|Abstract: When behavior analysts left their labs in the 1950s, where experimental environments were highly controlled, they met staff and family members of children and adults with developmental disabilities. Behavior analysts soon observed that staff and family members differed from Skinner boxes. Hence, the earliest applied behavior analytic studies immediately began to address caretaker behavior. This interest has been sustained and, indeed, has intensified as more human services attempt to adopt applied behavior analysis. This address will review the overlapping fields of organizational behavior management (OBM) and developmental disabilities to highlight common areas of focus, concern, and future directions.
There are several robust technologies of training caregivers—such as behavioral skills training, task clarification, and feedback—which have addressed a wide variety of socially significant behavior. Sometimes these approaches have also shown beneficial changes in client behavior. Some studies have also conducted large-scale behavior change through pyramidal training, in which routine supervisors train caregivers to behave more effectively to produce beneficial changes in client behavior.
Despite this progress, several important issues have not been addressed as rigorously as they could be. These issues include developing robust technologies to assess and prioritize caregiver training needs, developing comprehensive caregiver training curricula, demonstration of generalization of caregiver and supervisor behavior in pyramidal training with concurrent benefits to client groups, maintenance of change, greater use of basic behavior analytic concepts to explain and refine applied technologies, and wide-scale adoption of OBM practices in large organizations. The field of developmental disabilities can also benefit from other areas of OBM, such as behavioral safety. Future research and practice should continue to expand and refine the interplay between OBM and the field of developmental disabilities.|