Today, I’d like to tip my hat to the BI. I spent the first seven years of my adulthood in a variety of paraprofessional positions, so I’ve worn the shoes. At SD, “BI” stands for “behavioral instructor”, not “behavior interventionist” as the acronym is commonly used. This derives from the notion that applied behavior analysis is an educative therapy. Challenging behavior tells us that an individual does not have the skills to manage both his or her internal environment and the external environment. The primary and ongoing mission of ABA is to build repertoires and teach skills so an individual can better manage his or her own challenges. While this is happening, the secondary mission of ABA is to manage challenging behaviors as they occur humanely, respectfully and therapeutically.
What our BIs do is better described as teaching, rather than intervening. The work requires integration of teaching/learning procedures, painstaking attention to detail, constant vigilance and unfailing kindness. Our BIs show up on time and do the work day in and day out. They are the heart and soul of quality service.