Practical Access Podcast

S3 E4: Applied Behavior Analysis & Executive Function Tips with Eleazar Vasquez, Ph.D., BCBA-D

October 07, 2020 Photo by Julie Molliver on Unsplash
Practical Access Podcast
S3 E4: Applied Behavior Analysis & Executive Function Tips with Eleazar Vasquez, Ph.D., BCBA-D
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Practical Access Podcast
S3 E4: Applied Behavior Analysis & Executive Function Tips with Eleazar Vasquez, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Oct 07, 2020
Photo by Julie Molliver on Unsplash

In today's episode, Drs. Rebecca Hines and Lisa Dieker sit down with Dr. Trey Vasquez.
Dr. Vasquez serves as a Professor and also the Director of the Exceptional Student Education, Toni Jennings Exceptional Education Institute at the University of Central Florida. In this podcast, Dr. Vasquez will share practical tips to help increase executive function skills for students and also an overview of the field of Applied Behavior Analysis.


Show Notes Transcript

In today's episode, Drs. Rebecca Hines and Lisa Dieker sit down with Dr. Trey Vasquez.
Dr. Vasquez serves as a Professor and also the Director of the Exceptional Student Education, Toni Jennings Exceptional Education Institute at the University of Central Florida. In this podcast, Dr. Vasquez will share practical tips to help increase executive function skills for students and also an overview of the field of Applied Behavior Analysis.


Lisa Dieker:

Welcome to practical access. I'm Lisa dieker.

Rebecca Hines:

And I'm Rebecca Heinz. And Lisa, today, we get to talk to our friend and colleague, Dr. Trey Vasquez, and I'm looking forward to a spirited discussion about behavior.

Trey Vasquez:

When we those Thanks for having me.

Lisa Dieker:

Well, yeah, and Trey, you know, you've you're not only a great friend and a colleague, but you're also a certified behavioral analyst, you have a doctorate in special ed, you've taught, you run our Tony Jennings exceptional Education Institute. Did I miss anything on it? Oh,

Trey Vasquez:

my highlights. I've been playing around the field for the last 17 years and enjoying my time with you guys. Thanks for having me.

Lisa Dieker:

We're excited. Yeah, like today's behavior. Becky, what do you want to ask? I'm gonna let you kick

Rebecca Hines:

it off. Well, I have a lot of questions. I have a lot of questions. We don't get to ask, like professional questions. We're always in meetings and stuff. So, you know, Trey, and I share an interest in behavior, we we possibly come at it from two different angles. I know.

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Is

Rebecca Hines:

behaviorism, specifically working with kids with ASD and mine is working with kids with emotional and behavioral disorders. And so it's, it's always interesting to me, because while I appreciate a behavioral approach, and I certainly understand its importance, I know from my background, that it doesn't work for all kids. And so I do draw from some of the cognitive, some of the

Trey Vasquez:

Well, that's a pretty nice question to start the day off with it. Yeah, you're right. And we have multiple lenses out in the field regarding how we handle problem behavior, or behavioral in general, I come from a long line of Applied Behavior analysts. And so my background is very traditional in the world of behavior analysis, there's over 100 years of research, backing up its

Rebecca Hines:

You know, that's what I that's, at the end of the day, that's the same thing that I saw is that the behavior no matter what it was, kids were trying to tell me something. And so when we think about ABA in particular, and we think about kids with autism, you know, I use that term, you know, cognitive and psychodynamic and some of these other approaches. But I know when it comes to

Trey Vasquez:

I'm really I've been at its roots. I would say the founders, like Watson and Skinner would say that it's truly an analysis of the environmental context. And if someone is engaging in a particular response, it's for a reason it's either to gain access to reinforcement, which is basically access to some preferred stimuli of some sort, or it's to get away from the environment. There's getting from the emergency people when they were coming to rescue them. And they thought that was great. And so we got to figure out a better way for him to request attention, rather than swallowing a whole bunch of pills. So we know, that's just one of a myriad of examples that we could give.

Lisa Dieker:

So, you know, one of the things it kind of leads to this question, and I know you're prolific grant writer, reader, and really, you've kind of been on the cutting edge thinking about, you know, where Brain Science and Learning Sciences is going to take us. And I know you're kind of an expert in the area or emerging expert in the area of executive functioning. And I know that has close

Trey Vasquez:

yeah, I mean, this is a fun topic for me, because I get to geek out on it.

Rebecca Hines:

Remember, a practical act?

Trey Vasquez:

for the, for the layman, really, executive function is a fancy term for organization, and working memory. And what are those two things mean? Well, the working memory part is really important in that whenever you're in front of a classroom, for example, a teacher will give you a set of instructions. And maybe your phone also vibrates with a text. Well, what do you do you look then take that and run with it and generalize across multiple subjects across home setting, school setting, etc.

Lisa Dieker:

So I'm a parent, and I'm a teacher. So I'll let you take both of those on. So as a parent, what's two to three things in my home I should do to help my young adult or child. So if you want to pick age, and in the classroom with executive function, what are some real practical things I could be doing at home or as a teacher in the classroom with a roomful, as you said, of kids with

Trey Vasquez:

So I would, and this is where Becky is going to be really appreciative, I would lean on some of my more cognitive friends to start looking at some other scaffold, such as universal design for learning. So what does that mean? That means providing multiple means of representation, action expression. And some concrete examples would be if I have a student that I know has an issue

Lisa Dieker:

about in the classroom. What about the classroom teacher? What should they be doing for? Yeah,

Trey Vasquez:

same thing with the classroom, I would have multiple schedules posted around. So it's really about some redundancy put in place. depending on the age group of the students, you know, secondary students should have more executive function skills, but they often don't. And so having in those schedules, if they're running a virtual classroom versus a face to face classroom, there are

Rebecca Hines:

Thanks, Trey. And, you know, you, you, you mentioned a several things there that I know, we all are very like minded in, specifically, technology. And so everyone on this podcast has played around and tried to stay up with the field in different tech tools. So I wondered, you mentioned some really practical, simple one, setting reminders, and then also not setting, you know,

Trey Vasquez:

Yeah, if you're running an online class, which a lot of teachers are doing right now, I would take advantage of a program called pizza. And it's linked to almost every LMS out there. And what it is, is is kind of like a message queue and a board, and it's completely accessible, which is the first my first criteria for any recommendation. But two, I know a lot of teachers and

Rebecca Hines:

That's a good example. And for anyone who doesn't know LMS stands for learning management systems,

Trey Vasquez:

I will throw jargon left and right

Rebecca Hines:

is a jargon.

Trey Vasquez:

jargon is a prerequisite for being a behavior analyst.

Rebecca Hines:

Absolutely. And, you know, speaking of behavior, again, when we think about the whole executive function and the planning, I think that that one of the things that we would both agree, if we can get kids to start learning to self manage, in one arena, it definitely starts to carry over into the other. I know, in my work with kids with significant behaviors, when I could get them to

Lisa Dieker:

So you know, my last question, Trey is kind of along those same lines, and you have a I'm going to do a shameless plug. Since this is a UCF, University of Central Florida program, you have a BCBA clinic where you're training folks, and I was kind of curious, from your years of experience. It's a two fold question, what's the most common behavior you see parents worried about in the

Trey Vasquez:

Yes, so I would say, depending on the age group, so let me I guess, give a preface about the clinic and the program for so we have a Board Certified verified course sequence. So students, undergrad, or graduate students can come in and take those courses. And as part of that sequence, they have to have X number of hours of service and supervised service to the field. And so kid probably one got what they wanted, they got out of the class because they were bored out of their mind or something was going on that they weren't happy about. So they get a when they get a pass, they get to get out in this class. But in reality, the teacher also gets reinforced So the teacher now no longer has to deal with this obnoxious person that's causing a disruption. And they get to

Rebecca Hines:

That's really well stated, thank you, Trey, for sharing that. And definitely looking at it. Sometimes we have to change our own behavior to help change someone else's check. What's one final simple tip four, the simplest one you can think of for parents or teachers, when it comes to helping to change behavior.

Trey Vasquez:

Don't always take it personal. I think that's, you know, it's really hard, especially if you're messing with your own children, and you're having a difficult time with your own children. There's a lot of emotion, in addition to the behavior that's going on. And sometimes just taking a quick breath and not responding is the most beneficial thing you can do for everyone, but also

Lisa Dieker:

Well said, well, thank you so much, Trey, for joining us and being such a great colleague on practical access. If you have questions, you can post them on our Facebook site, or send us a Tweet @accesspractical. Thank you again for joining us.

Trey Vasquez:

Thank you