Nataliia Butuzova is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) in Moscow, Russia, who first began implementing Practical Functional Assessment (PFA) and Skill-Based Treatment (SBT) in 2020. Her story is inspirational:
“Before Practical Functional Assessment (PFA) and Skill-Based Treatment (SBT), my daughter engaged in severe problem behavior that was so dangerous and challenging that we often never left home. Behavior intervention had been unsuccessful, and I’ll never forget our discussions with her doctors regarding extreme alternative recommendations, such as brain surgery. Then, in 2020 alongside a team of specialists in Russia, I received PFA-SBT implementation experience under the supervision of Dr. Ghaemmaghami, and I decided to implement treatment with my daughter. I learned that problem behavior is a form of communication and sometimes a cry for help that I needed to listen to, understand, and respond to with compassion and support. My daughter and I achieved remarkable results by rebuilding a positive relationship and creating a psychologically safe learning environment. The results were so impressive that from there forward, the focus of my career would indefinitely change.
In 2022, I pursued “Train-the-Trainer” support from FTF, where I learned how to provide supervision and indirect support to other BCBAs on process implementation and treatment extensions. I achieved Level 6 Supervision Credentials and now employ my expertise to support professionals in Russia and my colleagues in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine. Many of the professionals I train are not only BCBAs but parents of children and teenagers with autism as well. Witnessing them discover their child’s potential and how to support them with empathy and compassion, even in challenging situations, is an experience they express tremendous gratitude – and for which I am honored to be a part of.”
Nataliia believes it is essential to promote the values of Today’s ABA. Her dissemination efforts continue beyond training others on the process. Annually, Nataliia shares her story at conferences dedicated to supporting and educating parents of children with autism. Daily, alongside her colleagues, she manages the Facebook community and Telegram channel, “Values over Procedures.” The community is for Russian-speaking professionals and parents, and it is here where they dedicate their time to supporting parents, BCBAs, and other related personnel who are using or plan to use the PFA-SBT in their daily practice. Subscribers of these platforms receive informed updates regarding newly released research articles, Russian-translated FTF materials and on-demand content, and training opportunities, all relevant to the PFA-SBT process.
In 2021, with her colleague and fellow FTF Spotlight, Natalia Polikarpova, Nataliia co-authored “Functional Assessment of Problem Behavior: Interview-Informed Synthesized Contingency Analysis (IISCA),” the first systematic replication of the PFA and SBT treatment published in Russian (https://doi.org/10.17759/autdd.2021710202).
Please join us in congratulating Nataliia on her accomplishments and dissemination efforts and sharing in her passion for advocating compassionate care for her daughter, closest neighbors, and colleagues worldwide.