Session 44: Kim Berens talks Fit Learning, Precision Teaching, Scaling Agencies, and More!

Kim Berens joins me in Session 44 of The Behavioral Observations Podcast in what I originally thought was going to be a discussion about the company she co-founded, Fit Learning. While we spoke about Fit Learning a-plenty, Kim also provided tons of historical anecdotes on the development of our field, the development of Precision Teaching (where she recounted many  personal conversations with Ogden Lindsley), and her take on where our field's challenges lie.

If you haven't heard about Fit Learning, you'll want to check out their website. Their unique instructional model typically results in 1 year of academic growth for every 40 hours of instruction. If you're like me, you had to read that sentence two or three times to let it sink truly sink in. Kim shares the story of how Fit Learning was developed from its humble beginnings at the University of Nevada, Reno to licensing Fit Learning affiliates all around the globe.

Here is a portion of her bio-sketch:

Kimberly Nix Berens, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA is a Founding Director of Fit Learning, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at the doctoral level, and a Licensed Behavior Analyst in the state of New York.  Her work centers on using behavior analysis to transform the learning abilities of a wide-range of children, including those who are struggling, average, gifted, learning disabled, or on the autism spectrum. She received her doctoral degree in psychology with a specialization in behavior analysis at the University of Nevada – Reno (UNR) in 2005 under the supervision of Dr. Ogden Lindsley, Dr. Patrick Ghezzi and Dr. Thomas Boyce.  Along with the other co-founders, Dr. Berens assisted in the creation of Fit Learning (originally Center for Advanced Learning) as a graduate student at UNR and, since that time, she has overseen the expansion of the organization to include locations in Reno, Nevada; Medford, Oregon; Locust Valley, New York; Manhattan; Phoenix, Arizona; and Perth, Australia.  She relocated to the New York area in 2010 to focus on opening learning laboratories throughout the east coast. Through these learning labs, Dr. Berens and her team have developed a powerful system of instruction that combines precision teaching, direct instruction, curriculum-based measurement, and relational frame theory.  This system consistently produces over one year’s growth in 40 hours of instruction. Following an appointment by Governor Jim Gibbons, she served on the State of Nevada Board of Psychological Examiners from 2009 – 2010 where she assisted in the development of state licensing regulations for behavior analysts.  Dr. Berens was the first behavior analyst in the country to hold such a post.   She has provided clinical and research supervision to undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students and she continues to serve as an affiliate faculty member in the Behavior Analysis Program at the University of Nevada – Reno.

This podcast is sponsored by Chartlytics.com, Operantcoffee.com, and The Georgia Autism Providers Conference.

To get a Precision Teaching starter package (i.e., some really cool free stuff), go to Chartlytics.com/matt.

If you want some awesome coffee that is sustainably produced that happens to be 10% off, go to operantcoffee.com/shop and use the discount code BEHAVIORCOFFEE.

If you want to attend the Georgia Autism Providers Conference, register before January 31st so you can take advantage of their early-bird discount. Amongst other offerings, this conference will feature the PEAK Level 1 certification workshop. Attendees who sign up for the PEAK workshop before January 31st will enrolled in a drawing for all four PEAK Modules, as well as the PEAK Comprehensive Record books (a $390 value).

Comments 7

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      Valerie, I have received several emails, along with direct messages on social media that echo your comments. I’m glad you enjoyed the show!

  1. I loved this episode! Dr. Beren dished out some really critical insights for practitioners. I’ll definitely be digging more into precision teaching with my learners. I hope you have her back again.

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      Author

      Hi Suzanne, I know they’re sponsors of the show, and I don’t want to come off as “sale-sy” but Chartlytics has a lot of free resources to get you started. Also, you’ll find tons of support on the Standard Celeration Society’s FB page. I’m in the same boat as you (i.e., wrapping my head around trying to use these tools for the kids I work with), and I’ve found that most people in the PT world are extraordinarily helpful, especially when it comes to showing people the ropes.

  2. I really enjoyed Kim’s passion for PT and I found this episode in general to be very invigorating, honest and enjoyable (including the fact that I now understand there is no difference between rate and frequency and why using the standard celebration chart is called PT). I’ve come across this bifurcation (nice word that) in ABA with regard to measurement before (note in the episode with Pat McGreevy this also came up) and it is rather shocking, baffling and weird to discover that the dominant ways of measuring and presenting data are,well, inaccurate and non-scientific (and, most appalling, unethical really). I’m rather new to the field but PT and the celebration chart hardly ever came up in my studies. Bizarre. Thanks again for such a great and informative podcast series. Its by far the most helpful and encouraging resource available to me.

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      Author
  3. Thanks for showing such great support for data based decision making within the field. I am a practicing behavioral consultant and work with schools to implement behavioral and academic interventions. I have a background in ABA as well as academic intervention development. I have found that data is always so important to determine effectiveness of any treatment. Working with schools can be tough as you said and I couldn’t agree more with the disagreements they have regarding the use of programs such as FIT. I let the data speak for itself and have found success within schools by providing sound skill and procedural based instruction that is effective and efficient for groups and individuals.
    Keep up the good work.

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