Practicing on the island of Oahu, Betsy Marquez is a Behavior Analyst at BAYADA Behavioral Health Oahu Behavior Analysis (OBA). She serves clients in the clinic and home through BAYADA’s autism and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services. By providing quality, compassionate care, BAYADA is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to help children and young adults with autism or developmental disabilities achieve maximum independence in school, at home, in their center, and community. Seeking a more humane approach to treating severe problem behavior that aligned with their core values, a small cohort of BCBAs at BAYADA sought consultation on the Practical Functional Assessment (PFA) and Skill-Based Treatment (SBT) of severe problem behavior from Dr. Kelsey Ruppel at FTF Behavioral Consulting. Betsy was one member of this cohort whose PFA-SBT leadership activities significantly expanded. In her own words, she describes her experiences:
“Having no prior knowledge, I first received training on the Practical Functional Assessment (PFA) and Skill-Based Treatment (SBT) of severe problem behavior in 2021 from Dr. Ruppel. From the start, I felt a great sense of excitement to learn something new, but at the same time, a little uncertain. I was learning a new process in our field that differed from the expected behavior intervention strategies I had always known – and used. Yet, I knew that there had to be a better way. I participated in an intensive 12-week consultation with my team. I designed a PFA, conducted an IISCA, and designed and implemented treatment informed by the IISCA. The client results that my team and I witnessed made it impossible to deny that this practice effectively treated severe problem behavior. A more compassionate and empathetic way was possible.
Today, I am better equipped to assess, implement, and treat individuals with severe problem behavior using a more compassionate, safe, and dignified approach. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to expand my education and experience in PFA-SBT procedures, and I look forward to continuing this path.”