Behavioral consultants often work with individuals who have developmental disabilities or other issues that make it difficult to fit into mainstream society. Consultants may also offer insights and advice regarding those behaviors to other professionals. For example, a consultant may help a doctor understand the accommodations necessary before performing surgery on an individual with behavioral concerns. Government officials may ask for a consultation before charging an individual with a crime.
It’s important to recognize the qualities that set reliable consultants apart from less-qualified individuals. Even with a variety of certifications and degrees, a psychologist isn’t a behavioral analyst without specialized training in behavioral psychology. Other areas of education and experience that can qualify a professional to become a behavioral analysis consultant include training in applied behavioral analysis or a degree in developmental disorders.
Valid Education and Experience
A board-certified behavioral analyst has graduate training from an acceptable university or other education providers. This professional has successfully completed special examinations and gained competence in the field while maintaining compliance with the Behavior Analyst Certification organization. These professionals generally have a masters’ or doctoral degree with the letters BCBA after their name on official letterheads.
Behavioral consultants gather information in many ways before making their recommendations. They may begin by unobtrusively observing the individual several times, including at work, at school, with friends, and at home. The consultant will collect objective data regarding the skills, behaviors, and needs of the individual. A functional assessment or analysis will be completed before the consultant provides an intervention plan that addresses specific behaviors and goals.
The consultant’s job isn’t finished once the intervention plan is put into place. Observation and supervision will continue until the consultant and client are satisfied that goals are being met appropriately. Modifications and adjustments to the plan are a valuable part of the consultant’s services.
Some behavioral analysts have private practices, but many work for public or private agencies. Some offer comprehensive services, including follow-up inhouse care, while others have a narrower scope of service.
An Example of Services
For example, a government contractor behavioral analysis consulting professional may provide insights into an individual who is receiving psychiatric care and medications from the government. Using diagnostic assessments and observational notes, the consultant will offer an intervention plan to help the individual and caregivers accomplish the desired goals.
Your Search for a Consultant
The main goal in choosing a behavioral analysis consultant is to find a professional with the appropriate qualifications and the ability to work well with other team members and clients. Carefully review the consultant’s history and ask specific questions about the procedures and philosophies that guide their services.