Describe the core components of Trauma-Informed Care.
- Identify twelve tactics for increasing the odds of a safe, dignified, and trauma-informed analysis of severe problem behavior.
- Describe the characteristics of an open-door analysis for minimizing the likelihood of problem behavior escalation and maximizing the value of synthesized reinforcers.
- Defend the practice of relying on synthesized reinforcement contingencies when functionally analyzing problem behavior and articulate the advantages of functional control over functional classification
2 CEUs Available
This course is designed for those who: have or are pursuing BCBA/BCaBA/RBT; teacher; therapists; and others whose role uses ABA to design & implement programming to decrease behaviours and increase skill acquisition of individuals with autism. This is also intended for anyone whose role is to support individuals with developmental disabilities in any capacity.
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