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.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Event Details

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Symposium #133
Aspects of Training in Behavior Analysis
Sunday, May 29, 2005
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Stevens 4 (Lower Level)
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Kelly McElrath (Bucks County Schools Intermediate Unit #22)
Discussant: Saul Axelrod (Temple University)
Abstract: Models of staff and parent training are an important aspect of behavior analysis in the effective delivery of services across home and school settings. Teacher training in principles of behavior analysis that begins at the undergraduate and graduate level may directly impact the use of functional assessments in school settings. Instructional staff providing direct services to children often do not posses the skills necessary to implement behavior language intervention programs for children with autism. With increasing numbers of students with supplemental in-home services, parent training is a necessary and sufficient component for achieving generalization of skills across settings.
Teaching College Students to Use Functional Assessment Methodology
MARIA L. AGNEW (Holy Family University)
Abstract: The assessment and treatment of challenging behaviors in the classroom has been an issue in special education for several years. In the field of applied behavior analysis, best practice recommendations for the assessment and treatment of challenging behaviors is to conduct a functional analysis to determine effective treatment protocols (Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, & Richman, 1982/1994). Best practice recommendations do not always equate with reality. Common practice in schools is to conduct functional assessments to determine treatment protocols (Iwata, 2002). These assessments do not include the functional analysis procedures described in the classic study by Iwata and colleagues in 1982 and 1994. However, the use of functional assessments alone in identifying behavioral function and linking effective treatment to that function has been demonstrated in practical applications (Ervin, Radford, Bertsch, Piper, Ehrhardt, & Poling, 2001; Agnew & McElrath, 2002). In addition to this discrepancy in best practice recommendations and reality in the school system, special education teachers do not necessarily receive the theoretical training or technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive functional analyses or functional assessments in their preservice training. If they do receive training, it is usually limited to one chapter in an instructional textbook and possibly two questions on a midterm or a final examination. This study investigated the acquisition of skills needed to conduct the assessment technique that is most commonly used in schools, functional assessment. A treatment package was used that consisted of teaching each unit of a four unit functional assessment curriculum to students in increments. Once mastery was demonstrated in one section, the student moved on to the next section of the curriculum until all four units were mastered. A multiple baseline across subject matter via a multiple baseline achievement test (Miller & Weaver, 1972) was used for this investigation. An achievement test on skill acquisition of functional assessment theory and application was administered to each student in a classroom management course. The test was administered to each class of a four class behavior management unit. The test was constructed so that it contained four subsections that corresponded to the four units that comprised the functional assessment training for this course. Each section of the test was scored separately. Each score in each section wa
Effective Staff Training in Verbal Behavior Classrooms
KIM STUNKARD (Council Rock School District), Rebekah Barnes (Bucks County Schools Intermediate Unit #22)
Abstract: Effective instruction of a student with autism or other developmental disability requires that staff possess teaching repertoires that are necessary for implementing behavior language intervention programs. Instructors then become effective at behavior shaping when they possess basic skills in behavior modification, advanced skills in behavior analysis in the conceptual, experimental, and applied realms, knowledge of augmentative communication, and of Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior. The instructors’ repertoires then must be “shaped” so that they may effectively teach new skills, while maintaining the students’ motivative operations to participate in the learning process. This orientation postulates that most students can acquire skills when they have effective instruction, delivered by “educated educators.” POAC, a non profit group of parents of children with autism, offers a free training series in evidenced-based best teaching practices as a part of a commitment to training teachers of programs serving students. Prospective attendants should also receive training in the districts for which they render services through on-site consultation and training provided by certified behavior analysts. This collaborative training model may ensure a greater degree of quality control and efficacy in creating and maintaining instructional environments based on the science of applied behavior analysis with an emphasis on verbal behavior.
Providing Training in Behavior Analysis to Parents of Children with Autism
NINA C. WILDE (Bucks County Schools Intermediate Unit #22), Pamela D. Culin (Bancroft NeuroHealth)
Abstract: Interventions based upon the principles of applied behavior analysis are supported by the literature in serving children with autism and related disorders. Many service providers offer parent training, however, a literature search reveals few references specific to training parents in behavior analytic skills. This paper will describe a parent training service model tailored to families of children with autism. The model includes a review of the diagnosis of autism, key terms such as positive and negative reinforcement and punishment, two, three and four-term contingent relations, assessment and functional classes, the relationship between function and treatment. This paper will also present pilot acquisition data. Lastly, this paper will review some of the benefits as well as the challenges of this type of model.



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