Let’s continue the discussion of change to No Limits and ABA in general. The only way there is going to be more changes to the field is if we DO talk about it. We share our kids progress. We inspire families to speak up more to their providers. We make this a revolution in this field. Because this needs to happen.
I was talking to one of our behavior tech’s this morning and she has some friends in other states that work in the ABA field. They tell her stories of having bite marks all down their arms. Or bruises from being hit or kicked. Or how they prepare for their sessions to be unsafe or how their supervisors tell them that their clients will be aggressive just because. I was shocked. Appalled too in so many ways. This is NOT how it should be. When she decided to work for our company, she was asked by friends and family if she was ready to take a hit. And this is when I turn to Dr. Hanley’s words,
“…we shouldn’t be proud of the fact that we can take a hit. We should be proud of the fact that we can deal with behaviors that other people would find difficult and we do it routinely. We need to check ourselves and know who we are. We are teachers. We are coaches. We are people who can teach people how to live a better life. And what we have learned in the last couple years is we can do this without touching kids. We can do this where they have complete control and autonomy in the process, and they can elect to participate in our therapeutic processes or not. And by so doing, we can minimize escalation and any of these others things we are known for.”
This. So much this. At our center, we do not have to lay a hand on our kids to help them, to show them how to communicate and not have maladaptive behaviors. Our sessions are safe and due to our methodologies we do not plan for them to be unsafe.
Recently we had to tweak one of our kids steps, because he had a day where he almost rose to elevated behavior levels. Rather than accepting these frequency counts of behaviors, we spent the entire morning re-working the process so that it’s safe and we figured out what step was difficult for this client and backed it up so he could learn and master an even smaller skill level before progressing more. The afternoon session went amazing as a result.
We don’t accept severe problem behavior as a frequency count and then decide if there was an acceptable amount of them. Zero is the only acceptable number.
To make this massive change in our practice, it all starts with a functional analysis, which is what I keep going back to. Every treatment plan and behavior plan should begin with a full functional analysis (FA) with test and control conditions. I don’t understand how our field got away from this when it’s the cornerstone of treatment. If your child has not had a functional analysis (note I’m not saying functional behavior assessment, that’s a three part process that in the end should finish with the functional analysis- most FBA’s only contain two parts, they don’t finish with the FA). If your child has not had one, push, question, educate. Your child deserves the same trauma informed care, the same safe ABA sessions. They deserve the respect we show them by figuring out exactly why they are acting the way they are acting and not guessing and providing arbitrary reinforcement and treatment plans. We must do better. We must change.
This change we have made has changed everything. It’s not been easy, it’s taking many, many hours of work and training for our entire center and staff. But our children deserve it. They deserve safe, respectful, trauma informed care.
I will not stop sharing. I will not stop talking about this. With our science, we DO know better and we MUST do better.
As always, with No Limits we do this in memory of our boy Kreed who taught us how to truly live, and now I do better for his legacy.

Change in ABA continued