A behavioral cusp is any behavior change that brings an
organism's behavior into contact with new contingencies that have far-reaching consequences.
Last week I thought about myself riding a bicycle- something I do every day. Now, let's try a little harder. How do you identify these crucial behaviors for clients you work with? The gold standard as always is direct observation. You should directly observe your client in all environments across their day for a week. Uh, yeah right. If you are able to pull that off- more power to ya! But let's try to be a little more practical.
If feasible- ask the client what they do, where they go, who they talk to, etc. Have them describe a typical day to you. Unfortunately, though, this is not always a feasible option.
Talk to other stakeholders: parents, siblings, teachers, peers, etc. Does this child go to inclusion at a certain time of day or during specific routines? Have you taught the child all the correct responses to actively participate in these routines? Simply joining in a daily routine that may seem mundane and unimportant could open up opportunities for increased social interaction with peers.
What about social activities? Does this child play video games? Is there certain game lingo or ways to play the games with others that need to be taught? I am not a gamer, but I could easily find someone who is (ahem, my husband) and have them brainstorm gaming behavioras that could lead to more social interaction.
What about greeting others? We often work on greeting the people in the client's every day life- but let's work beyond that. How do their peers greet each other? It's probably not "Hello. How are you?" Let's work on more age appropriate greetings: hi, hey, what's up, the chin up head not weird thing that too cool for school pre-teens always do, etc.
We are good at identifying general social behaviors to teach, but we need to put in a little more time and effort to find those behavior changes specific to that child's life that very well may have far-reaching consequences.
Leanne Page, MEd, BCBA