Course: Collaborating with BCBAs

This course is a podcast episode.  You can listen for free on most podcast players (Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play) or you can stream it directly below from our YouTube channel.  After you've finished listening or watching at your leisure you can use the links above to purchase access to ASHA CEUs.

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Podcast Hosts and Guests

SLP/BCBA; SLP Kate Grandbois (she/her) & Amy Wonkka (she/her

Kate and Amy are co-founders of SLP Nerdcast. Kate is a dually certified SLP / BCBA who works primarily as an "AAC Specialist." She owns a private practice with a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration, augmentative alternative communication intervention and assessment, and consultation. Amy is an SLP who also works as an "AAC Specialist" in a public school setting. Amy's primary interests are AAC, typical language development, motor speech, phonology, data collection, collaboration, coaching, and communication partner training and support.

Episode Summary

The majority of this course content is focused on issues related to ethics as defined by ASHA (see Approved Course Content).  The focus of this course is professionalism, interprofessional professionalism, interprofessional collaboration, and related ethical considerations.  This course may count towards ethics certification maintenance requirements.

UPDATE: This episode was recorded and published with an error (@ timestamp 6:35).  INTERprofessional collaboration is collaboration between different fields or professions (example: an SLP collaborating with a BCBA).  INTRAprofessional collaboration is collaboration within one field (example: an SLPs collaborating with other SLPs).  In our recording we swapped the two - blame it on first episode jitters! A BIG THANKS to our listener who brought this to our attention! You know who you are!!  Additionally, this episode was recorded prior to our established quiz process. 

Welcome to our first episode! This podcast was a big one for us in so many ways!  Since we are just a couple of nerds, who are also friends, and actually do spend an inordinate amount of time talking about “nerdy speech and language things” in our free time - the idea of being a bit more structured in our topics and recording our conversations for others to hear was an idea we threw around for a while.  It became our brain baby.  We were nervcited* about it.  And now it is real.

Why start our podcasting journey here?  Collaborating with Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBAs) has been an ongoing thread running through both of our careers as speech language pathologists (SLPs).  BCBA/SLP relationships can be a polarizing topic on both sides of the office/school/clinic.  We’ve personally had some great experiences, and some not so great ones.  We both went through a post-graduate certificate program to become BCBAs (Kate took the exam and has the letters to prove it).  We’ve both been challenged with difficult collaborative situations, and we’ve been on the sidelines to see the challenges experienced by our colleagues in their working relationships with others.

So why collaborate in the first place? Well, to begin with it’s the ethical choice.  Our ASHA code of ethics is long, but there are some clear points made as to why it is ethical to collaborate.  Plus, the field of ABA sometimes gets a bad rep - BCBAs and the field of ABA in general can have a lot to offer.  We have both found it to be a great compliment to our speech therapy practices.  Unfortunately, sometimes collaborating is a hard road, for a variety of reasons, and most of us don’t receive any type of explicit training on this in graduate school.  How do we navigate these relationships as a professional?  Do we even have to?  Is it worth all the potential hassle?  In this podcast we will talk in depth about the why and the how of intraprofessional collaboration with BCBAs.  Spoiler alert: We’ve both had the good fortune of some wonderful shared clinical experiences with BCBAs - and we really think it is an experience worth figuring out!  

Come join us, be our nerdy friend, listen, learn, and earn ASHA certification maintenance hours (other providers check with your credentialing organization to find out if our quiz and certificate of participation counts toward the professional development requirements for your license, email us with any questions!).

*Nervcited - a word we are pretty sure we invented.  It's that weird combination of simultaneously feeling nervous and excited about something.

This episode is offered for .1 ASHA CEUs: Introductory Level, Related Area, Subject Code: 7070 Ethics and Ethical Decision Making.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Provide at least 3 descriptive facts about applied behavior analysis 
  2.  Describe at least 2 reasons to collaborate with behaviorally oriented professionals  
  3.  Identify at least 2 barriers to collaborating
  4. Identify at least 2 strategies for effective collaboration. 


Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007).  Applied Behavior Analysis (2nd Ed.) New York, NY: Pearson

Donaldson, A. L. & Stahmer, A. C. (2014). Team Collaboration: The Use of Behavior Principles for Serving Students with ASD. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 45, 261–276 

Stone, Douglas., Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most. New York, N.Y.: Viking, 1999

Online Resources

Behavior Analyst Certification Board

ASHA Guidelines for Caseload and Workload 


Kate Grandbois financial disclosures: Kate is the owner / founder of Grandbois Therapy + Consulting, LLC and co-founder of SLP Nerdcast.  Kate Grandbois non-financial disclosures: Kate is a member of ASHA, SIG 12, and serves on the AAC Advisory Group for Massachusetts Advocates for Children. She is also a member of the Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BABAT), MassABA, the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and the corresponding Speech Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis SIG. 

Amy Wonkka financial disclosures: Kate is an employee of a public school system and co-founder of SLP Nerdcast.  Amy Wonkka non-financial disclosures: Amy is a member of ASHA, SIG 12, and serves on the AAC Advisory Group for Massachusetts Advocates for Children 

Time Ordered Agenda

10 minutes: Introduction, Disclaimers and Disclosures

20 minutes:  Descriptions of the science of applied behavior analysis

15 minutes:  Descriptions of the responsibilities to collaborate and the identified barriers to collaboration

10 minutes:  Describe the strategies to improved collaborative practices

5 minutes: Summary and Closing


The contents of this episode are not meant to replace clinical advice.  SLP Nerdcast, its hosts and guests do not represent or endorse specific products or procedures mentioned during our episodes unless otherwise stated.  We are NOT PhDs, but we do research our material.  We do our best to provide a thorough review and fair representation of each topic that we tackle.  That being said, it is always likely that there is an article we’ve missed, or another perspective that isn’t shared.  If you have something to add to the conversation, please email us! We’d love to hear from you!