Part 1: Trauma-informed Behavior Analysis: Beyond the immediate “function”
(Also see Part 2 coming later this week, on Engineering Supportive Environments)
What is trauma-informed care? Should we provide it as behavior analysts?
For any given behavior analyst, perhaps we already think of a good functional behavior assessment as “trauma-informed”. This is because a comprehensive assessment would necessarily take into account the kinds of information that makes an assessment or treatment trauma-informed.
For example, an assessment is required to take into account someone’s history before treatment recommendations are made. But how much history do we review? What are the guidelines for what to consider? When, and how consistently, are these guidelines followed?
How much history is enough?
Some assessors (or agencies) write only a few lines or a paragraph about “previous history” or “previous treatments” without fully understanding their impact, or learning more about what happened and how it contributed to current functioning. This may happen because there is not funding or hours available to look into these variables. In some cases it occurs because the records are not available to the agency conducting the assessment. This is frequent in a case in which much of the client’s family history is unknown, or when a school psychologist or behavior specialist is doing a behavioral assessment for educational purposes but doesn’t have access to (or time to find) the information.
What happens when we don’t consider history? Continue reading