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INTERVIEW WITH JAMES BALL, Ed.D., BCBA-D
Dr. Jim Ball is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and has spent over 25 years in the private sector field of autism. Dr. Ball is a Board member of the Autism Society’s (AS) Board of Directors and is currently the Chair of the National Board. Prior to that, Dr. Ball assisted the AS Board as the Co-Chair of the AS Panel of Professional Advisors.
Dr. Ball has lectured nationally and internationally, provided expert testimony and published in the areas of early intervention, behavior, consultation services, social skills, technology and trauma. He is a featured author and is on the advisory board for the Autism Asperger’s Digest magazine. His triple Award Winning book, “Early Intervention & Autism: Real-Life Questions, Real-Life Answers” was released in February of 2008.
Earlier this year Dr. Ball, speaking at the TAVAC conference in Texas said “If you are doing transition planning and are not using PAES, you’re behind the times and are probably not making good transition decisions.” Dr. Ball expanded on his comments in an October interview with TAI.
TAI: Regarding your remarks at TAVAC why do you feel that way about PAES?
Dr. Ball: It’s a great evidence-based system to help teachers evaluate their student’s vocational skills. It has a built-in data collection system and allows for the students to operate it at their ultimate independence level. It is also very convenient because it comes in one system.
TAI: What do you like best about PAES as an assessment tool; as a transition tool; as a tool to teach entry level job skills and as a tool to develop soft skills? Dr. Ball: It gives you a well-rounded idea of exactly what the individual student’s likes and dislikes are. This will allow for appropriate job carving and job matching.
TAI: Have you ever observed students in a real workplace before and after their involvement with PAES and if so what did you observe?
Dr. Ball: Yes, many times. To me, it was about putting the person in the right job where they could be successful with their skills and feel good about the quality and outcome of their work.
TAI: Do you see any difference in post-education job placement with PAES students in terms of job quality and perhaps a higher percentage of students being placed?
Dr. Ball: I really have not observed this. However, I can say that students that have experienced a PAES Lab, through the repetition, tolerate their job placement at a higher level.
TAI: What’s your take on today’s employer attitudes toward hiring individuals with disabilities and what, if any, are the implications for PAES trained students.
Dr. Ball: I think this is very geographical. It depends on the location and exactly what’s going on with the economy in each different area. However, I feel those that have experienced a PAES Lab, again are placed in situations where they will be successful because you can assess their likes and dislikes for a specific job.
TAI: When working with students on the autism spectrum, what makes PAES a more effective tool than others on the market?
Dr. Ball: The ease of its use. It’s a one stop shop with a data collection system built-in.
TAI: Any other comments regarding PAES?
Dr. Ball: As with most things for a student with an autism spectrum condition, the earlier you can teach the child, the better the success. The PAES Lab allows teachers to begin the prevocational process without boring the students by performing the same tasks over and over again.
For more information about Dr. Ball go to www.jbautismconsulting.com