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.


10th International Conference; Stockholm, Sweden; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #22
Improving Educational Outcomes for Children With Disability in Victorian Schools
Sunday, September 29, 2019
10:30 AM–12:20 PM
Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre, Level 2, C1
Area: EDC/OBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Erin S. Leif (Monash University )
Discussant: Brenda J. Bassingthwaite (The University of Iowa Children's Hospital)

In 2016, the Victorian Government undertook a comprehensive review of its Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD). The review found that, while the PSD delivers substantial funding to support students with disabilities, there are significant weaknesses in its design, implementation and accountability. Specifically, the review found that (a) Victoria lacks a clear inclusive education policy and framework, (b) inclusion of all students requires a sustained investment in the education workforce’s training and professional learning opportunities, (c) there is a lack of accountability and transparency for funding and outcomes for all students with disabilities, and (d) a more effective approach to identify and support students with disabilities is required ( As a result of these findings, The Victorian Department of Education and Training is now delivering an inclusive education agenda to give schools extra resources, support and guidance, with a focus on developing the knowledge and skills of school staff, and giving schools clearer guidance and specialist support to better respond to the needs of students with disabilities. In this symposium, we will present the findings from several current projects designed to directly address the issues highlighted by the Victorian Government in the 2016 review.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Challenging Behaviour, Functional Assessment, Inclusion, Staff Training

CANCELED: Improving Educational Outcomes for Children With Disability in Victorian Schools

(Service Delivery)
ELEANOR JENKIN (Monash University; Castan Centre for Human Rights Law), Claire Spivakovsky (Monash University ), Sarah Joseph (Monash University; Castan Centre for Human Rights Law), Marius Smith (Monash University; Castan Centre for Human Rights Law)

This research aims to shed light on current disadvantages facing students with disability by applying a human rights analysis to the experiences of children with disability in the Victorian mainstream government school system. It highlights areas in which progress has been achieved, and those in which children with disability continue to experience discrimination and disadvantage. The report offers recommendations which are intended to strengthen the current reform process, and to assist the Department of Education and Training to protect and fulfil the rights of children with disability. Our findings are based on almost 100 interviews with stakeholders, including former students, school staff (including principals, teachers and support staff), and individuals working to support and represent them. The research also draws on detailed analysis of relevant policies and laws, in particular the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic) and state and federal anti-discrimination legislation. Of particular relevance, our research findings highlight the need for additional capacity building supports for classroom teachers, teacher’s aides, and student support service professionals who work directly with children with disability in Victorian schools.


Toward Sustained Implementation of School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support in Victorian Schools

(Service Delivery)
RUSSELL FOX (Monash University ), Dennis W. Moore (Monash University), Umesh Sharma (Monash University)

The Government of Victoria has recently launched an inclusive education reform agenda, which has included a considerable boost to funding. As part of this reform agenda, over 300 Victorian government schools have or soon will adopt the School Wide Positive Behaviour Support (SWPBS) framework to promote student engagement and well-being. SWPBS uses a tiered response-to-intervention framework which invests in prevention (Tier I), identifies and provides targeted, individualised, and small group interventions for students not responding to prevention (Tier II), and utilises function-based, individualised, and intensive interventions for students requiring further support (Tier III). Within the Victorian Department of Education, processes and resources are being established to ensure implementation is sustained at the state-level. In light of this, we conducted a systematic literature review to identify the factors that impede or enhance the successful and sustained implementation of SWPBS. Appropriate resourcing and the presence of an effective SWPBS support team were noted to be the most critical factors enabling the implementation of SWPBS, at both the school and state/district level. In this presentation, we will discuss the strengths and limitations of this body of literature, and propose several best practice recommendations for sustained implementation of SWBPS in Victorian schools.

Building the Capacity of Teachers in Inclusive Educational Settings in Victoria
(Service Delivery)
SARAH WOOD (Learning for Life Autism Centre)
Abstract: In this presentation, an innovative school consultancy model based on applied behaviour analysis will be discussed. Learning for Life’s “Inclusion Works” program is a school consultancy program designed to give teachers working in inclusive settings the independent competence to deliver effective behavioural management strategies to their current and future students with autism, strengthening these students’ opportunity for educational success. The multi-component program consisted of (a) an introductory 6-hour, whole-school professional development workshop on reinforcement, behavioural function, and prevention of problem behaviour, (b) functional assessment and development of individualised supports for at-risk students, and (c) behavioural skills training for teachers on the implementation of function-based interventions. To date, the program has been piloted in three schools in Victoria. Initial survey data from 31 teachers suggests that the consultancy program was effective for increasing teacher confidence at managing student behaviour in the classroom and increasing teacher confidence in supporting students’ academic, social and emotional development. Discussion of the benefits and limitations of this model will demonstrate how the principles of applied behaviour analysis can be used to coach teachers to apply function-based interventions with students in inclusive educational settings.
Building the Capacity of School Teams: Results of a Government-Funded Pilot Project in Melbourne, Australia (Victoria)
(Applied Research)
LISA KEMMERER (STAR Autism Support), Jesse Arick (STAR Autism Support), Todd Macbeth (Victorian Department of Education and Training), Ian Raymond Cronin (Victorian Department of Education and Training), Charity Crowell (Victorian Department of Education and Training), Rajesh Sharma (Victorian Department of Education and Training), Christine Yam (Victorian Department of Education and Training), Martina Holland (Victorian Department of Education and Training)
Abstract: The Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Pilot Project was developed to build the capacity of student support service (SSS) professionals and school teams across the state to meet the behavioral and educational needs of students with complex behaviors of concern. Through a variety of training activities (workshops, webinars, case-study meetings, and on-site coaching), led by a Practice Leader (BCBA-D) and four BCBA’s, 17 SSS staff were taught the skills required to conduct a functional behavior assessment (FBA), develop and implement a behavior support plan (BSP), and coach school teams to implement a BSP. Three measures were used to assess the staff’s learning. These included the administration of: a knowledge quiz, fidelity of implementation checklist, and rubrics to assess FBA and BSP reports. Results indicated that all SSS staff improved their knowledge of behavior principles and the skills required to conduct FBAs and develop BSPs. Surveys indicated that the majority of SSS staff and school teams agreed or strongly agreed that they were more confident working with students with challenging behaviors, the school team was better prepared to address student-specific behavioral challenges and collaboration between the school team to address the social, academic, and behavioral needs of students has improved.



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