What happens next? Did Timmy learn to tie his shoes in time for school? Watch the next Episode to find out! Keepin' It 100 is a practical web series by Cultivate Behavioral Health & Education designed to help parents and practitioners learn and apply the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Keepin' It 100 is designed to be a series of 100 videos, each roughly 100 seconds in length over 100 days.

Keepin’ It 100: Episode 25

Developmental Appropriate Practice (DAP) essentially means that we’re targeting skills as BCBAs and BTs that a learner should be able to acquire given their age. Keep in mind however, that every learner is different. As BCBAs and BTs, we want to challenge our learners, yet we never want to expect more from them than is developmentally appropriate. There are certain behaviors and skills that children are more developmentally ready to acquire at certain stages of their childhood. 

For example, you heard our story of teaching Timmy how to tie his shoes. That’s a powerful example of how important it is to target skills and behaviors at the right time developmentally. I’ll give you another example. Often times BCBAs that do not have an understanding of development, will write goals for toddlers to stop engaging in tantrum behavior for example. Well, while that’s admirable, the expectation that a toddler will not tantum at all is unrealistic. All toddlers tantrum. That’s a fact. We should never expect a toddler with ASD or ADHD to not tantrum simply because they have an FBA and we’re BCBAs and because of that, they’ll not tantrum. That’s crazy.

At Cultivate, we utilize typical peers during therapy sessions for a couple reasons. One, it’s great for our learners to have peer models for the skills that are found within their Skill Acquisition Plans. Second, it keeps us as BCBAs grounded during the ABA program because we can observe how the typical peers are performing. My daughter Juliana participates as a typical peer. She’s with another kiddo her age and both of them tantrum. In fact, Juliana might tantrum more than her buddy during the session. That tells me that if my learner tantrums, it’s not atypical, therefore we should not expect that he would never ever tantrum. The main idea is that we’re mindful of what skills we’re targeting during an ABA program. BCBAs and BTs are not usually trained in child development. One quick and easy thing that you can do: get yourself a developmental chart. These are hugely helpful when trying to determine how development should unfold. This will assist you as BCBAs and BTs as you continue creating and refining the ABA programs for your learners.

Contact us if you’d like more individualized support or have questions regarding the post! We serve clients throughout Central Texas, including Austin, Bee Cave, Buda, Cedar Park, College Station, Dripping Springs, Lakeway, Leander, and Spicewood. We also provide telemedicine services throughout the country.