What Supervision Looks Like

Whether ONsite or via Telepractice, Get in the game and Show the HOW and WHY

Supervision can be elusive.

My summation, it is an art. An art of prompt towards independence in a finite period of time complicated by codes, paperwork, and individualized instruction so that the RBT gets it.

But what about supervision of the up and coming Behavior Analyst? In a culture and world of ‘answer me now’ and ‘i have a question…and another thought…and another thought’. For me, professionally within my clinical setting and in opportunities to collaborate in other clinics, it can be…well…a lot.

While Supervision is now Protocol Modification from a medical insurance perspective. The art of what that is can be lost in the conundrum of a model. In truth, supervision better explains from a student-teacher relationship. In fact, it is better absorbed and gets to the foundation of the development of the next generation(s) of behavior analysts, RBTs, and clinicians.

How do we master this? Teaching people to move beyond personal comfort, apply learned knowledge, and providing feedback in a compassionate clearly communicated way (so there is no room for misinterpretation) is an art. In the words of my husband, it is masterful work. Here is my top 8 list of supervision how to for the new or newly minted BCBA or aspiring clinician.

  1. Get in there and MODEL. Unless you are a master with words , examples, and demonstrations…sit next to the client. Model the technique for the RBT. Show them how to do it. Give them opportunity to watch you and ask questions.
  2. Supervision is serious and not a time to create strong camaraderie where the purpose of the visit is lost. Now relatedness with colleagues is important. But check the miscellaneous conversation at the door and for breaks. Use your time wisely. It is this opportunity to model professional on-task behavior.
  3. Conduct IOA. Check data. You want you and the RBT to think the same…see the same way…making the plus and prompts in sync and unison for that child’s therapy team. Explain your WHY for data points.
  4. Check materials…how long have these been in use? Change them out. And a great way to check this is to create a running record of materials for each client. Remember…multiple exemplars and opportunities.
  5. The opportunity for supervision is you. Not the next book and graphic that you see. This is about getting in there and upgrading that client’s learning opportunity. Supervision is about providing an opportunity of learning that the client benefits from. A better RBT is better treatment fidelity.
  6. For RBTs that don’t have the best professional on task behavior. First ask yourself, if you have modeled the behavior you wish to see. Then, ask yourself if you have provided direct communication for the behavior you wish to see. Finally, assess your team using numbers and actual deliverable related to the job while ON the job…numbers-data-science is for all of our clients.
  7. Technology is a robust tool and in telehealth the use of it can be beneficial, if we allow it to be. It’s more a mindset and understand that the quality of supervision rests with not the location or modifier, but with how we supervise. Feedback should be demonstrative..I can show you and tell you how. Correction should take into consideration that partnership is far long lasting than compliance through controlling and friendship relationships with technicians.
  8. Realize that leadership is space of development and can be lonely at times. This is especially true if you have worked through the ranks as an RBT and now on your way to becoming Board Certified. And everyone wants a friend at work, but relationships based upon a disdain for a supervisor, director, or company are never long-lasting.

Stay Humble. Stay Human. Keep Your Heart for the Work. Always Learn. Enjoy the clients you are with. Be Disneyland!

~Landria Seals Green, SLPGURU

photo credit:  David Travis on Unsplash

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