A Constructional Approach for Solving Behavioral Challenges: Session 193 with Claire St. Peter

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If you've been tuning into one of the many Inside JABA Series I've done over the last few years, you're undoubtedly familiar with today's guest, Dr. Claire St. Peter. Claire is a Professor as well as the Director of Graduate Training at West Virginia University.

According to her university bio, Claire's "primary research interest is the assessment and intervention of challenging behavior. She is particularly interested in the development of effective interventions for challenging behavior displayed in school contexts (including the effects of degraded integrity on intervention efficacy) and with the dissemination of behavioral approaches to caregivers (teachers, parents, etc.)."

And we do get to this very important topic of supporting typically developing individuals with behavior problems in school settings... but we get there in a roundabout way.

Before getting there, we talk about how she got into behavior analysis, and we spent a little more time on this than usual, because as it happens, Claire was doing her graduate training at The University of Florida at a time when many other prominent researchers and practitioners in Behavior Analysis were going through that program. I won't spoil the story here, but it's worth checking out because in my opinion it provides an interesting window into the development of an incredibly productive cohort of people.

We then transition into a primer of sorts in what's known as the "Constructional Approach" to behavioral treatment, intervention, and so forth. This approach was first described by Dr. Israel Goldiamond, and I highly recommend reading his seminal paper on this topic that was published in 1974. This topic has been getting a lot of attention in our field as of late, and I was thrilled to have Claire walk us through the basics of this perspective.

Towards the end of the podcast, Claire shares a fascinating case study in which she and her colleagues used this constructional approach to develop a novel behavioral intervention for a child who was exhibiting behavior problems in a school setting.

Again, if you're familiar with Claire's contributions to the Inside JABA Series, you know she loves a good soapbox, and in keeping with that, she offers some great advice for the newly minted at the close of the show.

Lastly, I don't want to forget to mention that Claire is the Editor in Chief of the journal, Education and Treatment of Children, which I think we mention briefly. There's a lot of good work being published there, so check it out if you get a chance. Also, Claire has made significant contributions in the area of treatment integrity (aka procedural fidelity), and I look forward to having her back on the show for a deep dive into that important topic.

Here are links to some of the resources we mentioned:

Session 193 is brought to you by the following:

  • Supervision Sidekick. Supervision Sidekick is not only a comprehensive curriculum that helps you mentor the next generation of Behavior Analysts, it's also a community of like-minded supervisors. Check out their easy to use digital platform and comprehensive instructional materials at www.sidekicklearning.net. Also, if you sign up for a monthly or yearly program, use coupon code behavioralobservations and save 10% at checkout.
  • HRIC Recruiting. Barb Voss has been placing BCBAs in permanent positions throughout the US for just about a decade, and has been in the business more generally for 30 years. When you work with HRIC, you work directly with Barb, thereby accessing highly personalized service. So if you're about to graduate, you're looking for a change of pace, or you just want to know if the grass really is greener on the other side, head over to HRIColorado.com to schedule a confidential chat right away.
  • Behavior University. Their mission is to provide university quality professional development for the busy Behavior Analyst. Learn about their CEU offerings, including their brand new 8-hour Supervision Course, as well as their RBT offerings over at behavioruniversity.com/observations.
  • The University of Cincinnati Online. UC Online designed a Master of Education in Behavior Analysis program that is 100% online and asynchronous, meaning you log on when it works for you. Want to learn more? Go to online.uc.edu and click the “request info” button.

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