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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #295
CE Offered: BACB
Organizational Behavior Management in Agencies for Persons with Autism
Sunday, May 24, 2009
4:00 PM–5:20 PM
North 221 C
Area: OBM/AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Sarah M. Dunkel (Southern Illinois University)
CE Instructor: Alice Shillingsburg, Ph.D.
Abstract: Behavior analytic techniques have a demonstrated history of improving the lives of persons with autism and related disorders. However, the unique needs of large-scale agencies serving persons with autism present difficult obstacles for behavior analysts. Maintaining and documenting acquired skills can be problematic with inadequate program implementation, cumbersome data collection, and unhealthy stress levels of direct care workers. With the aid of organizational behavior management research, however, behavior analytic techniques can guide staff training, performance management, and systems analysis thereby improving the lives of persons served by autism agencies.
Training Staff to Use Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) Data Collection Systems in an Agency for Persons with Autism
SARAH M. DUNKEL (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University), Susan Szekely (Illinois Center for Autism)
Abstract: The emphasis on evidence-based practice and accountability within human service agencies has increased the need for easy-to-implement data collection systems. Although traditional paper and pencil methods are commonly used, recent technological advancements have proven useful in progressive agencies. The use of this new generation of technologies, however, may prove problematic when experienced practitioners with technological inexperience must be trained to collect data. The purpose of the current study was to train inexperienced program staff at an agency for persons with autism to use the Archer Ultra-Rugged PDAs to reliably collect data on student and staff behaviors. Both PDA use and reliability of data collected were trained using a combination of techniques including video modeling, group training, individual training, and feedback. Results will be discussed regarding necessary components of PDA training.
The Utility of a Computerized Observation System to Measure Client Engagement in an Agency for Persons with Autism
MICHAEL BORDIERI (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University), Sarah M. Dunkel (Southern Illinois University), Stephanie A Norgard (Southern Illinois University), Susan Szekely (Illinois Center for Autism)
Abstract: One of the greatest challenges faced by behavior analysts in applied settings is the sheer number of consumers served. In large settings, complex data collection systems are needed to track multiple measures across hundreds of participants. Such systems, driven by legal and practical necessity, tend to focus on individual problem behaviors targeted for reduction and, in many settings, the utilization of physical restraint. While such measures are central to evaluating client progress, they are not sufficient. This presentation will evaluate the merits of a large scale data collection system designed to measure positive client behaviors as well as measures of more complex staff and client system dynamics. Specifically, the utility of a hand held computerized data collection system used to measure the on task engagement of over one hundred clients served by a non-profit treatment and educational agency serving people with autism will be explored. Implications for individual client data tracking, classroom engagement evaluations, and feedback based staff behavior interventions to increase client engagement will be discussed.
Comparison of Mindfulness and Acceptance versus Relaxation Training on Direct Care Staff Self-Reports of Stress
JOHN C PINGO (Goldie B. Floberg Center), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Human services organizations often face multiple variables that can increase workplace stress. Many variables, such as staff turnover, inadequate financial support from state funding sources, and external regulations that limit flexibility of service delivery are beyond the control of direct care staff and front-line managers. It then becomes important to teach staff methods for dealing with the stress that they will encounter in the work environment. This study compares the impact of two interventions on staff self-reports of workplace stress, mental health, and psychological flexibility. Interventions consisted of a condensed mindfulness and acceptance training class and a relaxation training class consisting of progressive muscle relaxation training and related techniques. A statistical analysis is presented and further applications of the training interventions are discussed.
Environmental Re-structuring and Video Teaching Strategies to Enhance Data Collection Procedures for Staff in an Autism Treatment Facility
JOHN M. GUERCIO (Judevine Center for Autism), Rebecca Rubie (Judevine Center for Autism), Brooke Diane Walker (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The current level of staff training that is required in the autism field is immense. Given the array of behavioral challenges presented by this population, the need for a comprehensive data collection system is present. This project will examine the use of a video training procedure and environmental restructuring to impact the accuracy of data collection by staff working in a day treatment center for adults with autism spectrum disorders. Baseline measures were taken on the accuracy of staff collected data that were documented on facility data forms across 2 group therapy rooms. Intervention consisted of video samples of behavioral issues that had occurred in the therapy rooms and requests of staff to record what had occurred both right after viewing the video and the day after viewing the video. Their accuracy in recording was then presented to them after both recording opportunities. Their accuracy of recording was then evaluated via a reversal design. An environmental restructuring phase was implemented whereby the schedule for data recording and the data sheets themselves were more accessible to all of the staff. The data showed an increase in the accuracy of data collection during the environmental restructuring condition as compared to baseline.



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