A self-help group for BCBAs working on a proverbial island.


Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D

bSci21Media, LLC

Brett DiNovi, M.A., BCBA

Brett DiNovi & Associates

“I feel like I’m working on an island.”

It is a phrase heard all-too-often by Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) delivering Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services.  The effect is particularly seen when doing in-home or school-based autism treatment. The community and colleagues found in center-based services often times just aren’t there in other forms of ABA.

However, the leading ABA agency on the east coast – Brett DiNovi & Associates – is doing something about that.  Their BCBA “self-help groups” provide a forum for behavior analysts to come together and share the challenges they face in their day-to-day work in the field.  Brett DiNovi, CEO of the company, said the group is a place “to be yourself and talk about real issues.”  It is a place to connect with other behavior analysts – to receive support when facing ethical dilemmas, and to get a fresh perspective on your own cases.

In the video above, we see a BCBA discussing a situation he enocuntered during an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting.  A member of the IEP team, comprised of other human service professionals, parents, and school administrators, recommended a particular treatment for the child that he felt wasn’t evidence based.  Needless to say, this put the BCBA in an awkward situation, and he sought out advice on how to handle the situation in the self-help group.

After voicing his concerns to the group, members pointed out that it is always important to see how other team members are using treatment terms.  After all, the disparate backgrounds of members on interdisciplinary teams sometimes means things get lost in translation. But by seeing through the labels to look at the actual procedures, one can better evaluate the extent to which the proposed treatment aligned with behavioral principles.  In the end, you may be able to avoid a team conflict that might affect the productivity of the team and, ultimately, the progress of the child.

As another example, a BCBA told of her experience going to a house to observe a Registered Behavioral Technician (RBT) working with a young learner.  Unbeknownst to the behavior analyst, the parents knew it was her birthday, sang her a song, and gave her a gift card.  Obviously, accepting gifts violates the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts, but the group found a clever way around it – she spent the money on program materials for her client.

To hear about other situations that came up during the self-help group, be sure to check out the full video, and to subscribe to Brett DiNovi’s YouTube channel and let him know what you would like to see from him in the future!

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is the President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC, which owns the top behavior analytic media outlet in the world, bSci21.org.  bSci21Media aims to disseminate behavior analysis to the world and to support ABA companies around the globe through the Behavioral Science in the 21st Century blog and its subsidiaries, bSciEntrepreneurial, bSciWebDesign, bSciWriting, bSciStudios and the ABA Outside the Box CEU series.  Dr. Ward received his PhD in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno under Dr. Ramona Houmanfar.  He has served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and as an Editorial Board member of Behavior and Social Issues.  Dr. Ward has also provided ABA services to children and adults with various developmental disabilities in day centers, in-home, residential, and school settings, and previously served as Faculty Director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas.  Dr. Ward is passionate about disseminating behavior analysis to the world and growing the field through entrepreneurship. Todd can be reached at [email protected]


Brett DinoviBrett DiNovi, M.A., BCBA has the unique and distinguished experience of studying the principles of applied behavior analysis under the rigorous scrutiny of both Dr. Julie S. Vargas (formerly Skinner) and Dr. E.A. Vargas at West Virginia University’s internationally recognized program. For the past 26 years, Brett has used behavior analytic principles to create large scale change across school districts, Fortune 500 companies using principles of Organizational Behavior Management (OBM), and across individual learners. Brett has been a OBM consultant in Morgantown WV, an instructor at West Virginia University, a guest lecturer at numerous universities, a speaker on multiple Comcast Newsmakers TV programs, an expert witness in due process hearings, has publications in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, and has been in in executive leadership positions across schools and residential programs nationwide. In addition to an award from South Jersey Biz Magazine for “Best Places to Work,” an award for “Best of Families” in Suburban Magazine, and the distinguished “Top Ranked U.S. Executives” award, Brett’s proudest accomplishment is being a role model and father for his daughter and two stepchildren (one of which has autism). Brett can be reached at [email protected]

*Paid content by Brett DiNovi & Associates.

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