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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #485
CE Offered: BACB
Quality Teaching in Intensive Behavioural Intervention for Students with Autism: Effects on Staff and Children
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
W183b (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Adrienne M. Perry (York University)
Discussant: Richard P. Hastings (University of Warwick)
CE Instructor: Adrienne M. Perry, Ph.D.

This symposium presents international research focused on the importance of quality in behavioural teaching for children with autism receiving Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI). Researchers in Canada (Blacklock et al.), Sweden (Langh & Bolte), England (Denne et al.), and Wales (Foran & Hoerger) will present four studies bearing on the issue of quality behavioural teaching and all making reference to the York Measure of Quality of IBI (YMQI; Perry, Flanagan, & Prichard, 2008) to assess the quality of teaching. Dr. Adrienne Perry (Canada) will chair and Dr. Richard Hastings (England) will serve as Discussant. Themes to be addressed in the symposium include: how characteristics of quality teaching can be grouped into factors or scores; how consistent quality teaching is over time; how training and supervision of teachers impact upon their attitudes towards IBI, their YMQI scores and on childrens progress; and the issue of quantity versus quality of behavioural teaching in relation to children's outcomes.

Keyword(s): autism intervention, quality intervention
Specific Dimensions of Treatment Quality: Change Over Time and Relation to Child Outcome
KSUSHA BLACKLOCK (York University), Azin Taheri (York University), Adrienne M. Perry (York University)
Abstract: This study is important because the quality of IBI is very rarely examined, and has never been looked at across time in a treatment program. The York Measure of Quality of IBI (YMQI; Perry, Flanagan, & Prichard, 2008) has good inter-rater reliability and validity but may not measure a unitary construct (Blacklock, Shine, & Perry, 2013). As part of a larger study (Perry, Dunn Geier, & Freeman, in preparation), monthly videos of children were coded using the YMQI. Three rationally-derived dimensions were examined: technical skill, generalization, and managing problem behaviour. We examined the level and trend of these three dimensions (n=15) over 3 time points during a year in treatment. All three aspects of quality had mean ratings in the "good" range at all three times, with a slight pattern showing improvement in the first 4 months and then a small decline toward the end. Generalization scores were significantly lower than the other scores throughout treatment. We will extend these findings by performing a factor analysis of the YMQI and exploring factor scores across time. We will also examine the relationship of these factors to child characteristics and progress in IBI, thus linking treatment quality to children’s outcomes.

IBI Quality:The Level of Knowledge and Allegiance among Preschool Trainers

ULRIKA LANGH (Stockholm Autism Center and Karolinska Institutet), Sven Bolte (Karolinska Institutet)

It appears trivial that expertise and belief in an intervention method is crucial for treatment success. However, these basic issues have been largely neglected in several IBI efficacy studies. In Sweden, IBI skill levels of preschool staff administering IBI is pretty unknown. In the scope of a larger project on IBI quality control and development using the YMQI, the objective of this study was to examine the level of basic ABA knowledge and the allegiance to the method in five groups: IBI experts, IBI supervised preschool teachers, preschool teachers without IBI, parents, and student controls (total N = 302) using a 27-item questionnaire including 15 multiple choice knowledge items on basic ABA principles as well as 12 allegiance items. MANOVA (F>8.2, p<.0001, eta2 =.10) and post-hoc Tukey tests (p<.03) showed that IBI experts showed higher IBI allegiance than both preschool teachers with and without supervision. IBI experts and IBI supervised preschool teachers showed comparable IBI knowledge, and higher knowledge than unsupervised preschool teachers. Findings indicate that IBI supervision of preschool teachers increases knowledge on the method, although not necessarily the trust in it.


Assessing Tutor Competencies in Applied Behaviour Analysis in a School-based Setting for Children with Autism

LOUISE D DENNE (Bangor University), Esther Thomas (TreeHouse School), Richard P. Hastings (University of Warwick), J. Carl Hughes (Bangor University)

With an increase in large scale Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) services for children with autism, the need to define and measure quality is essential. Staff competence is key and identifying and measuring this accurately is a critical aspect of service provision. ABA service providers use various ways of measuring competence including direct observation, video analysis, and written examination. However, apart from the York Measure of Quality of Intensive Behavioural Intervention (YMQI), there is an interesting lack of direct links between defining competencies and developing ways to assess them. In this study we used three measures of competencies developed from the UK ABA Autism Education Competence Framework Level 1. Along with the YMQI we assess their construct validity by comparing the performance of two groups of tutors working in a school for children with autism (experienced vs. inexperienced) and performance of the inexperienced group at baseline (T1) and following one year of competence based training (T2). Results revealed that the more experienced group in both the between-group and longitudinal comparisons achieved higher scores on 3 out of 4 measures suggesting that these work well as a means of measuring competence.

An Evaluation of a Low-intensity, High-quality Behavioural Intervention for Children with ASD
Denise Foran (Bangor University), MARGUERITE L. HOERGER (Bangor University)
Abstract: There is substantial evidence that intensive behaviour interventions improve outcomes for children with ASD, but not all families can access such expensive, intensive interventions. We evaluated a low intensity, school-based behavioural intervention for children with ASD. Seven children received 7 hours a week of 1:1 teaching using discrete trial instruction. The remainder of their day was spent in group activities and generalised instruction. The classroom assistants were trained to deliver the curriculum, and their skills were evaluated using the York Measure of Quality of Intensive Behavioural Intervention (YMQI). The therapists achieved a rating of “good” on the YMQI. The children made significant improvements on measures of IQ and educational targets. We will discuss the on-going comparisons of a larger sample to a matched control group. These preliminary findings suggest that a behavioural model that is high quality but low intensity may be an effective and practical intervention for children with ASD.



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