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Using ABA to Stay Healthy and Helpful During a Pandemic

The science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is cool for many reasons, one of the main reasons being that we can use the science to target a change in any behavior. People often think that ABA therapy is solely focused on reducing problem behavior, which is a part of ABA therapy, but ABA principles can also be used to target an increase in desirable behavior. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Behavioral Progression recognized that we could use the science of ABA to help the community increase healthy behaviors. This led to the initiation of the #StayHealthyStayHelpful campaign. The #StayHealthyStayHelpful campaign was launched in April 2020 with the focus of providing behavior-analytic information, tips, resources, and materials to Behavioral Progression team members and the community in order to help promote engagement in behaviors that would contribute to healthy living. The healthier our team could remain, the more helpful we could continue to be when working with our client families and the community at large.

Team Member Involvement

Initially, the #StayHealthyStayHelpful campaign was centered around Behavioral Progression team member involvement. Behavioral Progression knew that we played an important role in ensuring our clients’ needs were met during the pandemic by continuing to provide essential ABA services. We wanted to ensure our team members were safely able to provide services. Behavioral Progression provided supplies, packages of masks, sanitizer, wipes, etc. to team members so they were able to stay healthy while out in the field.

Behavioral Progression wanted team members to have a way to contribute their ABA knowledge to the campaign as well, which led to the #StayHealthyStayHelpful team competition. During this competition Behavioral Progression team members submitted tips, as many tips as desired, to help the team and our community engage in healthy behaviors. These tips included things like keeping hand sanitizer clipped to your clipboard that had a preferred scent so you would be more likely to use it or removing shoes outside before going into the home. Tips were shared amongst the team as well as with the community via social media (you can check out the tips on our company Facebook). At the end of the competition, team members voted on their favorite tips submitted, and the winner was related to teaching children to wash their hands: Make hand washing a competition (i.e. who can do it better, not fastest) with their kiddo.

Guide to Teaching Mask Wearing

Throughout the summer, as official mask mandates began to be issued and talk of going back to school in person occurred, Behavioral Progression once again wanted to help our community #StayHealthyStayHelpful. This led to the development of a free resource - Guide to Teaching Mask Wearing (download the full PDF below) - for parents, caregivers, and teachers. This Guidebook includes basic ABA strategies and tips that can be used to increase the likelihood that children put on and continue to wear their mask. While these basic strategies and tips can be useful, specific mask wearing tolerance programs can be developed within ABA services for a more individualized approach. Our team seeks to help individuals and families, as well as the broader community.

Future Endeavors

Since ABA is open to a world of possibilities with all the behaviors that can be targeted using our science, Behavioral Progression will continue to contribute to the community by continuing to develop the #StayHealthyStayHelpful campaign and resources. In fact, this is just the beginning. Besides wearing a mask there are so many things that can be done to stay healthy, including in the areas of medical health, physical health, mental health, and so on. Being the healthiest version of yourself helps you to contribute your best, which in turn leads to helping those around you. Stay tuned for future information from Behavioral Progression on how to continue to #StayHealthyStayHelpful.

Download the complete Guide to Teaching Mask Wearing below.

SHSH Guide to Teaching Mask Wearing
Download PDF • 29.43MB

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About the author

Stephanie Thornburgh is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). After writing a research paper on autism in a high school English class, Stephanie began volunteering with children with autism. This experience led Stephanie to babysitting children with autism, where she eventually discovered ABA when a mom recommended she become a behavior analyst. Stephanie looked into the field of ABA and never looked back! Stephanie has been with Behavioral Progression since 2019. Not only does Stephanie provide training and supervision to therapists, but she also has the important role of providing training and support to other behavior analysts in the company. Stephanie is passionate about using her ABA knowledge and experience to help her clients and co-workers meet their goals!

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