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 #376
CE Offered: BACB
Examples of Behavioral Analysts Meeting the Needs of School-based Personnel in Behavior Assessment and Intervention
Monday, May 26, 2014
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
W193a (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: TBA/PRA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Brenda J. Bassingthwaite (The University of Iowa Children's Hospital)
CE Instructor: Sean D. Casey, Ph.D.

When mandates to conduct function-based assessments of challenging behavior were included in the reauthorization of IDEA in 1997, school-based personnel turned to the field of applied behavior analysis to assist them in understanding how to conduct these assessments (Barnhill, 2005). Behavior analysts have an important role in evaluating the skills of school-based personnel and training personnel to conduct function-based assessment and implement interventions. This symposium discusses findings regarding the needs of school-based personnel to be trained. While Dutt et al. present a tool for assessing the needs and expertise of special educators and associates, Strickland-Cohen and Horner, and Casey et al. present on function-based assessment training projects. All three talks focus on professionals most often responsible for the mandated assessments and most frequently working with students with challenging behaviors (e.g., special educators, associates, school psychologists, social workers, and counselors). As a profession we can help to ensure that they are able to conduct the necessary assessments and implement successful interventions for students engaging in challenging behaviors. Who better than behavior analysts to provide the training that is needed?

Keyword(s): FBA Training, school-based practice

A Needs Analysis in Behavioral Assessments and Interventions within Special Education Schools in Singapore

ANURADHA DUTT (Nanyang Technological University), Iris Chen (Nanyang Technological University), Rahul Nair (Nanyang Technological University)

The primary intent of this study was to evaluate the level of skill and training needs/supports required among school personnel (i.e., special educators and teacher associates) in the area of classroom based behavioral assessments and intervention within special education schools in Singapore. Secondary aims included evaluating the psychometric properties of the needs assessment survey form in terms of its reliability (i.e., internal consistency and test retest) for future use within the Singaporean context. A needs assessment survey was administered to 416 respondents across 7 special education schools in Singapore. Results were analyzed using non-parametric statistics (i.e., Mann Whitney U tests) and multiple regression analyses. Results indicated that skills in the areas of behavior assessment and interventions seemed higher in special educators than teaching associates. Conversely, training needs seemed lower in special educators than teaching associates, suggesting that the teaching associates should be the primary target population for training. Additionally, results revealed specific areas of training that need to be targeted in future training workshops. Finally, results suggest that the needs assessment survey is a highly reliable tool to assess competencies/skills in the area of behavior assessments and interventions and moderately reliable to assess training needs within the local context.


Training Typical School Personnel to Develop and Implement Basic Behavior Support Plans

M. KATHLEEN STRICKLAND-COHEN (Texas Tech University), Robert H. Horner (University of Oregon)

It has been over 15 years since the 1997 amendments to IDEA explicitly recommended that schools use FBA in their behavior management and disciplinary practices. Yet, in current practice FBA continues to be under-utilized and schools still struggle in their efforts to design and implement effective behavior supports for students who engage in problem behavior (Blood & Neel, 2007; Cook et al. 2012). We evaluated the ability of typical school personnel (i.e., counselors, SPED teachers, school psychologists) with basic behavioral training to develop and implement function-based supports for students with low-level problem behaviors (e.g., talk-outs, out of seat behavior). Descriptive results indicated that following 4 one-hour training sessions 13 participants increased their knowledge related to identifying interventions that were and were not functionally related to problem behavior, and lead school-based teams in developing support plans that were rated as technically sound by external behavior analysts. Data resulting from a multiple baseline analysis across 5 of the trained professionals, each working with a team to address the problem behavior of one elementary school student, demonstrate that plan implementation occurred with high fidelity and was functionally related to decreases in problem behavior and increases in academic engagement.


The Challenging Behavior Specialist Project: What Have We Learned After 4.5 Years?

SEAN D. CASEY (The Iowa Department of Education), Brenda J. Bassingthwaite (The University of Iowa Children's Hospital), David P. Wacker (The University of Iowa), John F. Lee (The University of Iowa), Kelly M. Schieltz (The University of Iowa), Tory J. Christensen (Association of University Centers on Disabilities), Todd G. Kopelman (The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics)

The Iowa Challenging Behavior Specialist Project has completed its fourth year. The purpose of the project was to help develop the skills of Area Education Agency personnel in the area of Function Based Assessment. Through 4 years the CBS project has been successful in achieving its goal of training personnel in the state who address the challenging behavior needs to conduct the advanced level FBAs. The personnel who have trained through the project come from 3 main training backgrounds: school psychologists, special education consultants, and social workers. We evaluated our data on the FBA skills across the 3 types of challenging behavior specialists across 3 main dependent measures (i.e., self-assessments, performance exam, and direct observation) and had found only one statistical difference across groups (i.e., school psychologists > special education consultants and social workers on the performance exam). Despite this lone finding most of our data indicate that training background was of little relevance in the acquisition of FBA skills and the speed upon which skills were learned. Results are further discussed relative to decisions of who should perform high level FBAs in Iowa schools and beyond.




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