Promoting independence, enhancing quality of life
The Guild School uses empirically validated behavior support practices to promote independence and enhance quality of life for students. These practices are developed through the systematic application of interventions based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). The Guild recognizes ABA as an evidence-based treatment approach that utilizes behavioral principles to change socially significant behaviors in meaningful ways.
What is Applied Behavior Analysis?
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based practice aligned with the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework that applies learning theory and behavioral principles to socially significant behaviors such as communications, social skills, activities of daily living, academic skills, and replacing problem behaviors with adaptive and pro-social skills.
Functional Behavior Assessments
Skilled clinicians, in collaboration with caregivers, teachers, residential house managers and other professionals within The Guild community, develop behavior support plans for each student. To inform development of this plan, a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) is completed to identify specific behaviors of concern, the context in which those behaviors occur and the factors that maintain or reinforce the behaviors. Once this is complete, a function-based behavior support plan is written to decrease or eliminate behaviors of concern and to increase positive replacement behaviors.
Interventions are selected from a model that prioritizes positive behavior supports and the least-restrictive procedures necessary to produce socially significant behavior change. A variety of behavioral support practices, with increasing levels of intensity, are clearly defined and considered when developing individual behavior support plans. The Guild does not use time outs (exclusionary or seclusion) or restraints (physical, mechanical, or chemical) as a behavioral intervention.
Behavior Support Plans
Behavior Support Plans require the development of enriched environments that promote three approaches to behavior management: antecedent-based interventions, teaching programs that target replacement behaviors and consequence-based strategies that elevate rewards for replacement behaviors and eliminate rewards for problem behaviors. By addressing all three areas, a behavior support plan renders targeted problem behaviors irrelevant, inefficient and ineffective.
Behaviors are relevant for individuals when they provide them with access to positive events or when they result in the removal of aversive or non-preferred events. Behavior clinicians work to make these behaviors irrelevant by coordinating with classrooms and residences to implement Antecedent-Based Interventions. These interventions arrange and adjust the learning environment prior to the occurrence of a problem behavior to create a setting that promotes and prompts appropriate and expected behaviors.
A successful behavior support plan will explicitly identify and teach individuals new skills and adaptive behaviors identified in a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA). By teaching skills that provide an alternate path to obtaining the desired reinforcer and by selecting replacement behaviors that require less effort and provide more reliable access to the desired reinforcer, problem behaviors become an inefficient path to that same reinforcer and the new skills are strengthened.
Problem behaviors become ineffective for individuals when they no longer follow the pathway to the desired reinforcer. When problem behaviors are no longer followed by the rewarding consequence and when appropriate behaviors are rewarded, the occurrence of the problem behavior decreases in favor of effective behaviors.
Behavior goals and progress monitoring
The goal of behavior support practices at The Guild is to teach students socially adaptive and appropriate behavior that they can generalize across all settings. Interventions and behavioral programming must move the student toward greater independence, rather than creating a dependency on external systems that cannot be replicated or supported in other settings.
Behavior clinicians monitor student progress on individualized goals by measuring reductions in problem behaviors and increases in alternative skills. In addition, progress may be monitored by measuring quality-of-life indicators such as interpersonal relations, social inclusion and emotional well-being.
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a tiered implementation framework for maximizing the selection and use of evidence-based prevention and intervention practices that support the academic, social, emotional and behavioral competence of all students.