Nicole Kurtz, Author at Cultivate Behavioral Health & Education - ABA Therapy

Diversity Equity and Inclusion Initiative

At Cultivate, we value the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion, and what they offer to ensure that we provide quality services to our families/clients/patients.  We also appreciate the wonderful characteristics each of us brings to our team. 

As part of our responsibility to provide the best quality services and build a robust and effective team, we are collaborating with a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) consultant to offer their expertise and support our efforts to be excellent in everything we do and recognized as the most admired ABA therapy company.

Our Leadership Team is excited to introduce Dr. Kazique Prince, Founder and CEO of Jelani Consulting, LLC, to our team and he will serve as our DEI consultant. He brings over 25 years of experience working with business, nonprofit, and government organizations including as Senior Policy Advisor to Mayor Steve Adler at the City of Austin. 

We are excited about this opportunity and look forward to ongoing efforts to build our diversity, equity, and inclusion acumen over the coming months.

Our Tenets of Care: Diversity | Equity | Inclusion

• We are people who seek kindness and aim to create a purpose-driven environment.

• We meet our families where they are and lift each other up.

• We treat our patients and their families with dignity, compassion and respect.

• We provide coordinated care, support and treatment.

• We work to support our patients and develop their strengths and abilities to improve their overall quality of life.

• By supporting our patients and developing their strengths and abilities, we help improve their overall quality of life – from start to finish.

Learn more about our vision and mission at Cultivate.

Let’s Look at the Data!

Using an Evidence-Based Approach to Make Progress

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based approach for creating significant positive behavior change. In our daily work as clinicians (BCBAs, RBTs, and BTs) we collect data on a variety of behaviors. We may carry clipboards with pen and paper, timers, utilize one of the many data collection apps, or even iPads to do so.

As clinicians, we collect data on behaviors we want to improve (skill acquisition) such as a child’s conversations with peers, how well they can dress themselves, to even measuring a child’s performance on receptive skills such as following instructions. We also collect it on behaviors that may impede a child’s ability to learn or work in a less restrictive environment, such as aggression, elopement, or even property destruction. Further, data may be collected on numerous dimensions of behavior such as frequency, duration, latency to respond, and specific steps in a chain of behaviors such as hand washing.

How is Data Useful for ABA Therapy?

Data collection begins from the moment we learn that we will be working with a child, we review their developmental history, treatment history, progress, and parent concerns. The first time we meet a child during their initial assessment we measure their skill repertoire by utilizing any one of several skills assessments (e.g., VB-MAPP, PEAK, AFLS, etc.) while also collecting baseline data on behaviors we need to increase or decrease. All of this information drives what individualized goals we develop to help a client reach their potential in conjunction with behavior data and parent input.

Data collection must be on-going, accurate, and analyzed regularly if it is to be useful. We also use data to help determine if the interventions we have put in place are effective or if we need to modify our intervention (data-based decisions). It is also important to remember that our credentialing Board, the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB), includes a section on the use of and collection of data, in the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts (2014).

Numerous research articles have focused on the accuracy and reliability of data collection and training of staff to collect data, many of which can be found in our field’s flagship journal, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, among other publications.

However, with all of this in mind, as we as professionals are collecting data, we keep in mind that we are working with and supporting an individual who is more than numbers and that the decisions that we make will have a powerful impact on not only their daily lives but their future outcomes.

Learn More

Learn more about what you can expect with your child’s ABA program, visit our webpage “What is ABA?”

Ready to get started? Fill out an intake form to start the conversation.

Sensory Processing Crafts

What is Sensory Input?

A sensory/automatically maintained behavior is a behavior we engage in that is not socially mediated. We do it because it simply feels good to us. Whether the sensory-seeking behavior is common or uncommon, we all engage in some form of it. This can be listening to music, scratching an itch, biting nails, fidgeting, or squeezing a pillow. Sometimes we don’t even realize we are doing it!

Creating a sensory focused environment

You can incorporate different sensory activities into your child’s day-to-day life with ease and often with common things found around the house. Just think of fun activities to stimulate the senses! Set up sensory bins filled with rice and beans for a cool tactile activity or make a sparkle bottle for a mesmerizing visual experience. You can even cuddle up with a weighted blanket while watching one of our story-time videos with your child.

Creating new sensory opportunities for your child can even help them expand into new experiences. With the help of your BCBA, you can help your picky eater try new foods, your home-body tolerate being in a busy community setting, or even help your child play with a new toy!

If you are interested in learning more about ABA therapy, please visit our What is ABA Therapy page. You’ll also find articles written by our BCBA and BT staff in our blog series, Learning ABA.

We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite activities you can make with supplies from around your house.

DIY Sparkle Bottle

Sensory bottles are an inexpensive DIY-craft activity you can make with items you probably already have laying around your house! These bottles are an amazing tool to calm an anxious mind, for sensory processing, for learning and exploring. You’ll need an old plastic bottle, glitter, beads and some food coloring. Follow along with our video to make one of your own.

Once your bottle is complete, get shaking and enjoy the show! Follow along with our one-minute tutorial video here.

Homemade Sensory Slime

Supplies:

  • A Bottle Washable Non-Toxic Glue
  • 1 Tsp Borax
  • 1 Cup water
  • Spatula
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Food Coloring

Directions:

  1. Pour 1-2 bottles of Glue into a mixing bowl
  2. Make “Activator” solution by mixing 1 tsp Borax and 1 cup of water in a separate measuring cup
  3. Add food coloring to the glue for a fun color!
  4. Slowly add in a little bit of Activator at a time while stirring until the glue is no longer sticky and becomes “slime.”
  5. Remove slime from the bowl and knead together with your hands!

*Optional Step: You can knead in glitter, confetti, jelly foam cubes, colored beads, or other fun “mix-ins” to add texture and creativity to your slime.

Store in a resealable bag when not in use. Enjoy playing with your homemade slime!!

Sensory Snow

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow! Grab the kids and get ready to have SNOW much fun. Check out the link below for 6 easy ways to make sensory table snow! Explore a variety of materials and textures from sparkling sand, cotton balls, shaving cream and corn starch, soap, and potato flakes.  

Quick and easy indoor fun for the entire family!  

Get started here. https://www.prekinders.com/snow-sensory-table/  

Looking for more crafts and activities? Visit our Pinterest page! www.pinterest.com/cultivatebhe/    

More Resources from Cultivate

Cultivate offers many free resources to the community, including parent trainings and support groups, guidance on insurance and diagnostic processes, and referrals to other community services through our Community Outreach team. Many of these resources are available right here on our website or through contacting your local Community Outreach Coordinator.

Virtual Santa Event!

It’s almost Christmas! Break out the stockings, candy canes, and presents – join us for our Virtual Santa Event! In order to spread holiday cheer to our kiddos across our regions, we are hosting two virtual visits on December 17th. Welcome Santa into your homes though of Telehealth and Microsoft Teams.

If your child has session on December 17th, they will have the opportunity to participate in our Virtual Santa Event, but we’d like to open the event to all families regardless!

These visits will be in the format of a Microsoft Teams webinar. Though Santa may not be able to see or hear everyone, kiddos will have the ability to interact with Santa through the chat feature.

If you and your child are interested in attending, please login to the meeting that best suits your schedule. We look forward to spreading some ho-ho-holiday magic!

Register Here for Cultivate’s Virtual Santa Event!

12:30-1:30 CST: https://tinyurl.com/yc3plc2d

3:30-4:30 CST: https://tinyurl.com/yabvzsmx

Cultivate Telehealth Services

Through Telehealth we can continue to maintain the gains of your child’s treatment and overcome any obstacle that may arise. As an organization, we are committed to helping our patients lead independent productive lives, and this medium will allow us to do just that! We are able to provide different types of services such as parent trainings, 1:1 therapy, and social groups.

Pivotal Behaviors

If you’re a practitioner, you should read (or reread) the post (Behavioral Cusps) on 4.1.16. It’ll help you understand the differences. If you’re a parent, you likely only have time to read one thing at the moment, so I’ll make Pivotal Behaviors as clear and as entertaining as I can. To review very briefly the prior post, a behavioral cusp is essentially a behavior change that has consequences beyond the change itself (as defined by Rosales-Ruiz & Baer).

In this post, we will introduce pivotal behaviors – you should continue to read this post because pivotal behaviors matter. They’ll help your kiddos significantly given that they will help you emphasize teaching your children the most important skills. I’ll define a pivotal behavior as one that, when learned, causes other changes in different behavior WITHOUT additional teaching. GREAT for both the learner and teacher right? One example of a pivotal behavior is learning observationally from peers. I’m FANATICAL over observational learning because it’s the type of thing that you teach if you would rather not teach everything. What do I mean? I’ll explain more. 

Today, I’ll assume the responsibility for explaining what learning observationally looks like at home. Observational learning occurs when someone imitates behavior or otherwise learns from others by observing. This has become important to us as parents and practitioners because while many of us seem to pick up observational skills “naturally,” we do have kiddos that, at times, are not as motivated to learn from those around them. These children have needed extra support and reinforcement for looking at their peers and imitating at the right times. In other words, observational learning is not always natural and may require direct instruction.

Our Services

At Cultivate, we work on the skills that matter most in your child’s life. We focus on treatment goals that will create socially significant change for your family and equip your child for success as they grow. Learn more about our social group opportunities and other services.