Episode 16

Behavior Analysis, Mental Health, and Classroom Culture with Jessica Minahan

The culture and management of a classroom setting, in most cases, is vastly different than what most BCBAs are accustomed to. Given the current rates of mental health challenges in students, behavior analysts who lack training in mental health best practices will be at a disadvantage in attempting to support students and untrained teachers in a school setting. Listen as Jessica Minahan discusses how she works with teachers and students on looking at behavior through a different lens- one that’s more compassionate and understanding and leads to the acquisition of desired and appropriate replacement behaviors.


Learning Objectives:

1. Extrapolate how various events in a learner’s day may impact their anxiety and threshold in terms of motivation.

2. Describe potential and practical ways a teacher may work with the learner to teach new skills with a student who is engaging in agitated, anxious behaviors.

3. Select examples of cognitive distractions and their replacement behavior.

4. Describe the value of seeking education outside of behavior analysis.


Take Aways- your bite-sized educational noms

- The concept of thresholds provides a beautiful image to help teachers understand their students’ emotional capacity in conjunction with their executive functioning abilities and subsequent learning opportunities.

- Research and review outside of the field of behavior analysis is necessary. Review the research through a behavior analytic lens and translate the research into our terms and what works.

- Cognitive distractions can function to build in replacement behavior. How does your intervention teach students to make better choices when their threshold is low?


Worth: 1 Learning, 0 Ethics, 0 Supervision

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