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The Role of a BCBA in the Interdisciplinary Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury

Navigating The Complex Web of TBI Recovery with Behavioural Insights


Written by: Ms. Stacie Dertinger, M. ADS, BCBA.

Welcome back to this series on recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), specially designed for the motor vehicle accident community. Today, we'll zoom into a crucial cog in your recovery wheel: the role of a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA).


Who Am I? Again. 🤓

As a BCBA, I'm trained in understanding the complexities of human behaviour. While I often work with individuals with autism or developmental disorders, my extensive background is in the treatment of TBI, especially when integrated into an interdisciplinary team.


#UnveilingTheBCBARole: What Exactly Do We Do? 🔍



Early Stage Interventions

  1. Baseline Assessment: Establishing a behavioural baseline is essential to track changes over time. We conduct comprehensive interviews and observations to understand pre-existing conditions and immediate impacts of TBI.

  2. Behavioural Intervention in Acute Settings: In intensive care units, we work to reduce maladaptive behaviours that may interfere with medical treatment, like agitation or noncompliance with medical procedures.

Rehab Phase: Fine-tuning the Focus 🎯

  1. Cognitive Rehabilitation Strategies: As you work with occupational and physical therapists, we complement their efforts by introducing strategies to improve memory, attention, and executive functions.

  2. Social Skills Training: Many TBI survivors experience social isolation. We design interventions to improve social interaction skills, and we often work closely with speech therapists if language is a barrier.

Long-term Care: The Sustainability Factor 🔄

  1. Generalization Strategies: We ensure the skills you've acquired are transferable to various settings — home, community, or workplace.

  2. Family Training: We empower family members with behavioural strategies to ensure a consistent and supportive environment.

#TeamHuddle: Working in Sync with Other Specialists 🤝



  1. Data Sharing: We collect and interpret valuable behavioral data, which can influence the strategies adopted by other specialists. For example, your neurologist may adjust medications based on changes in your behavior or sleep patterns.

  2. Joint Sessions: Occasionally, we conduct joint therapy sessions with occupational therapists or physiotherapists to create an integrated care experience.

  3. Case Conferences: Regular interdisciplinary meetings help us keep everyone—from medical doctors to family members—on the same page.


#HealingTogether: Your Role in the Team 🌟


Your input is crucial! Effective recovery is a two-way street. The more you can share about your experiences and challenges, the better we can tailor our interventions to suit your needs.


Wrapping It Up 🎁


As a BCBA, our role in the TBI recovery process is multifaceted and integrative. The power of behavioural science amplifies when woven into the fabric of an interdisciplinary team committed to your healing journey.


Stay committed, stay resilient, and keep your lines of communication open. You’re not walking this road alone.



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