So, I am one semester away from student teaching for my M.Ed/LBS I, and am getting ready to apply for a BCBA cert. program. Granted that I haven't started my BCBA program, but I've done a fair amount of research on programs, and work in the field --> therefore have met plenty of BCBAs. Had some thoughts on discrepancies between the preparing candidates for the applied fields of special education in the public schools and behavior analysis. I think that, at the end of the day, we are all actually more similar in that we are educators than different in the approaches we may take.
1) SPED people get a lot of disabilities training and study, not so much in BCBA training. Counter argument that not all BCBAs want to work with children with disabilities -- fine, but for the ones that do, they need more. Shouldn't be news to an MA, BCBA that the brain of a child with autism has more white than grey matter...
2) SPED people get a lot of training in classroom environments and classroom management. BCBAs have a fantastic understanding of how environmental changes really impact learning and responding, why do SPED people get so much classroom environment stuff that says very little about specific environmental manipulations? Why do BCBAs not get more training on how to help teachers with this
3) BCBAs completely under trained to go into IEP meetings. Don't understand procedural safe-guards, teachers usually well trained, but not to work with BCBAs on an IEP team.
4) SPED folks get a lot of learning theory and pedagogy and assessment, have yet to meet a BCBA who knows the difference between formative and summative assessment. In this same breath, really difficult for BCBAs to evaluate academic curriculum and consumer progress. If BCBAs go into classroom, they should have at least a basic understanding of evidence-based content curriculum because, more so than not, the kiddos who are having behavioral difficulties are having them because of academic demands. Too many problems on a page --> hit staff, etc.
5) SPED folks get little to no formal training on behavior management from a functional standpoint. Additionally, they get no training on how to, in a class period, be able to identify potential functions at that specific time they are seeing maladaptive BX and respond with appropriate consequences/teach a functionally equivalent replacement behavior.
6) Where both camps need improvement -- Positive Behavior Supports. I am always shocked and saddened when I hear either a teacher or BCBA talk about how difficult it is to help one individual kid when they have 30 kids in their classroom. Tier II PBS interventions are fantastic classroom management systems, even when taken out of the context of a more broad School-Wide PBS system. Group those contingencies, make everyone pay into your token system, catch peers in appropriate behaviors and make it look so much better to be doing the right thing than the wrong. Additionally, I find it disheartening when I see small, clinic based groups of 3-4 kids that I hear are "unmanageable."
That's all I got for now. I'll use these thoughts and think of a follow-up for potential directions for the future.