Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Symposium #354
Reports of the Long Term Survival of Behavioral Interventions: Sustainability Testing, Consumer Advocacy, and Generality
Monday, May 28, 2007
10:00 AM–11:20 AM
Emma C
Area: OBM/CSE; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: L. Keith Miller (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Presents results of a new methodology for developing and analyzing sustainable behavioral interventions. The methodology involves simulating post-researcher conditions by terminating all supports for program implementation from the research team. One use of this simulation is during sustainability testing during which an intervention is tested and revised until it is sustainable. Once developed, the conditions producing sustained use are experimentally analyzed during the same simulated post-research conditions. The symposium presents research on sustainability from settings as varied as group homes, a co-op dormitory, pre-schools, a large middle school, a family and even a laboratory preparation. The results suggest four conditions that increase survival: sustainability testing, minimizing the effort required of service providers to implement an intervention, providing supervisors with a low effort system of observation and engineering the environment to permit consumers to act as advocates for the clients of a behavioral intervention.
Sustainability Testing and Long Term Survival of Behavioral Interventions in Widely Varied Settings.
L. KEITH MILLER (University of Kansas), Constance Tieghi (University of Kansas), Nathaniel G. Smith (University of Kansas), Matthieu De Wein (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Sustainability testing has been used to develop behavioral interventions in a wide variety of settings. Sustainability testing simulates post-researcher conditions by having the research team provide no support or encouragement for use of the intervention. The team remains in the setting to observe use and to revise the intervention until it is used at an appropriate level. Sustainability testing has been successfully applied in settings varying from group homes for the developmentally disabled to pre-schools as well as to problems varying from group meeting behavior to medication adherence. It has led to interventions powered by advocates for the client-served who are informed by simplified observation systems to provide differential reinforcement to the implementers for correct implementation. Sustainability testing of continued use under simulated post-researcher conditions has accurately predicted survival under actual post-researcher conditions for as long as 15 years. Sustainability testing seems to be an effective method for promoting program survival having considerable generality.
A Human Service Simulation: The Use of Behavioral Outcomes to Manage Staff Performances.
NATHANIEL G. SMITH (University of Kansas), L. Keith Miller (University of Kansas), Hang Wu (University of Kansas)
Abstract: The current study is an extension of a laboratory line of research aimed to simulate a human service situation. College students served as simulated staff and mice as simulated clients. This study investigated the effects of a program to manage staff implementation through the use of performance incentives (i.e., extra-credit points) contingent upon behavioral gains (i.e., behavioral outcomes) among the clients. The results revealed that performance incentives, when contingent upon behavioral outcomes, sustained high levels of correct staff implementation. Unobtrusive observations conducted in absence of direct supervision verified the extent to which behavioral outcomes among the clients reflected the degree of program integrity and continuation among staff. The use of management-by-behavioral-outcomes, if properly conceived, designed, and evaluated, may enhance the efficacy and sustainability of staff performance by making accountability more salient and supervision less onerous.
Promoting Positive Child Outcomes by Enabling Parent Advocacy.
MATTHIEU DE WEIN (University of Kansas), L. Keith Miller (University of Kansas)
Abstract: The effect of having teachers provide a parent with a daily progress note on the engagement of a child with developmental delays was examined. The daily progress note recorded events from the school day that included the child's participation in play activities, interactions with peers and adults, and use of communication. The researcher previously taught the teachers procedures to increase child engagement. Child engagement was higher during progress note conditions than no progress note conditions. Teachers and parents continued to use the progress note in the absence of researcher support 6 weeks after the study. The possible role of differential feedback from the parent for teacher implementation is discussed.
Teacher Advocacy to Produce Long-Term Survival of a Middle School Pre-Referral Meeting System.
CONSTANCE TIEGHI (University of Kansas), L. Keith Miller (University of Kansas), Rachel L. Freeman (University of Kansas)
Abstract: This project developed a meeting system to foster data-based decision-making by teachers when targeting academic or behavioral problems. The goal was to develop a meeting system that would survive after the researchers left the setting. The study took place over a two-year period in a Midwest public middle school serving 600 students. Meetings were run by teachers using a scripted manual developed to guide teachers through the meeting process. At each meeting, the researcher measured the percentage of team meeting behaviors displayed. The percentage of team meeting behaviors increased from an average of 13% during baseline, to 81% with the scripted manual. Manual withdrawal was associated with team meeting behaviors decreasing to an average of 54%, increasing back to 79% with manual re-implementation. Follow-up observations for four years after the research team left the setting revealed continued implementation of the manual and team meeting behaviors averaging 85%, despite a change in the school's principal, vice principal, psychologist and half the teachers. Steps taken to increase survival of the meeting system included usability testing, transfer of supports to local staff, encouragement of teacher advocacy, decrease in effort to run meetings and train new teachers.



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