Team PBS staff member, Shane T. Spiker, PhD, BCBA, is applying his background in Behavior Analytics to keep children safe on the internet. He was recently faced with a situation in which his daughter shared her concerns over an older man that was messaging her for “selfies” in exchange for gifts. After taking appropriate measures to keep his daughter safe, Shane reflected on what he had done to encourage his daughter to come to him instead of falling prey to the situation. He realized their past efforts of practicing scenarios and using behavioral science were likely factors to the successful outcome.
Shane believes the use of behavioral skills training is something we can do day-to-day to keep children safe in many realms. It requires the child to work through the following: discuss with me why we’re doing this, tell me, show me, and let me practice. It’s not something that requires a master’s degree; just planning and consideration of the learner.
Technically speaking, behavioral skills training (BST) is a specific process that allows the trainer to provide training efficiently and effectively to the trainee toward some level of mastery (Parsons, Rollyson, & Reid, 2012). Using an exposure and rehearsal process, the trainer is able to walk a learner through a scenario with clear, concise steps toward an ultimate goal, which would be the behavior or skill that the trainer wants the learner to acquire.
Put into a real-world, applied example, Shane and his daughter ran through internet safety using the above-mentioned process. This included rationale, examples and what to do when problem situations arose. Shane took it one step further and included role-play scenarios for practice and then reviewed how his daughter reacted to them. They continued to practice until Shane felt comfortable that she was able to manage general situations. Once a true problem arose, his daughter handled it exactly how he had hoped and Shane saw behavior analytics in action.
Shane encourages parents to use behavioral science as a preventative strategy to protect their kids in places and situations in which they can’t always be present. When asked how a parent can learn these skills he said:
“This isn’t something that is exclusive to practitioners or parents of special needs, but rather, it’s available to anyone who is ready to teach a new skill. Behavior analytic practitioners are generally proficient in this area, but there is a clear utility in using this outside of general treatment settings. Organizations, classrooms, treatment centers, etc. all stand to benefit from a more efficient training system than ‘tell them and expect it. Had I done exactly that with my daughter, we may be having a different conversation here.”
If you want to read Shane’s story more in-depth or learn more about our trainings offered outside of the behavior field, visit our website at www.teampbs.com.
About Positive Behavior Supports Corporation
PBS Corp. is an agency committed to the principles of Positive Behavior Support -an approach based on principles of applied behavior analysis, ABA- to improve not only behavior, but also quality of life for the individuals we serve, their families, and others who support them. We provide individualized services for those with autism and related disabilities, children and adults, to assist with decreasing challenging behaviors and increasing appropriate behaviors and skill deficits. Our programs are designed to empower caregivers and others involved in the individuals' lives to support them within their natural routines so they can be successful and self-sufficient.
We provide services in a home, school, and community environments. Although we have a large team, we pride ourselves in providing a “small team” feel by having Regional Coordinators support our local teams throughout the states to ensure that our highly qualified behavior analysts, program managers, Registered Behavior Technicians
and Behavior Assistants receive the support, training, guidance that is needed to not only uphold best practices in applied behavior analysis, but also to ensure a high quality of work lives for all of our team members. Positive Behavior Supports Corporation is currently operating in the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit our website at www.TeamPBS.com