Founder & Director of Behavior Management
James Ferraro, the owner and founder of Ferraro Behavior Services, LLC began the company in November of 2007. James received a Bachelor's Degree in Family Psychology from Anderson University and a Master's of Social Work Degree from Indiana University. He has worked with many populations within the developmental disabilities field as a residential youth therapist, addictions and family therapist, behavior consultant and Director of Behavior Management. He has worked in the field for over 10 years and has also done private practice and group therapy work. James has also given lectures on anger management and personality disorders throughout his career. He brings a wealth of experience and many specialty areas which include: behavior disorders, autism spectrum, mental disability, personality disorders, chemical dependency, depression, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and grief and loss.
Dr. Yordy obtained his doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from Michigan State University in 1991. He is a licensed psychologist and has practiced in community mental health and private practice settings, providing both inpatient and outpatient services. In his clinical practice, he has specialized in the treatment of adults of all ages with a variety of disorders related to depression, anxiety, and anger management. He has also extensive experience in providing psychological evaluations. Among other things, Dr. Yordy currently supervises the behavior management practice of Ferraro Behavior Services, ensuring that the behavioral consultants' clinical services are consistent with pertinent legal, ethical, and clinical guidelines. Dr. Yordy has memberships in the Indiana Psychological and the American Psychological Associations, and he is published in the area of adherence to exercise participation.
Behavior management is implemented by conducting assessments and designing behavior support plans to identify, reduce, and replace maladaptive behaviors. Consistency and repetition are key components to behavior change.
Behavior services are applied by highly trained professionals who have completed a minimum of a Master’s degree in any applied health service area of psychology (social work, clinical psychology, counseling, etc) and who may also have additional license’s or certifications including Marriage and Family Therapist, Mental Health Counselor, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, etc. Services can be rendered in many different environments including the home, work, school, day program, community settings, etc.
Behavior Consultants will first identify problematic behaviors through the completion of a functional assessment (FA). The functional assessment focuses on determining the “function” of inappropriate behaviors. The FA relies on a variety of techniques and strategies to identify the purposes of specific behavior to help teams select interventions to directly address the problem behavior. This will include objective behavioral assessments, observation sessions, behavior data collection, interviews with team members and family, and a review of past assessments and/or behavioral strategies. The FA may find, for example, that problem behavior is a call for attention or a way to avoid a task. Specific interventions will then be developed to address the function or “function” of the problem behaviors based on the results of the assessments.
A Behavior Support Plan (BSP) will be created based on the results of the functional assessment. The contracted consultant will organize specific replacement behaviors or positive behaviors and a plan for teaching them and will incorporate these strategies into the BSP. Some plans will also include rewards or incentive programs to increase the likelihood of compliance. Once the BSP has been approved by all members of the team, these team members will then be trained to competency on appropriate implementation of the plan. Replacement behavior training will occur through repetition, rehearsal, reinforcement, and role modeling. After the BSP is implemented, ongoing data tracking and analysis will continue. The contracted consultant will then measure the effectiveness of the replacement behaviors or positive behaviors by analyzing the decrease or increase in the targeted problem behaviors. Changes to the BSP may be made based on the results of the ongoing data collection or as needed.
At FBS, we focus on team communication. The contracted consultant will work with the client on trust building or any other kind of strategy that incorporates the development of a meaningful relationship. Research has consistently shown that the most important ingredient to behavior change is the relationship between client and contracted consultant.
The treatment plan for behavior management (Behavior Support Plan-BSP) would focus on identifying and decreasing problem behaviors and teaching you different more appropriate behaviors. For example, a BSP may target physical aggression, symptoms of depression, running away, self- injury, property destruction, symptoms of psychosis (hearing voices, paranoia), verbal aggression or non-compliance just to name a few.
Replacement behaviors are more appropriate ways for you to deal with stress or anxiety. For example, instead of hitting a staff member when you do not want to participate in an activity, your consultant may teach you to count to 10 and take a break in a secluded area until you calm down and return to the activity. Other replacement behaviors include but are not limited to: relaxation techniques (deep breathing), coping skills (journaling), anger management techniques (talk about your frustrations), etc.
It is FBS policy that BSP’s with restrictive measures are the least desirable approach to supporting individuals we serve. However, restrictive measures may be needed for individuals presenting challenging/dangerous behaviors for which nonrestrictive behavioral support plans have been attempted and documented as ineffective, especially in cases in which safety and personal health become an issue. The HRC is a committee of volunteers who review restrictive procedures to ensure the client’s rights are being protected. Any behavior support plan that contains restrictive measures must be reviewed and approved by an HRC committee before implementation.