You know you are a behavior analyst when…

By Emaley McCulloch, M.Ed., BCBA

bSci21 Contributing Writer

You know you are a behavior analyst when…

you are making a behavior plan in your head for the kid in front of you in the grocery store line.

you compare bruises and bite marks at dinner parties.

you demand data.

your trunk is full of toys, binders and index cards.

you get a high from graphing data.

you quote Skinner at family dinners.

you can masterfully cut starbursts into 1/8ths.

you consider running into Dick Malott, Pat Friman, or Julie Vargas as “celebrity sightings.”

ABC does not just denote the beginning of the alphabet.

your significant other says, “Are you trying to behavioralize me.” 

you have graphs, rather than pictures, of your children on the refrigerator.

you refer to getting naked as “disrobing.”

“eloping” doesn’t only mean running off and getting married. 

you roll your eyes when someone mixes up negative reinforcement and punishment…again.

you don’t “ignore” your annoying co-worker; you put him on “extinction.”

Can you think of any others?  Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to subscribe to bSci21 via email to receive the latest articles directly to your inbox!

*Note: Contributions from Amanda Kelly, Coby Lund, Stephen Eversole, Amy Wiech, Erin Carr-Jordan, Patricia Wright

Emaley-McCulloch2Emaley McCulloch, M.Ed, BCBA co-founded Autism Training Solutions, LLC in  2008, and is currently the Vice President of Relias Institute at Relias Learning. Relias Learning is the premier provider of online health care training for Health and Human Services, Senior Care and Public Safety. Emaley is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and holds an MA in Special Education. She has served in the field of ABA for over 18 years and has provided and overseen services to individuals between the ages of 18 months to 24 years in homes, schools and clinical settings. For eight years she served as a consultant and supervisor at agencies based in Hawaii and Japan where she trained groups of professionals and parents. Emaley’s passion is elearning, staff training, dissemination of evidenced-based interventions, research, film and videography and using technology in the field of behavior analysis and special education.  You can contact her at [email protected].

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16 Comments on "You know you are a behavior analyst when…"

  1. Marlene Breitenbach | November 6, 2015 at 12:50 pm | Reply

    You know you’re an Autism Consultant/Specialist when……………
    • you put your child’s first bid for Joint Attention under milestones in his/her baby book.
    • you have written a program called “accepting no”…. for your partner
    • you create a behaviour plan for your dog.
    • you keep asking kids/ questions…..even though you already know the answers
    • your husband can write a behavioural intervention plan for your cats using correct behavioural
    • your meal plan at home very much resembles a file folder game.
    • you have to stop yourself from verbally reinforcing sales clerks for pro-social behavior
    • you start to notice autistic characteristics in all your friends and family members 🙂
    • you look closely at all behaviors in your house (including husband, kids and dogs), to see if you
    can determine the function of the behavior
    • you have your own Activity Schedule for Saturdays
    • you perform discrete trials with everyone you meet, which can be kind of embarrassing at
    dinner parties…
    • you have written a social story for the school administration called “Responding Politely to
    Parent Concerns”
    • you have changed the words to “Old MacDonald” to EO, EO, EO
    • there are more items in your “Hidden Curriculum” than in the regular curriculum
    • Toilet Training 101 is your favorite course
    • your roller blades are on their second set of wheels
    • extinction burst is what you do at the end of the day
    • you can’t seem to leave work without physical prompts
    • you catch yourself differentially reinforcing the cat for neat eating
    • you have task analyzed Knock Knock Jokes
    • you have begun to immediately echo your coworker’s questions
    • you have developed an increasing resistance to change
    • you have a BIG tantrum when you lose your visual supports (calendar?)
    • you have your own Power Cards for making it through difficult meetings
    • you find yourself commenting to your friends who have typically developing children, “Wow!!
    Did you see how she just generalized across people? AMAZING!”
    • you are willing to travel 400 miles with an hour ferry ride (each way) to spend a day with other
    people who love to talk about “autism.”
    • Your 2-year old daughter holds a rattle above her newborn brother’s head, and states: “When
    you stop crying, you can have it.”
    • you divide birthday party activities into the categories: structured group activities, fine motor
    activities, and gross motor activities.
    • when you are too busy to think of a one liner

  2. Wow Marlene! These are awesome! “you have written a program called “accepting no”…. for your partner” Ha ha! That is so funny!

  3. You’re a behavior analyst when you can’t fight the urge to correct people when they use the phrase “putting people on extinction. ” We put behaviors on extinction 🙂

  4. You have made a school administrator cry during an FBA/BIP meeting.
    You notice your children differentially reinforcing the pets.
    You graph your weight lose and plot a trend line.

  5. Zach Shoemaker | November 7, 2015 at 10:40 am | Reply

    -When a Direct Care Staff asks why they should reinforce the client for something they should be doing anyways? And you respond “ok, the next time you get a pay raise, simply tell your boss that you’re just doing you job and reject the pay increase”.
    -when you get in a bar fight and your colleagues refer to you as a Board Certified Bad Ass.
    -when you ask school district who developed the Behavior Plan with a 1-2-3 magic intervention and you are told the Teachers Aide was responsible for the Plan Development.

  6. You know you are a behaviour analyst when you use most to least prompting on your husband in order to promote compliance on daily task demands..such as laundry…or cleaning his office. And sometimes extinction when he is rattling off about computers.

  7. You know you’re a bcba when…your necklace is a stopwatch.

  8. Corey L. Robertson | November 8, 2015 at 8:09 pm | Reply

    You can find more examples on my behaviorguy facebook page post from May 2011, and in the IGNITE presentation I recently did at FABA “You Might Be a Behavior Analyst If…”

  9. I am married to a behavior analyst! I think I should start a list . . .. “you know you are married to a behavior analyst when . . .”

  10. When you scatterplot your newborn’s naps and feedings.

  11. …you cite skinner, or JABA articles in comments on buzzfeed…

  12. When you call temper tantrums “extinction bursts”; your “bible” is white and written by Cooper, Heron, and Heward; you’ve drawn the “positive / negative – reinforcement/punishment four square chart” more times than you can count; and probe, trial, and stem mean something very different to you.

  13. -When your neurotypical children come home at night and discuss the reinforcement needs within their classroom to help the kiddos with “anger issue”.
    -when your neurotypical child IS the reinforcer that is brought to class to play when work has been done.
    -when my entire family can quote CPI strategies and implement disengagement strategies without thinking.
    -when your injured and the office wants a description of the “assault”- he was poorly,regulating his emotions….we don’t typically use the word assault.

  14. Brianne Knighton | June 5, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Reply

    When you toddler uses first-then contingencies on you!
    When your significant other uses behavior specific praise.
    When your Saturday night is spent scoring assessments.

  15. behavior gal | June 10, 2016 at 2:32 am | Reply

    One, does not simply “put a coworker on extinction” — one puts his BEHAVIOR on extinction!!!!

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