Reflecting on my two weeks in Kenya at Kaizora, the first theme that comes to mind is “stop-stay-change.” Those are the terms the staff use when reviewing their learners’ programs. When a skill is mastered, stop and change to the next phase. When the data are moving toward mastery, stay with what is working. When the data are not improving or are variable, change something.
This trip we focused on the “change” portion of the process. When selecting or changing an intervention, behavior analysts take a lot of factors into consideration. Is the skill appropriate to the learner’s developmental level? Is the skill a behavioral cusp or pivotal skill that will open doors to new learning? Does the learner have the necessary prerequisites? Does the skill have social validity – will it improve health and safety, is it functional for the learner, does the learner’s family value the skill? The staff at Kaizora took these guidelines and ran with them, working as a team to evaluate each learner’s current programs and add new instructional targets. I think I speak for all of the SkillCorps volunteers when I say that it was a great pleasure to watch Kaizora team thoughtfully and enthusiastically applying these guidelines to meet each of their student’s individual needs. Stop-stay-change became a foundation on which the staff built a whole new set of skills to meet the needs of their learners.
In fact, stop-stay change may be a good tool for life in general. When something is working, stick with it. When circumstances are no longer challenging or when personal growth becomes stagnant, make a change. In those circumstances, I highly recommend a SkillCorps trip – the change of setting, the opportunity to train professionals in an entirely new cultural environment, the chance to learn from fellow SkillCorps colleagues – it is an amazing recipe for professional and personal development. For me, Kenya SkillCorps was definitely a catalyst for learning and growth.
Jenny Fischer, BCBA®
SkillCorps Kenya, October 2013