Pediatric Therapeutic Services

Why Your Program Needs RBTs During Distance Learning

Why Your Program Needs RBTs During Distance Learning

Elementary school girl and her mother wave to Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) on laptop screen during remote learning.Are you wracking your brain figuring out how best to serve students with special needs during the COVID-19 pandemic?

You’re not alone!

As Director of Behavioral Health at Pediatric Therapeutic Services (PTS), I’ve heard many special education administrators like you over the past six months ask how to provide behavior support remotely.

My answer? Add a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) to your program.

Seven Reasons to Bring a Registered Behavior Technician on to Your Team

When your program follows best practices of behavior analysis, children with autism and behavioral health issues can learn at home effectively.

An RBT can play an integral role in the success of these students during distance learning. Here are seven reasons why:

1. RBTs Can Model Proven Teaching Strategies Virtually.

Most parents of children who receive applied behavior analysis (ABA) services also participate in training so they can implement effective teaching strategies at home. They may complete a free training module online. They may also get individual training from a district Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

Additionally, RBTs can model these strategies—antecedent-based interventions, prompting, and reinforcement—via direct remote instruction. The training increases the family’s understanding of how their child learns. This new understanding, in turn, creates an environment in which the student learns more effectively.

2. RBTs Can Help Establish Routines.

An RBT is exceptionally helpful in working with families to establish new routines. With a BCBA’s guidance, the RBT can provide visual schedules and other visual supports to help create structure and predictability, based on individual students’ needs.

3. RBTs Can Provide Discrete Trial Training Via Video Conferencing.Older elementary school child with autism sits at table using laptop to talk with Registered Behavior Technician (RBT).

In remote learning, teachers find it harder to work one-on-one with students as they would during in-person instruction. But, the RBT can conduct individualized teaching sessions in the video conferencing breakout rooms.

It’s an ideal use of the RBT’s time and talents for students who need intensive teaching, targeted intervention, and repeated practice of targeted behaviors.

And, because in virtual programs parents become interventionists, guiding them as they provide discrete trial training and/or other instruction is critical.

It’s important families have the understanding and skills needed to implement intensive teaching procedures so students make meaningful progress. RBTs can successfully guide families by modeling one-on-one teaching and working with the BCBA to provide feedback.

4. RBTs Can Meet with Students Virtually for Follow-up Assignments and Support.

Students may need to informally practice concepts taught during daily lessons. RBTs can guide students through activities and follow-up sessions to ensure adequate understanding.

5. RBTs Can Collect Data as Teachers Work with Students.

Any professional trained in behavior analysis thrives on data!

RBTs are trained in collecting and graphing various forms of data. Data can guarantee treatment plans are being implemented with fidelity. With a BCBA’s guidance, RBTs can remotely collect behavior or skill data during live instruction. This data is useful for analyzing environmental conditions that may be influencing behaviors during virtual learning.

Data proves helpful to the IEP team for progress monitoring. As programs teeter between in-person and remote instruction, BCBAs and IEP teams will monitor data closely to determine the need for detailed recoupment plans.

6. RBTs Can Provide Reinforcement to Students During Teaching.

Mother stands behind her young daughter and son to guide them through session with Registered Behavior Technician (RBT).

It’s harder for teachers to “catch good behavior” and reinforce it at the recommended rate during virtual instruction. RBTs can ensure the student receives “reinforcement breaks” frequently enough to keep them highly engaged and motivated.

RBTs are trained in implementing reinforcement schedules. They can subtly move students into breakout rooms for positive reinforcement, contingent upon desired behaviors during instruction.

The RBT can also deliver rapid reinforcement in the classroom by using emojis, private chat, virtual high-fives, and so on.

7. RBTs Can Run Pairing Sessions and Social Skill Practice.

Social skill regression is one of our largest concerns about students on the autism spectrum. Making meaningful connections over a computer screen is difficult and requires “out of the box” thinking.

RBTs can work with families and teachers to implement social stories, role-play activities, and rolling conversation programs. They are also qualified and able to teach many Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) curricula.

Let PTS Show You Ways to Strengthen Your Special Education Program

Using simple principles of behavioral science, RBTs offer valuable insights to parents and caregivers that improve behavior management and help them successfully navigate virtual learning.

PTS’ clients know the RBTs we send them, like all our team members, are qualified and quality clinicians who’ll help their program effectively meet students’ needs.

Would you like to discover even more steps you can take to maximize your program’s impact? Click here to claim your free Related Services Audit from PTS.

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