346: down the rabbit hole

Today is Doctor’s appointment day. Which I know won’t lead to anything instantly other than more appointments… but hopefully that will lead to answers.

So let’s go down the rabbit hole here. An extra special glimpse in to how my brain works.

I was in the shower the other day. I was in a tremendous amount of pain from my hip and side. The train started rolling and took off – like that super speed train in Japan. It went from – what if it’s arthritis? what if it’s necrosis? what if there are growths? or tumors? what if it’s bone cancer? what if i’m going to die? how would I tell Kevin? how would he react? would he leave me? would he never love any one ever again? what about my kids? on and on and on.

I shared a portion of the process with Kevin. His response? He smiled and gave me a jolly thumbs up. Which, of course, made me laugh. He is a wonderful person. He is always supportive.

Ok, I’m going to do some studying before I go to the doctor.

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.

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345: I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful

I don’t often say I feel good about my work. But, today, I feel good about my work. I feel good about the work I did today.

I really feel like I helped families today. There were some bumps, but everyone was open and collaborative. Everyone was supportive and motivated. Everyone wanted what was best for the individual and their family. It’s reassuring.

In a way, I miss being in schools. Being in school as a teacher just wasn’t my calling. It’s been tremendously helpful with my own children and helping families advocate for their children. It’s also been helpful in the area of behavior analysis as we teach the same skills, but having the education background helps with knowing how a skill is built and where to start.

I absolutely love doing assessments. Assessments are my favorite. And data. Boy, do I love me some data.

At one of the meetings, the parent said, “I’m excited! I got that word from Melinda because she uses it a lot. She is always excited.” And I am! I get excited about progress. I get excited to see “oh shit, this totally DOES work!” I get excited about getting something RIGHT. I get excited about seeing lives get easier, seeing personalities bloom, and people happier. What’s NOT to get excited about?

Another parent said they were so grateful because I was able to put in to words what they couldn’t. Sometimes, when it comes to your own child it’s hard to get the words out because so many emotions are involved. I’m beyond grateful that I’m given the opportunity to speak on behalf of others in an effort to put their loved one in a positive position.

I am grateful to have the opportunities to collaborate with other driven professionals – to learn from one another, to improve our own craft in an effort to improve the lives of others. THAT is why I do it. THAT is what this is about. And it absolutely kills me when you do a training for staff in an effort to help them be more successful and they show up late, are on their phone the whole time and are argumentative. I’m here to help you, dude. I want to see everyone succeed.

I just want to help. That’s all I ever want to do – is help.

I feel like I’m finding my place. I feel like this was the right course for me. I feel increasingly excited about learning more sign language.

Can I pause here for a second and tell you how fucking cool it is to watch interpreters? I fucking love watching sign language interpreters. I love watching people sign. I love communicating in sign. I’m such a visual person and I absolutely love that we have a visual language. It’s like a hand dance when you speak and I think it is one of the coolest things on the planet. I cannot wait to learn more and go to deaf events and reach more people – it makes me (can you guess?) EXCITED.

; D

I enjoy having a positive impact on others. I feel that’s what I was put here for – to positively impact others’ lives in one way or another. Even if it’s stopping by your favorite bakery to see your bakery friends and bring them some candy on Valentine’s Day. ; 3 A little pick me up never hurt nobody.

I’m also feeling increasingly more confident in my knowledge, abilities, and application. I feel like I can effectively and accurately explain things to people. I’m always learning, which is totally cool and what we should all do, but I feel like I’ve got some sturdy footing.

I feel good about what I accomplished today. I feel like I represented the families and myself well. It’s really nice when people are excited to see you and collaborate with you. It feels really good.

Well, the chirrens will be home in a second so I need to cut it to a close. I hope that today, and every day, you can find a small piece of joy in it.

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.

344: stuff and things

Exam day is two weeks from today. I’ve been studying like crazy and it’s been taking up almost all of my free time. I feel much more confident going in to it this time and I keep putting it out in to the universe that I’m passing. Therefore I am.

I’ve been doing some additional advocacy outside of work and that has also been taking up my free time.

My hip is a constant issue. I go to the doctor on Thursday. At which time he’ll order imaging which means we won’t really have any answers for a few more weeks. It vacillates between minor discomfort and making me want to puke. Today is one of the latter. Sometimes it’s just the joint, other times it’s the whole area. I want to know what’s gong on so I know what to do. I’m getting really frustrated with being unable to exercise. I hate being stagnant. I want to move around and do so without being in tears from pain. That’d be super.

We crunched numbers the other day. Because I didn’t pass the exam and had to set up shop at home, the house is pushed back a few months. Now we are looking at August instead of May. It’s still in sight, just a little while longer than initially anticipated.

Hopefully nothing super major is with my hip. We can’t afford another set back otherwise we are never getting our own house. I’m tired of living in a basement.

I had to go on antibiotics the other week. They made me break out all over. For someone who is a picker, it’s pretty much the worst thing that can happen. I have to check multiple times a day to see the state of things. I keep my hands busy working most of the day, but every time I go to the bathroom – there’s the mirror, so I have to check and I have to pick. Sup baby OCD? I used to pick a LOT. I have some scarring from it. It’s gotten better over the years but things like this are awful.

Kids are doing well, which is nice. Nothing major going on there. I have Doods’ parent-teacher conference on Friday, so that’ll be nice.

Ok, I have to get some work in before I go to a training.

Oh and we are almost a year out from the meltdown. I’m sure I miscounted somewhere along the lines with numbering … I did. I’m off by five. But you know, hey, I’ll take it – it’s close enough. I feel like I should post something meaningful that day, but I don’t know what. Any suggestions?

Time for work.

Thanks for stopping by

I am glad you exist.

330: exhaustion and expectations

Real talk: I am exhausted.

Getting consistent broken sleep starts to wreak havoc on your body. I’m so tired. Being tired makes me feel physically sick. It can stop any time. I wish Doods would fucking sleep, man. Last night, she fell asleep around 10 and woke up at 115. I went to lay with her and she would. not. stop. She kept talking and moving. I’m ready for this weekend – they are shipped off to their Dad’s and, theoretically, I get two full nights of sleep.

Lately I’ve been really contemplating – when did I get so old? I used to workout and do things but now its like… my body is beat to shit. Things hurt all the time. I try to workout and I’m not having success because things hurt to the point of nausea. I want to get better, I just don’t know how or what else to do about it. I miss being active. I miss being strong. I don’t know what to do so that I don’t hurt. I guess going to the doctor would be a start. I don’t really want to go, but I’m leaning more and more towards it. I’m tired.

I’m tired but not tired of studying. I’m passing this exam. Less than a month to go until my test date. I need that time to study more – I don’t want there to be any question or guess – I am going to pass. I’ve got one week of BDS modules to go. Then there’s like two weeks or so till my test date.

I really just want to go to sleep.

I have lots of work to do. I don’t want to do it – just because I’m tired and it’s tedious. It’s necessary. Just need to get my brain firing.

I feel like I’m headed to seizure town. It’s a place I don’t like to party in. This lack of sleep thing is an instigator for brain malfunction. Maybe I shouldn’t go on my visit today. Maybe driving isn’t a great idea. I’m glad I work from home.

I got my studying done already. I’m into my higher score areas, so they aren’t as difficult and go a little quicker. At least that’s out of the way.

Okay, time to get working.

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.

328: quiet time & quick updates

Here we are, just shy of 7am on Saturday morning – Doods is watching weird sensory videos that make me cringe, Boy Child is watching God knows what on his tablet, the Dog is freshly pooped, Husband & Gamma still asleep, and me? I’ve already completed my study modules for the day and am halfway through a giant ass cup of coffee.

The plus side: Doods slept through the night! Yesssssss. She slept till 6! Amazing! As I get up with her during week, I usually kick Husband out of the bed to deal with her on the weekends. So, six am rolled around, I start hearing the squeaks and squeals of child #2 and I ask Husband to deal with it. He gets up as requested and comes back shortly to say that her iPad was dead, so he told her to be quiet, and laid back in bed.

…..

OF COURSE THAT TOTALLY WORKED.

Because whenever you tell a kid, any kid, let alone a kid with Autism, to “Be quiet” without anything to do/play with/watch/focus on – it totally works. Which is why I got up 15 minutes later because, well, she was less than quiet.

At least I got my studying done for the day.

And! BC is feeling better. He’s been wrastlin’ with a bout of the flu since Wednesday. He was CLEARLY feeling better last night. He was back to being his obnoxious self. BC, Husband and I played Scattergories last night. I was surprised – BC did REALLY well! He had some awesome answers. Some of them I was like, Oh shit, nice job! I beat Husband by…. one point ; ) That’s alllll you need – one point.

Overall, things have been going well in this neck of the woods. I’ve had work related anxiety that I’ve been dealing with. I can’t really elaborate on it in a public forum, however I’m trying to safely navigate the emotions. Husband has been very helpful and supportive (as always).

I’ve kept to my demanding study schedule. 10 more days of BDS Modules! WOO! 10 more days, then I take the Post-Test to see where I’m at. I will probably retake some of the mock exams I have as well. I’m passing this exam guys. I keep speaking it out in to the universe because this *has* to happen. I need/want to pass this exam. And I’m going to guys, I’m going to. I know the content. I need to just read the GD question and all the answers. There’s always 2 far from correct, 1 almost correct and 1 correct – ’tis the ABA way.

Doing these modules, while cumbersome and tedious, has been REALLY helpful. They’ve been helpful not just with additional content but in practicing answering questions and discriminating answers. It really does force you to slow the eff down, read the WHOLE thing AND all the answers before selecting your choice. In ABA, one word changes the ENTIRE meaning of a phrase or question, so you really have to pay attention. I’ve definitely been improving…. I’m excited not to do them any more ; D

Doods has been Doods, just doodlin’ around. I did get word that the device company, once they found out she switched insurance providers, have been advocating for her behind the scenes. They requested, got denied, and are now writing yet another addendum for her to get a device. It’s awesome that they are fighting for her!

BC had the flu, but is otherwise doin’ fine. Got almost straight A’s on his last report card, which is AWESOME. That’s about it, really.

I’ve been playing through Ninjago City in my downtime and that game is stupid fun. I’ve really been enjoying it. Superheroes 2 was also fun to play. I like that they split the storyline so you could “choose your own adventure” throughout the game. Super neat.

I didn’t meet my workout goal this week. I’ve had some immense pain in my hip/back again. I’m going to try to workout today and tomorrow – this still gets me 3 days of cardio. We had a game night last Saturday and I went up and down the stairs quite a bit. I think this agitated whatever the fuck is going on in my hip. Monday I was in so much pain, I was nauseas. Kevin massaged the area which helped. With the pain and BC being sick, work and studying, I didn’t quite have the time/ability to exercise like I wanted to. HOWEVER, my MO this year is: I’m doin’ the damn thing. So I will. I finna.

Time to figure out some sort of breakfast situation.

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.

323: i still exist

Hey everyone, I’m sorry it’s been so long between posts. I’ve been really busy with studying, mommying, and working – it’s been rather consuming.

I’ve been forcing myself to take breaks, exercise and do things with my husband so that I don’t crash out.

I had a tremendous wave of anxiety this morning once the house was empty and I thought about all I had to get done today.

I received an email right before the weekend from the device company stating that they are writing a third addendum in an attempt to get Doods a device. I had no idea they were still working on this, so it came as a very pleasant surprise. Behind the scenes, the device company has been advocating and working diligently to obtain the device for her. They believe in it so much that they’ve been working on it for months – and I had no idea. It’s nice for the advocate to, well, have advocates. I’ll keep y’all posted on that progress. Fingers crossed for good things!

With the help of some absolutely lovely people, we did end up getting the elliptical! I did cardio 3 x’s last week! My hip has been doing solidly OK. There has been minor discomfort BUT I can walk and do what I need to do and not feel like ripping out my leg, so I’ll take it. Baby steps.

I’m about 60% complete with the BDS modules. So I’m continuing to make progress on that. I’m passing this exam. It’s not question – I’m passing. I’m doin’ the damn thing.

I decided that’s my MO for 2018: I’m doin’ the damn thing.

I’m passing the exam. I’m working out. I’m buying a house.

I do really love this newfound goal of becoming significantly better at sign language and potentially becoming an interpreter as well as getting involved in clinical research. Knowing me, I’ll find a way to make those things happen.

I don’t know a life of watching TV. I was built to learn, I guess.

I don’t feel very well today. Sour tummy, tired. Even though I don’t feel physically great, I feel pretty solid mentally.

I was a grumpy wiferito on Saturday. So much so that I had to Mom myself – I made myself go to my room, lay down, and take a nap. It helped. A LOT. I was just real sour. Partially with good reason, but I needed that nap.

Remaining on the docket today is studying, working out, shower, work, meeting and forced family fun time. Cayden was real snuggly this morning. He’s getting so big. Sigh, my heart. It’s so cliche but truly – they grow so fast.

Okay, I need to get going on things. I just wanted to pop in and let everyone know I’m still here, I’m still kickin’. I’m just trying to stay focused on my goals and stay on the path to be successful.

I hope ya’ll are doing well. You’re here, so that’s always a good place to start ; )

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.

Also, as a side note, I just want to say that I really do mean “Thanks for stopping by. I am glad you exist.” It’s not just an automatic signature. It’s something that I type every single entry. I’m glad you came to visit my blog. I hope it’s helpful in some way. I really AM glad that you exist in this world. Thanks for living.

312: stress that spirals

It’s been rough.

This week started off as stressful and the stress has spiraled in to other emotions and issues.

I kept telling myself: it’s just stress, it’s okay, it’s manageable, it’s short term. This is stress, it’s okay, it’s manageable, it’s short term.

But stress after stress after stress started to pile up and it has turned in to body aches and a constant warding off of both anxiety and depression.

I can feel it in my body. I can feel it trying to regulate. I can feel it start to well up and then go way down. It makes me tired. It makes me a little shaky.

Having interrupted sleep because of Doods doesn’t help much, either. My body isn’t resting like it needs to.

I have a lot of visits today. I’m having a lot of anxiety about them, even though there’s absolutely no reason for it. They’re places I’ve been. I always get a peak of anxiety before I walk in somewhere. I could have gone there a million times, doesn’t matter. There’s a jump in my heart every single time.

I’m always hyper aware of what’s going on too. I guess I feel like because *I* am aware of what everyone’s doing, everyone’s aware of what *I* am doing.

Sometimes, I wish I was a little more ignorant. Maybe I would enjoy things more.

I really want to pass the exam. I really want to find a way to transport that elliptical.

I got so incredibly excited at the prospect of having an elliptical, I was super bummed when it fell through. I just need to find a truck and figure it out. With the furnace and everything, it got pushed back on the list, but it’s right back up there.

Last night, I took that break. I had my coffee. I forced love on my family. I made Boy Child and Husband play a game (Boss Monster, which is super fun by the way – I finally won!). I gave Doods lots of squeezes and read a book with her. I built more of Ninjago city, finished studying, took a shower, and watched an episode of the Grand Tour. I really do enjoy watching those three guys, so entertaining.

I am going to reward myself with a Lego set after I pass the exam. Because I’m passing the exam. I am going to pass the exam.

In my memories today, it came up from a handful of years ago that I posted about not being a good test taker. Still true. I passed my content exam and LBS-1 exams with flying colors. The GRE, on the other hand, I missed my cusp by a very narrow margin – both times. Same as the BCBA exam.

I get so frustrated when I look at those who are working as BCBAs and I go, “How did YOU pass the exam and I didn’t??” That sounds really shitty, but it’s true. I remember a doctor friend of mine once said, “Just because you can pass a test, doesn’t mean you’re good at your job. Look at how many people pass the medical exam – it doesn’t mean they’re a good doctor.” Too true. Then there’s people like me who just… have extreme difficulty getting over the hurdle of that god damned test. The BCBA exam is more stringent than the medical exam or the bar exam. *sigh*

Anxiety, stahp.

Tomorrow should be an easier day. One visit, a pop in to the bakery, and fun dinner Friday. Saturday is the second installment of Marvel movies. So I’ve got that going for me.

I should probably eat.

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.

311: goals and girl child

My posts have been dwindling to weekly as of late.

I’ve been studying like crazy, working like crazy, and mommying crazies. It’s a busy life.

Our furnace went out Monday morning, which was fun and exciting. I got very little work in before the heating guys came. I was supposed to go on all kinds of visits Tuesday. However, I stayed back in Siberia with Pupperella almost all day to cram in two days of work and a visit. This morning I had Dood’s IEP.

I am tired, guys. Physically, emotionally, brain…y. I’m tired.

I’m on Day 15 of the BDS Train. 15 days doesn’t really seem like a long time, but doing something for approximately 2-5 hours every day for 15 days ON TOP of everything else is exhausting. I don’t have time or opportunity to miss, either. I am passing this exam, damnit.

At GC’s IEP, we tried to brainstorm ways of giving her sleep meds. The only new solution to try is crushing it up and putting it in ice cream. Anything for a consistent sleep pattern. It’s really wearing on your body.

I don’t like the school social worker. Every year at her IEP I see him. Every year he comes in for about ten minutes before he is to speak, makes REALLY generic statements and leaves. I can tell that he has NO idea who my child is and really has nothing of value to say. Say your bullshit and get out, you’re not valuable to me and my daughter isn’t of value to you…. considering you don’t even use her name once in the entire time you’re speaking. I’m not an idiot. I can tell you’re just listening to prior conversation and using those bits for your “input” on how she is doing. This guy irritates me.

People like that guy irritate me and I see it all the time. I want to punch them in the face. If you don’t care, why are you there? Get out. Let someone else do it. At least have the decency to learn their name. Those of us who truly know an individual can you’re bullshitting, who do you think you’re kidding? Irritating.

The rest of the meeting went well. She is making progress on her goals. Working on addition and subtraction with regrouping, like a boss. Working on answering “Wh” questions. Working on yes/no, multiple features, and increasing functional communication. Working on writing more legibly. Working on not being a jerk and running out of the room. All necessary things

It was a rough start of the year, but it’s clearly gotten better. If there’s one thing I can attest to – white women, you need to learn how to be firm. Quit being namby pambies.

I’m not saying be mean, but be firm. Give a directive and mean it. I don’t understand why white women have difficulty asserting themselves. I told them, just tell Kaylee, “All done, time to go” in a firm, neutral voice. It works. Don’t say, “okay, time is up, let’s go Kaylee, you need to stand up, blah blah blah blah” all sing-songy. She knows better. She’s a smart kid and will lay there literally laughing at you because she’s not going anywhere.

I’m sure this carries over in to other aspects of life, as well. It’s perfectly fine to be assertive. Say no. Say that’s not okay. Because IT’S OK.

We have to come up with all kinds of ancillary strategies to support her behavior because people (a) aren’t firm and/or (b) don’t wait long enough for a response. I’m in a mood, I guess.

I’m tired. I’ve been cold. I’ve had a headache for a few days. Other things. Like I said, I just feel all kinds of tapped.

I usually walk away from my kids’ IEPs reeling with joy about how great things have been going and the direction they’re headed in, but just not really this time. I like the progress she has made. I like the direction we are going in. I’m not thrilled about her having a behavior plan, but that’s okay. It’s not the matter of having a behavior plan that’s the issue (I mean, I’m a behavior analyst, so let’s be serious), I suppose it’s… it’s not necessarily Kaylee’s fault that she has a plan. If that makes sense. They haven’t appropriately responded to/reinforced her behavior and that’s where we’re at now.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just being *that* parent.

If she needs support, she needs support. I totally get and agree with that. But like…. if you aren’t setting up and following through with your contingency, is that really her fault? She’s behaving in a way that’s expected. She is such an easy kid to read. You know exactly what she is doing and why. She knows who will allow her to engage in behaviors and who will not. They continually call on her S-deltas (meaning people who signal reinforcement is not available at this time). BUT at the SAME time – THEY are her preferred people.

So, she wants to go to the OT room. She requests the OT room. They can’t go to the OT room. She elopes to the OT room.

Teacher goes to get her. Doods knows – she’s not going any where, so she’s going to do what she needs to do to keep the teacher away from her. She ALSO knows if she hangs out in the OT room long enough, she gets attention from one of her preferred people as they tell her it’s time to go back to class.

SO, she gets to go to the OT room AND see her favorite people (even if it’s just to walk across the hall) – it’s double whammy deluxe for her. All kinds of win on her end.

All kinds of NOT win for EVERYONE ELSE INVOLVED.

Should she stay in the room? yes.

Should she not elope? yes.

Should she not kick, hit or spit at people? yes.

Should she use her communication instead of all the above? absolutely.

So we’re going to try a few things to help with the situation and see what happens. I guess I’m just annoyed that it got to this point. HOWEVER I can EASILY see how the last person you want to listen to is one of the people who pinned you to the floor shortly after you met them. So there’s that, too.

I don’t quite mind the plan as it incorporates a lot of good, solid strategies. I did express my concern about the judgement of the RBT who will be working with her… The same one who decided to put her in a restraint at the beginning of the year.

So help me, sweet golden fleecy baby jesus, if it happens again I will…. not be pleased.

The RBT ALSO filled out incorrect paperwork stating that Kaylee was in an Isolated Time Out at the start of the year…. which none of us were aware of and they are looking in to. It may be for a different kid and somehow ended up in her data (which doesn’t really bode well). OR if there WAS an ITO, I should have been notified immediately… which, since none of us knew about it, means that didn’t happen.

I’m just not too excited about that.

The BCBA and I had a nice chat after the IEP though. She wished me luck on my exam and commended my comments on Kaylee’s last proposed BSP. So that was nice.

I’m just tired. And getting progressively less cold as the new heater was installed today.

Sometimes I really wish I could just have a conversation with Kaylee.

It’s getting there. I know she understands me. I told her to be nice to her teacher. I told her to listen to her teacher. I told her not to run out of the room, stay in her classroom, and be nice to her teacher. I know she understood because she started to get sad. I told her I loved her, it’s okay, and she needs to be nice to her teacher.

I hope there’s a day where she can really tell me things. I really hope there’s a day where she spontaneously comes up to me and says I love you, Mama. or Mommy, I hurt. Or when she will tell me I want to go. or oh, that’s cool! I want that! She does it now in her own way but it’s so much different to hear it. I think and hope and work towards the day when that happens. Maybe I’m just setting myself for disappointment, but at least I can say I tried.

My kids and their success is my biggest accomplishment. I can have all the degrees, all the letters, and all the certifications but it means absolutely nothing. None of it is more meaningful than knowing I’ve gotten my kids to be their best, most independent, and happiest person they can be. That’s all that really matters anyway, right?

I think I can safely say they’re both pretty happy kids. I hope it stays that way.

I could go on, but I’ll stop.

I think I’ll make myself a cup of coffee and force love upon my children. I’ll intermittently study, but my kids are always my priority. Even though I want and need to study, spending time with my kids is the most important. I feel guilty when I don’t. Like now.

Okay, I think I’m tapped for now. I think I need to give my brain a few hour break before I have real problems.

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.

305: goals and gains

My god, 305. It’s been 305 days since I started this whole journey. Life changes dramatically and quickly.

Kevin and I were talking about that the other day.

January and February I was falling down the rabbit hole.

On March 1st, I landed.

Mid-April I started working at the bakery.

May I finished my program and married my best friend.

August I took the exam and got offered a behavior analyst position.

September I found out I failed.

October I got married again.

November I took the exam again and officially started my BA position while sadly leaving the bakery.

December I found out I failed, again.

So here we are at January 2018, still digging out from under wedding and Christmas debt, but making some headway and still plan on being in the new house by summer time. It’s absolutely and completely feasible. This is not a drill, folks.

I’m getting in the swing of this whole behavior analyst thing. It has reaffirmed a few things for me: I really like science, I enjoy working with people and I have really high ethics.

I’ve been studying my ass off because I’m going to pass this fucking exam, guys. Third time’s a charm. I’ve been redoing the BDS Modules (which are, by far, one of the worst experiences of my life). Okay let me just pause here for a second and talk about the BDS Modules.

So, here’s the thing: Behavior Analysts have a task list. This task list encompasses alllllll the things you need to know to become a BCBA. If you don’t know everything on this task list, you probably won’t become a BCBA. But it doesn’t really tell you to what degree or what specific information within that task list item you need to know… Essentially what it boils down to is: You need to know absolutely everything about, well, absolutely everything.

The BDS modules are designed to drill in vocabulary and application. The questions are written to imitate the exam. I can vouch, the questions are terrible. Terrible in that you have to be able to make the most minute discriminations to ensure you are answering correctly.

Now. The task list and ethics code have 201 items. Yes, 201 items. You need to be proficient in all 201 areas. It’s not always just ONE thing in the task list area, either. ONE task list item could encompass about 5-6 things.

The exam asks you ONE question PER task list item, essentially. There are 160 questions on the exam. Only 150 of them count. The remaining 10 are potential future test questions and don’t count. Isn’t that just swell?

Anyway, modules. BDS has, for all intents and purposes, one set of two modules for each item. You do an acquisition module followed by a fluency module. BDS guarantees that if you do every single module (acquisition and fluency) to 100% you will pass the exam or your money back. You are supposed to take your time with them over like a six month period and do them in sets of three a week or so. Really soak in that content. Get that 100%.

Nah, dog, I ain’t got time for that. Three a week? Psht, I’m doing NINE modules PER DAY. Six months? Let’s try six weeks. I don’t have time to fuck around ya’ll. Let me you: I’m nine days in to this ordeal and I am KICKING ASS. I’m actually discovering a lot of content that I didn’t quite know or understand before, so it’s been tremendously helpful.

Tremendously time-consuming, but helpful. I am passing this fucking exam.

At this point, obtaining my BCBA credential and getting in to the house are my only real goals.

Weird.

Real weird.

For so long, I’ve been pushing and pushing and pushing and… I mean, it’s paid off. I’ve accomplished some amazing things and done some really cool shit. I always have this feeling of “I have to do this now, because I may not get to in the future…. I may not have a future. DO IT NOW.” That hasn’t really changed and I still think that a lot but, really, personally? I’m not sure of what I’d like to aspire to next.

Moving the fuck out of Illinois is in the works, that’s for damn sure. Eff this cold, man. That’s a few years down the line though.

I’ve been trying to think of things I haven’t done yet and would like to do or try or accomplish…. I do want to move out of state in the future and I would still like to get my PhD (or an EdD, perhaps). That can wait till the kids are older though so I only have my handsome husband to ignore while I’m strapped to my research.

Beyond that, I…. don’t know. I picked up my guitar yesterday for the first time in ages. I need new strings and a capo. It’d be nice to utilize that outlet again. Same with doing more drawing and reading more books. I think I’m settling in to my new gig in a way that I can focus on actual exercise. I really miss having an elliptical. They’re just so damned expensive now. I loved being able to put on music or a show and exercise to it. I can’t do that now and I hate going to the gym…. It may come to that, but we shall see. I’d like to do more rock climbing and hiking this year, too. Build more legos ; D

I guess it’s okay to have small goals too. An entire collection of small goals so it’s LIKE having big goals ; ) Staying mentally healthy is a good one. I think I’m in a really good place for maintaining that…. pretty sure.

Well, I think that’s about all I got for now. I hope you’re all staying warm and safe with this crazy winter weather.

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.

298: bedtime & BATCAGE

Holy tired, Batman.

I really wish Girl Child believed in sleep. Sleep is amazing. I haven’t quite figured out WHY she wakes up in the middle of the night. If I knew WHY, then we would know HOW to attack this issue. However, we know that she won’t do a sleep study so there’s not really much of a point. We have changed her schedule a little bit in that we lock her out of her tablet around 630/7pm every night (bedtime is 830p). She’s locked in to a non-preferred app until 6am. Netflix, apparently, is significantly less motivating than the YouTubes.

When Boy Child was little, he used to get up hella early so he could have access to the iPad. Then we put a passcode on it and said we wouldn’t unlock it until after 6am. That helped him sleep through the night and stop getting up so early. However, he was able to vocalize what he wanted and why he was up.

Doods, on the other hand, does not. It’s like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks, some times. So far the tablet changes haven’t had much of an effect on her. However, I will say that putting her in Netflix results in significantly less screaming, yelling, and jumping around at stupid o’clock in the morning. I suppose there is a silver lining.

I have begun hard-core studying for the BCBA exam yet again. I’m going to pass this god damned test, y’all. With that, I get asked a lot, “So, what do you do now?” Behavior Analysis, I say. “Oh, ok…. so what is that? What do you DO?”

Excellent question, I’m glad you asked. Let me hitcha with some background knowledge.

Behavior Analysis has actually a few different parties you can hang out in: Conceptual Analysis of Behavior (CAB/Behaviorism), Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Behavior Service Delivery, and Experimental Analysis of Behavior (EAB).

To put it succinctly:

CAB examines the philosophical, theoretical, historical & methodological issues.

ABA, well, I’ll save that for last.

Behavior Service Delivery refers to people who implement ABA in their various professions like education, sports, psychology, safety, health, business, animal training, etc.

EAB is done mainly in laboratories and focuses on research on basic processes & principles.

Now, ABA, refers to socially significant behavior change. Takin’ EAB to the streets.

Having solid Lutheran upbringing, I have to ask: What does that mean?

ABA in the realm of science is still in it’s infant stages. Maybe toddler stages. ABA has been around for a handful of decades and is still experiencing some growing pains, but in a positive way. What we do as Applied Behavior Analysts is look at the behavior of living organisms in terms of antecedents and consequences. We experimentally investigate the variables that influence behavior of any living organism. Basically, we are constantly asking, “What are you doing and why?” We feel that behavior is determined by the environment, not by the mind (like traditional psychologists). The basic science is done in the labs by EAB, then ABA takes their findings and applies it in the real world.

In 1968, Baer, Wolf, and Risley set forth the 7 dimensions of ABA. These 7 dimensions serve as the primary criteria for defining and judging the value of ABA. When looking at behavior, it’s run by these criteria often times remembered by the mnemonic GET A CAB or, I prefer, nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh BATCAGE *insert Batman theme song here*

Behavioral, Applied, Technological, Conceptually Systematic, Analytic, Generality, & Effective. BATCAGE. 

Behavioral: the study of what living organisms do;  observable & measureable; think of it as measureable people science (but, not just people – can be dogs, dolphins, single-celled organisms, whatever)

Applied: socially significant behaviors; behaviors that are important to the individual and society (this can even mean helping others behave more positively towards an individual!)

Technological: defines procedures clearly and precisely; needs to be specific and complete so that a trained reader could replicate; basically this your behavior recipe – write what you do in a way that others can do it too

Conceptually Systematic: allllll the procedures should link back to the basic principles of behavior analysis

Analytic: believable demonstration of a functional relation between a behavior and its environment; show me definitively that this is the reason why you are doing what you are doing

Generality: behavior change that is durable over the test of tiiiiiiimmeeeee… and settings and behaviors and instructors ; ) meaning, the behavior will occur no matter who is presenting the task or where the behavior is supposed to occur

Effective: improving behavior in a practical, not just statistically significant, way

It’s not who I am underneath, it’s what I do that defines me” – Batman

Who knew Batman was a behavior analyst?

While ABA can be practiced with any living organisms, I solely do people science… and sometimes dog science. Whenever I’m observing someone, generating a plan, or reviewing their case, I’m going through the seven dimensions and making decisions based off of those criteria. I’m also utilizing the basic principles of science, but I’ll save that for another day.

So, to go back a little bit, a behavior we are focusing on with Doods is sleeping through the night. It’s socially significant for both her and everyone else in the house. In some cases when a person continuously doesn’t sleep through the night and makes loud noises while they are awake, it can generate all kinds of bad news on behalf of others. We lack sleep and can act out aggressively (verbally or physically), we could avoid her, fall asleep on the job, all kinds of things (which we don’t do any of those things). However, I’ve seen it in group homes where the awake individual becomes the target of aggression and isolation by others in the home. So sleep? It’s important. Being quiet at stupid o’clock in the morning? Also important. Not just for the individual, but for those who live in close quarters and/or interact with them on a regular basis.

What would not be considered socially significant?

Take, for example, a 70 year old man who has a goal of tying his shoes. At this juncture, it’s not really that important that he learns how to tie his shoes. Provide him with an alternative, like Velcro shoes, and move on to something more significant like being able to put used toilet paper in the toilet, not on the floor.

Another example would be someone who has cerebral palsy and cannot open their hands having a goal of handwriting their name. It’s not necessarily an appropriate goal for that individual as they have physical limitations to performing that goal. This could be something addressed by occupational therapy. We could help them learn to identify their name or to recognize places where a signature is necessary and to use a name stamp in that place, but physical handwriting just doesn’t make sense for that individual.

Of course, this is just an overview but I hope it brings a little bit of clarity to the basics of ABA and what I do. I watch you do things and try to figure out why you’re doing what you’re doing – what’s got control over your behavior. Then use that to my maniacal advantage… for good, of course.  ; )

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.