Introduction To The BHC Podcast (with Erika Ng)

photo of Erika Ng

In this inaugural episode of the Behavioral Health Collective Podcast, Erika Ng introduces herself as the host of the show. Join the community by listening in, sharing feedback, or requesting specific topics!

In this inaugural episode of the Behavioral Health Collective Podcast, Erika introduces herself as the host of the show. She is a Behavior Analyst located in British Columbia, Canada. She shares the vision of the podcast which is to share some of the great work happening in the field of Behavior Analysis to improve the lives of children, adolescents, parents, educators and the greater community. Erika shares the goals of the Behavioral Health Collective which includes sharing evidence-based information with families and educators while advocating for better access to services to improve behavioral health for individuals. Join the community by listening in, sharing feedback or requesting specific topics!

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Read the Transcript:

Hi there and welcome to the Behavioral Health Collective podcast. Thank you so much for joining me here for this inaugural episode. My name is Erika Ng and I’ll be hosting conversations on this show with behavior analysts who are also known as BCBAs and at times their former clients. 

The goal of this podcast is to reach families with the Science of Behavior. We also want to promote best practice and foster meaningful and positive behavior change. If you’re a parent who has experienced any sort of behavioral health challenges with your child, regardless of having a diagnosis or not, then this is hopefully the podcast for you. 

This may include things that don’t readily come to mind when considering the word behavior. As BCAs or behavior scientists, we define behaviors, anything that humans do. 

In other words, anything that a person does is defined as their behavior. In terms of where you might have concerns about behavior, it might include social skills, executive functioning skills, such as planning, attention or self-management, school avoidance, or boundaries around technology use, just for some examples.

Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with me If you have suggested topics that you’d like to hear more about from a behavior science perspective. Also, if you’re a BCBA and you have some interesting work that you’re doing, I’d love to hear about it and would love to have you on the podcast to share the work that you’re doing with families. So please also reach out.

So first I’ll share a little bit about me and then I’ll go a little bit more into the vision and goals of the podcast. So currently I’m working as a behavior consultant or a behavior analyst in homes and schools. Prior to becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst BCBA, I was a special education teacher in Ontario. 

Here I worked with students with multiple exceptionalities in special education settings. This is where I decided that I wanted to know more about how to meaningfully and effectively foster positive behavior change for my students, which included both the learning of new skills, but also the managing of challenging behavior, as well. As I completed my Masters’s in Education, my eyes were open to the broad applications of behavior science.

After working as Behavior Consultant in British Columbia, especially with start well-serving children in a public education system. I realized there was a lack of support and resources for effective behavior support for children unless they have a very specific diagnosis. 

Well, the funding for children with these diagnoses is certainly warranted and still considered to be lacking. There truly is a dearth of funding or clear resource avenues for families who are in need of behavioral health services but do not meet these criteria simply because their child lacks a specific diagnosis. However, any family can experience behavioral and mental health challenges with their child and can find it hard to find the right supports. 

My experience across home school and community settings has made me realize the need for the science of human behavior to be applied across all settings. As I continue to meet more and more families who are seeking support for their children but don’t know where to turn. At the same time, I’ve seen how effective behavior sciences and how powerful it can be across our range of applications. Families may end up on a waitlist for limited services throughout something that’s publicly funded, but when the funding for these programs run out, services cease and they’re back at the bottom of the waitlist.

While their service provision is incredibly important and I’m thankful that it exists, there are more families that require support that either don’t have the right diagnosis, even if it is publicly funded programs or they don’t qualify because they don’t have a diagnosis at all. 

The challenges have motivated me to initiate the Behavioral Health Collective and begin to connect families with practitioners that might help them create lasting behavioral change. Part of this project includes advocacy for better funding for families who simply need some parent coaching that’s individualized to them and their child, but maybe they don’t have access to this funding. 

Quality behavioral health services should be available for all families who require it in the same way that for many extended health benefits, a family can access a speech and language pathologist for their child or family member should they need it. 

The goal of this podcast is to connect families to practical advice from behavior analysts who are experts in various areas and also to hear firsthand from the perspective of families who have received services from a behavior analyst. I hope to highlight the efficacy of behavior science for a variety of populations and applications.

Some episodes we’re going to be BCBA and a parent of a former client. Otherwise, we’ll just be a conversation with the BCBA, perhaps a specific parent’s story will resonate with you and give you the hope that the help you need does exist. Perhaps some advice from a BCBA or parent might create an aha moment for you and give you an idea of what you need to do next to support your child. Maybe a parent’s story of what life was like prior to getting services will prompt you to contact a behavior analyst to find out if their services can help you or complement other services you might already be making use of for your child.

I also will feature some episodes that involve collaborative relationships between behavior analysts and other professionals such as teachers, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, and counselors. The values of the podcast and the Behavioral Health Collective are to spread the word about behavior science, to share a variety of applications of the science, promote evidence-based practices, and also fostered meaningful behavior change. 

Finally, we want to advocate for better funding for behavioral health services. This will be done as a community behavior analysts are seeking to share their novel applications at behavior analysis with a wider variety of families. Each episode will include some practical tips or takeaways and also information on what to do next. 

I also want to mention something about language and labels. After speaking further with some colleagues and other professionals in the fields, and then also being encouraged to engage more on social media with individuals who are neurodivergent, it’s clear that there’s no preferred term to identify folks who would identify as neurodivergent.

For example, some might prefer the term autistic others might choose a term that is person-centered, such as someone who has autism. Some guests may describe the language that they’ll be using in their episode, but after speaking with some of my guests, um, I’ve decided that I will attempt to use a range of terms interchangeably so as to be as inclusive as possible.

If you’re a parent and you’re experiencing some sort of behavioral health concerns with your child, I hope you’ll tune in to learn more with each new episode and ideally find the support that you’re looking for. 

The Behavioral Health Collective will seek to bridge the research-practice gap by providing current and practical behavioral advice for parents and clinicians-like based on research. We want to empower parents while connecting them to effective behavioral strategies and evidence-based practitioners. 

Thank you so much for joining me for this initial episode and I really am looking forward to sharing my conversations with BCBAs in upcoming shows. Thank you so much.

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