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From Shoreham to the Larger Community: Krysta Fabian Gets Promoted to Senior BIS

Congratulations to Krysta Fabian, who was recently promoted to Senior Behavior Intervention Specialist (BIS).

Krysta previously served as the BIS at Shoreham Intermediate Care Facility (ICF), which is the residence for around 75 people. She will now begin overseeing the Red Spring Lane and William Street group homes. Since people who live in ICFs have increased medical needs, the care she will provide in IRAs will look slightly different and come with a new set of challenges and rewards.

Krysta Fabian, center, with the Shoreham BIS team at her farewell party“I am excited to work in this capacity because it is a whole new ‘world’ that I am going to be in,” Krysta said.

Krysta went to school for mental health counseling and had originally planned on going into private practice.

“I got in the role kind of on accident,” Krysta said. “I needed an internship during COVID and I had a professor who worked with students with disabilities in school districts. So I took the internship and quickly fell in love with the role and helping younger students, mostly who had autism.”

When her mentor recommended she try going into BIS after graduation, she soon realized this would become her passion. She has been with Citizens Options Unlimited for two-and-a-half years so far and says that the people she supports are the best part of the job.

“They’re much younger in the houses I work with now and more capable of moving around, so I will have to be a little more creative to find ways to connect with them,” she continued.

As a BIS, Krysta supports people to become more socially accommodated and connected as well as to decrease negative behaviors like self-harm and aggression.

“A BIS’ mission is to make sure you’re doing good; you’re happy and are working things out like emotions, communication, and mood so you can live your life to the fullest,” she said. “I view behaviors as a way of communicating your needs.”

Firstly, a BIS will assess challenging behaviors and identify the function they serve for a person. Then they help to teach replacement skills to decrease the frequency of challenging behavior and improve overall quality of life.

The approach used by a BIS is as unique as the person it is tailored to. If someone is more of a visual learner, a BIS will use tools like social stories and schedule timetables, while other people do better with verbal cues, redirection, sign language, or assistive communication boards.

“It is inspiring to me to have someone so young but so motivated and dedicated to the people that we support,” Dorothy Bialik, Director of Behavioral Health Services, said. “Her positive attitude is so infectious.”

Citizens uses a person-centered approach in all aspects of care, which is a value that goes hand in hand with our Compass status accredited by the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). An example of this is how the Psych department and BIS teams navigate the usage of preventative measures to behaviors, like restraints.

“Nothing is done for the sake of staff convenience, but always what is best for each person we support,” Krysta said.

A person-centered approach to care, which includes prioritizing the minimal use of restraints, is one example of how our agency holds a higher standard of care than is required by the OPWDD.

One of the ways that our agency advocates for each person supported is through the Human Rights Committee, supported by Christine Schulte, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA, Vice President of Behavioral Health Services, Anne Miller, Director of Quality Assurance (QA), the Psychology Department. Several volunteers, including people supported and a Registered Nurse (RN), work together to ensure the right supports are added to each person’s Life Plan so a person’s entire team, from the BIS to DSPs, carry out these goals.

Behaviors can decrease without restraints, which can be seen in Krysta’s impact on the people she has supported in the two and a half years she has been with Citizens. BIS’ like Krysta prioritize supporting people through consistency, which helps to build mutual trust and respect with the people they support.

As far as the future for Krysta?

“I hope it’s only up from here,” Krysta said. “I truly love the Psychology Department and am very proud to be a part of the team here.”

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