Tag Archives: the Godfather

In-N-Out: My First Guest Post

In a red plastic tray, an animal-style cheeseb...
In a red plastic tray, an animal-style cheeseburger, fries, drink, and ketchup at an In-N-Out Burger near Mountain View, California, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Awhile back, I lost a bet to Lindsey Sneed, aka the BCBA mom. So I paid my bet and here is the link!

P.S. some of the links are broken (I am working on it) but you can easily find them under the categories and tags. Let me know, ya?

Weird Wednesday ABA Style XVI

Funny Somewhat Topical Ecard: Can't pay for your food or drinks. I am playing the Dual Relationship card.

Let’s Get Ethical

In our line of work, we meet people all day, and sometimes many families befriend us (uber nice people we are, not?) The only problem is, we are not there to listen to their life story. Not that we don’t like them, may I say, it’s business, not personal? (HA!)

And that’s why we have to follow the Ethical Guidelines given by the Board.

The Two Year Rule

Well, I am not sure if this is true but when I first started in college, I remembered the professor (or was it the lead therapist? Or the case supervisor? Someone DID say it) that because of the nature of the service, we have to avoid any conflicts of interest/respect and protect the client-practitioner covenant, so we have to keep our distance somewhat. The example used was that even if the family/relative of the client is THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE, you can’t/shouldn’t date her/him for at least 2 years after the service ended. Quite dramatic, yes but bigger contrast, less repetition, no? (Yes I worship Pat Friman!)

So there you have it. Go read the guidelines and review the task list, my friends!

(You know what I say here… not that you “know” but my behavior in the past has indicated…)

Related articles

Weird Wednesday ABA Style X

Funny Somewhat Topical Ecard: This toy can be used as both reinforcer and punisher.

Star Wars I Like, Do You?

This is just an example. Change it to food (i.e. sushi, steak, or chicken liver), movies (say the Godfather, the Lord of the Rings, or Top Gun), activities (say knitting, playing video games, hiking) or whatever if you like. My point is everyone is different. I like Star Wars but it doesn’t matter you will like it too. Maybe you’d prefer Star Trek… or you just simply cannot stand sci-fi at all.

See what I am getting at? One thing/activity that is reinforcing to person A DOES NOT necessarily have the same effect on person B! Or worse, it might have some punishing effect on person B!

Just because something appears to be reinforcing doesn’t mean it is. Everybody loves praises, right? Maybe but how do we determine if it is a reinforcer or a punisher?

Is it Up or Down?

This is what is the determining factor. Is the behavior increasing or decreasing due to the presentation of the stimulus? If the behavior increases, then the stimulus is a reinforcer. And if the behavior decreases, then it is a punisher. Sounds simple, no?

You think chocolate is reinforcing? Guess what someone might not like sweet. He/she will not work for it. Therefore, no, it’s not reinforcing to EVERYONE.

You think yelling is punishing? Guess what some people just enjoy that kind of attention (yes, that kind of attention, which some call NEGATIVE). So, yes the behavior (getting out of chair, talking out loud, destroying toys, etc.) increases. It is reinforcing.

How Do You Like That?

The truth is out there… with data it reveals, no? That’s what ABA is all about! (Get it, people?)

Changes on Weird Wednesday

This post is no.10 on Weird Wednesday. And I see this as quite an accomplishment. However, I have decided to “leave the words, keep the cards” which means it is up to you to hit the White book and crack my silly jokes. And yes, let me know if you want to guest post. Many of you can use a DRO project or two!

And for those who are going to FABA. Have a wonderful, wonderful time!!!

Weird Wednesday ABA Style IX

Funny Somewhat Topical Ecard: Do what I show you, and you'll be a pro in no time.

Model the Super Model

No, I am not talking about those super models. A mentor, a person you can learn, who is SUPER at whatever you want to learn… say shoe-tying, skiing, Lego-building, and behavior plan-writing, you name it. I had said this before… FIND A MENTOR! Luke got Obi-won and Yoda. Michael got Vito. Who do you have? Can you trace your ABA lineage?

This is a short post… and yes, now go learn about modeling from the White Book. For those who are sitting this month, you can do it! Remember: study hard, read carefully, read carefully, trust your instinct!

May the desired consequence be with you!

Weird Wednesday ABA Style VIII

Funny Somewhat Topical Ecard: Come have a seat and let's talk about competency-based training.

Are We Doing the Same Thing?

There is a Chinese saying, 同枱食飯 各自修行, which roughly translates as eating at the same table but working on different things…  pretty much not on the same page… imagine at the Don’s house, and his people don’t understand his instructions and do the wrong (or right?) things… a few missteps might cost the Corleone Family dearly. Hey even going on the “winning the lottery would be easier” suicide mission,  the Rebels get together to devise an assault plan before heading to attack Death Star for that 1 in a million chance to blow the man-made battle station up in the 2 -foot hole. Let’s get everyone on the same page!

Get on the Same Page the BCBA Way!

There are many ways to make sure every member on the team understands the definition of the target behaviors (what does it look like?), and goals of the intervention and so on. Two of the first things that pop up on my head is “train the trainer” and the Inter Observer Agreement (IOA). Both are in the White book. Don’t let that book hang with the dust bunny, okay?

And don’t be shy! Ask questions… whether you are a BCBA (you can be new on the case), a therapist, a parent, etc… learn more about the client, the family and the intervention plan. We want everyone to win, know what I am saying?

Until next time…

May the desired consequence be with you!

P.S. Pretty proud of myself for typing the first few Chinese characters up… and thank you Google as well!!!

Regrets in ABA

What is Regret?

Black Square
(Photo credit: Johannes P Osterhoff)

The dictionary defines it as “to feel sorrow or remorse for (an act, fault, disappointment, etc.” and “to think of with a sense of loss” (Dictionary.com)

The behavioral term has something to do with thinking (a private event). Thinking that you could have or should have done something (i.e. eating another slice of pizza, saying hi to that girl or guy, watching The Empire Strikes Back, the Godfather, or Pride and Prejudice for the 17th time…) and you just keep thinking and thinking and thinking about it. (DRO, anyone?) I am here to make my private event public now.

My Lost Opportunity

Years ago, I met Tina, my next-door neighbor, when I moved into a new neighborhood.  Since she was about my mother’s age, she joked that she was my other mom and she did exactly that: she would feed me, asked about my day and yes… give my roommate and me a drink or two when we ran out of beverages. Though everyone moved out of that neighborhood, we kept in touch. She called me every holiday and birthday. And when I had my own family, she would always ask about them. Tina even remembered my son’s birthday! Yes, that “grandson” she never met!

Awhile back, she told me that she had been diagnosed with cancer and she was going through chemo and treatments… “I am keeping it positive,” she told me and I truly believed that she would pull through.

I called her on Mother’s Day.

She texted me on Father’s Day. And I should have called.

Then came July 3rd, the exam results were in. I passed. I was ecstatic!!! I made it! I told everyone. No, I thought I told everyone.

A few days later, the party was over. I realized I didn’t tell everyone…. Tina! And I thought to myself, “she’ll call in a few days and I’ll tell her then. That would cheer her up!”

I did not get that chance. I received a text from my old roommate one night last week: Tina passed away earlier that day. I missed my chance.

Now What?

I hope her family will find comfort and keep her memories alive. I will do the same.

Yes, I will miss you. And no, I will no longer have any excuses not to do anything.

Farewell, mama.

What is your regret? And what are you going to do about that?

This post is dedicated to the loving memory of Mrs. Tina C., my other mother.

Special thanks and shout-out to Dr. Josh Pritchard (see his stuff here) and Sorah Cheryl Eyrich-Stein (see her and her gang here)… and I also extend my thanks to Dr. Rick Kubina for term definition.

My Tips and More

Reinforcement Coming

List of Star Wars air, aquatic, and ground veh...
Use the Force!!! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I said the plan to learn and help like-minded people and ABA students did not change. (“Nothing!” That’s a line from the Godfather) So, I have been reaching out to people who passed the BCBA exam and asked them to share some tips. A few of them replied me faster than the Millennium Falcon going on hyper drive and I can’t thank them enough! I am in the middle of compiling their advice and yes, each of them will be coming in the near future. (I am going by the order I received the tips!!!) More there will be and hey, my fellow Jedi, if you are ready to share, you know where to find me and I’ll happy to do the heavy-lifting (cut and paste) for you (get credit you will, of course). Please do share! Like my aunt says, “sharing is caring!”

How I Did What I Did

But first, I want to chime in on my approach for the BCBA exam. My application was delayed due to some paperwork mishap, so I did not have time to work on the modules, tutoring, or guided reviews. Luckily I did take the FIT mock exam prep and it really helped me lay out my strengths and weaknesses according to the task list. And yes, they set an extremely high standard for passing: 90% on each task list!!! I remember there were only 8 questions in one particular Content Area. Do the math, you are screwed if you missed ONE! (And yes, miss one I did!) I then spent more time on the areas I was struggling with while putting the stronger areas on maintenance.

I reviewed the entire task list. And if I couldn’t come up with a simple explanation or definition, I used the glossary/index on the very end of the White Book for a quick review. Don’t worry! You are not going to know every terms in the book! For example, I was clueless about many IOA formulas and different kinds of generic tact extensions. As you go through the task list, you will find out more unfamiliar terms. That’s a good start! Now you can go study those terms… or at least take a good look at them and move on. Initial stimulus was probed, now return to the regular programming. There are still a lot to do! A Jedi does more than just wielding a light saber all day ya know!

Need Mentor(s) You Will!

Luke has Obi-Won and Yoda and you surely can use some guiding lights as well! Can you think of people who had taken the exam and are willing to help in person or online? Start with your supervisor(s), colleagues and the instructor(s) in your program. Of course, this study group is always on your side! Whenever I came across a question or a term I was not familiar with, I just reached out to one of my mentors (whom included our very own Behavior Guy, Corey Robertson, his colleagues, Rob Satterfield and Jan Montgomery-Pierce, my friend/former supervisor, Shannon Chang) and my study buddies. Yes, alone you are at the exam but study you can with many Jedi, Padawan or Jawas, or droids if you would like. In fact, I bugged them so often that I thought they might block me, or throw me in the chamber in Jabba’s palace but they are just too nice to do that (ain’t that a SR- for me!)

LSYS: Light Saber Your Self

My primary choice of weapon (well study tool) was my study guides from FIT with the white book as my secondary. For me, this combo worked very well. You need to equip your own tool according to your own study habits, and strengths and weaknesses. Set up the environment to your advantage for maximum results (i.e. don’t study when you are extremely tired or when Mad Men is on). Also, ask yourself this: DO I REALLY UNDERSTAND THIS? If you can’t explain a concept or an experimental design, chances are you haven’t fully understood it yet. I dig Dr. Pat Friman’s approach big time, so I always attempt to do it the layman way (using everyday language for ABA principles) but you may want to go more clinical/academic way. Just go with your instinct and your past history of reinforcement!

On the Big Day

Don’t do anything you haven’t done on the day of the exam. Be familiar with the direction (unlike some idiot who ALMOST didn’t make it because he automatically went on the wrong freeway…) Remember the 10 test-taking tips Behavior Guy listed (it’s on this blog, somewhere… find it before I do… please). What works for me may be vastly different from what you do but you have the talents and EO in you, and remember this:

YOU CAN DO IT!!! (Is my Jedi mind trick working? A little bit?)

Please let me know if you had any questions, comments, suggestions. And go “like” and say hi to me on my page, or go “follow me” here with a quick update!

Thanks again! And you know where to find me!

P.S. Does anyone have any Lego Star Wars photos (No, not that game) please share with me! I could totally use some of those (like Luke carrying Yoda around and stuff) in this post!

May the desired consequence be with you!

A Darn Good BCBA, My Mom Could’ve Been

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh yeah, and to you too, Thomas J.!

My mom is a wonderful, nice and smart woman, though she didn’t have much schooling (she did graduate from high school but she said she didn’t remember much at all…). She has always put her family in front of her, she pulls a Mama Corleone: doing everything in the house, and yes the Godfather is also her favorite movie. One thing for sure, she could have been a darn good BCBA if she got a chance.

Exhibit #1: If/Then

She’s strict (or what I used to call MEAN) to me and my cousins (whom she looked after at times) but she was also fair and consistent; nobody got away with anything. However, IF you do what you were told, THEN you will always be rewarded. Mom always made an offer we couldn’t/shouldn’t refuse. Wish we learned about the contingency contract and consent and we could back out anytime we wanted… where are you, Doc Brown?

Exhibit #2: The STARE

And then, there’s the STARE! It’s been years and I am definitely old/strong/big/mature enough to take on my mom but I won’t bet against myself freezing whenever she stares at me. For the longest time, I thought the stare was the very, very strong Discriminate Stimulus (SD), or even a Conditioned Response (CR). Well, it’s a CMO-R!!! That’s right, the worst is yet to come… whether it was a long lecture, complaining, nagging, or timeout/grounding… (my mom doesn’t believe in spanking, well at least, didn’t!) And her strategy was not learned, maybe that mom in Tangled was right: Mother knows best!

Exhibit #3: ME

Yes, I am using myself as an exhibit! I think my mom had vastly influenced me… I just never realized it. Well, becoming a parent really, really, changed my perspective! And well, the wonderful lectures I got from Jose, Behavior Guy and gang, opened up my eyes (and mind) as well. Hopefully, I’ll earn those 4 letters soon… crossing my fingers!!! That surely would make her proud!

Yes, it’s time to study, those behavior change strategies and ethics don’t crawl into my brain automatically…

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Passover.. Moses, BCBA (Updated)

A Seder table setting

חג פסח שמח (Happy Passover)!

Well, technically it started last night and it will end on the 2nd of April… I am obviously not a Jewish descendant (have you seen my picture?) but I do have some Jewish ties (I do own a yarmulke) and I have been to a few Passover seder(s). It marked the history that the Israelites left Egypt under the leadership of Moses. To learn more about this Jewish holiday, please click here. Allow me to nitpick this a little bit and dissect it in some ABA ways.

The Power of the MO

The great Don Corleone must have learned some valuable lesson from what Moses did to Pharaoh and he had done it wisely (“I’ll make [someone] an offer he/she/it/they can’t refuse”). Unfortunately, the Egyptian king was a bit stubborn and needed a little more (well, 10 more) persuasions to comply. Moses did not manipulate Pharaoh, but the environment he did (with a little help from above). Long story short, the AO had significantly altered the value of the Jewish people, and Pharaoh let them go (let’s skip the Red Sea part).


It took the Israelites 40 years to find their home but they overcame a lot of challenges. Long time, yes. Lots of people, yes. Crowd control ain’t easy, people! Ask a teacher about classroom management, let alone a whole nation! Ask me about dealing with my son! And for those who are working toward the BCBA certification, you and your loved ones are making sacrifice today (delaying your reinforcement schedule) for a better tomorrow. Let me borrow a play from Behaviourist at Play’s playbook. Better tomorrow we will have but difficult journey we shan’t forget!

Stimulus Pairing

This is a little far-fetched but I can see some stimulus pairing here. There is no doubt that I had made an association between many fond memories and nice people I met (SR+), and the Jewish traditions (Neutral Stimulus) . In some strange way, I do my weird little thing to honor these kind and gentle people who offer me their friendship. Thanks and I hope I have made their lives a little more… reinforcing as well. Heck, that’s the same way we all like that General Conditioned Reinforcer called money!

So, no, I didn’t have that pork for dinner!

I dedicated this post to my professional/mentor/אמא, Madeleine L.

Social Significance and Social Media (Updated)

Social Media Path
Social Media Path (Photo credit: Intersection Consulting)

I just came out of the digital stone age this past week: I created a blog and I joined Facebook. I kinda feel like Michael Corleone here (I didn’t want to but it’s not my choice when it comes down to it). Well, years of inactivity/reluctance/ignorance of NOT participating in the social media is no different than other (harmful/bad/junk) behaviors… so yes I need intervention, major ones but when Dr. Phil and/or Dr. Drew call, you can bet that I would say “I must say no to you and I’ll give you my reasons” (go watch the original)

First, they are not behaviorists… and they will end up telling me to lose weight or blame my mother (“no, it was that Lego pirate ship or the $400 Death Star which my parents didn’t buy me for Christmas that destroyed my self-image and super ego, and eggo and the full scholarship to Harvard or Cambridge, DUH!”)

Second, skill acquisition is what I need. How to hashtag, link, comment, follow (and the obvious bi-product of all, making a fool of myself, which I am already at the fluency stage). As my exposure to the social media is short, I need HUGE contrast… any takers? NO, seriously, can someone please tell what is the etiquette on posting pictures and videos here? PLEASE!

And let’s come back to the title… Is participating in the social media (i.e. joining Facebook, twitting…) actually socially significant? If so, we must do so and encourage/support/help others to do so, right? There are both advantages (being accountable, sharing infos, expanding/creating friendships, etc.) and disadvantages (information overload, Don-Draper-is-actually-Dick-Whitman secret identity issue, over-sharing, distraction to name a few).

Share your thought anyone?

P.S. just got all my transcripts… getting closer…