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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #188
CE Offered: BACB
Advancements in Behavior Analytic Staff Training Practices in School and Adult Service Settings
Sunday, May 29, 2022
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Meeting Level 1; Room 153B
Area: OBM/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: James Maraventano (Rutgers University)
Discussant: Florence D. DiGennaro Reed (University of Kansas)
CE Instructor: James Maraventano, Ed.D.
Abstract: A critical component of providing high-quality behavior analytic support services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) is training for support staff to implement practices consistently and with integrity. As applied behavior analytic interventions have been evidenced to improve many skill deficits and challenging behaviors amongst individuals with IDD, the importance of evidence-based staff training is amplified to promote positive outcomes of individuals receiving services. Our four presentations intend to disseminate recent research in areas of staff training to address issues related to treatment integrity implementing behavior analytic strategies. Lucy Fernandez’s study evaluated the effects of behavioral skills training (BST) to teach paraprofessionals a variety of rapport building skills using teacher child interaction therapy (TCIT). Molly Joyce’s study evaluated the use of video-based instruction (VBI) for teaching public school teachers to implement token economy and 3-step guided compliance procedures. Swathi Ragulan’s study investigated the effects of Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) for improving treatment integrity and reducing work-related stress and burnout amongst behavior technicians providing ABA services. Nicole Kanaman’s study applied the Performance Diagnostic Checklist – Human Services (PDC-HS) to identify barriers to staff implementation of healthy behavioral practices at a residential/day service program for adults with IDD.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): evidence-based practices, intellectual/developmental disabilities, staff training, treatment integrity
Target Audience: General understanding of behavior analytic principles and components of staff training practices.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, attendees will be able to: 1) Describe the utility of video-based instruction for staff training 2) Describe the benefits of using the Performance Diagnostic Checklist - Human Services for assessment of employee performance 3) Describe how Acceptance and Commitment Training can effectively improve work performance among human service staff 4) Describe the utility of Behavioral Skills training for teaching staff to develop rapport building skills with the students they support.

An Evaluation of Behavioral Skills Training for Teaching Paraprofessionals How to Interact With Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

LUCY VERONICA FERNANDEZ (Hunter College, CUNY), April N. Kisamore (Hunter College), Lauren K. Schnell (Hunter College), Alice Shillingsburg (May Institute)

Paraprofessionals are often expected to implement behavior reduction programming, but frequently lack the experience creating optimal learning environments. One strategy paraprofessionals can use as a proactive measure to decrease the likelihood of noncompliance and problem behavior is teacher child interaction therapy (TCIT). TCIT involves training teachers positive attention skills such as describing activities the child does, reflecting what the child says, imitating, and praising the child’s behavior. Behavioral skills training (BST) has been used to teach numerous skills to paraprofessionals, but research for how BST can be used to teach paraprofessionals how to decrease noncompliance and problem behavior of children with autism is necessary. For our study, we evaluated the effects of BST to teach paraprofessionals rapport building skills. We conducted BST with a confederate child, then assessed the effects of our intervention with both a confederate child and a child from the paraprofessional’s classroom. Because the goal of teaching paraprofessionals these rapport building skills was to increase positive interactions and decrease the likelihood of problem behavior, we also evaluated problem behavior and child proximity to our trainees at pre- and post-training. We programmed for/assessed generalization and assessed social validity of our procedures by giving teachers and supervisors a questionnaire.

Using Asynchronous Video-Based Instruction to Train Public School Staff to Implement Behavior Analytic Interventions
MOLLY JOYCE (Hunter College), Lauren K. Schnell (Hunter College), April N. Kisamore (Hunter College), Jason C. Vladescu (Caldwell University)
Abstract: Public school systems in the United States serve approximately 50 million students, with at least 7 million of these students receiving special education services, potentially requiring some sort of academic or behavioral intervention. Asynchronous training for public school teachers to implement interventions such as token economies and 3-step guided compliance procedures may allow for more success in the classroom and for students to access reinforcement from teachers and peers. The purpose of this study was to (a) replicate recent research on the effectiveness of video-based instruction (VBI) on implementation of token economy and 3-step guided compliance procedures and (b) evaluate the effects of adding a scoring video-based instruction (VBI) on staff training of these procedures. All participants demonstrated learning with the use of VBI.
Effects of Acceptance and Commitment Training on Treatment Integrity Amongst Behavioral Technicians
SWATHI RAGULAN (University of Nevada, Reno), Erin Elizabeth Bertoli (Brett DiNovi and Associates), Jacqueline Shinall (Rutgers University), SungWoo Kahng (Rutgers University)
Abstract: Behavior technicians (BT) within the field of applied behavior analysis may be at greater risk for experiencing burnout and stress due to the nature of their clients, job demands, and work environments. Burnout and stress may negatively impact BTs’ work performances, more specifically, their treatment integrity. Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) may be a useful tool to address the private events as well as the covert and overt behaviors associated with burnout and stress. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of an ACT intervention on improving treatment integrity and reducing work-related burnout and stress amongst BTs. Four BTs participated in an ACT workshop, and their treatment integrity as well as their burnout and stress levels were measured prior to and following the ACT workshop. Treatment integrity increased for all participants, suggesting that ACT-based interventions may be an effective approach to improving work performance (i.e., treatment integrity) amongst BTs who may experience workplace burnout and stress.
Assessment and Intervention of Staff Adherence to Healthy Behavioral Practices in Adult Services
NICOLE KANAMAN (University of Kansas), Claudia L. Dozier (The University of Kansas), Catherine McHugh (The University of Kansas), Sara Camille Diaz de Villegas (University of Kansas), Bryan Alan Simmons (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Common variables that may inhibit employee performance include insufficient training, a lack of performance consequences, competing tasks/contingencies, among others (Austin, 2000). The Performance Diagnostic Checklist (PDC; Austin, 2000) is an indirect assessment that has been used to assess employee performance, identify barriers to satisfactory employee performance, and develop interventions that address the variables influencing employee performance (e.g., Rodriquez et al., 2005). More recently, the PDC has been adapted for use in the human service settings (e.g., therapeutic environments, clinic-based service settings; Carr et al., 2013) to identify barriers for direct care staff implementation of various clinically relevant behaviors. In the current evaluation, we used the PDC-human services (PDC-HS) to identify barriers to staff implementation of a company-wide Tier 1 prevention procedure, collectively termed healthy behavioral practices (i.e., delivering positive interactions, using effective instructions, prompting activity engagement, and basics for responding to problem behavior), at a large residential and day service program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). In this presentation, we will discuss the outcomes of the PDC-HS among staff and supervisors, as well as additional analyses we conducted to clarify results (e.g., inclusion of a role play component, analyzing data from records as well as reports).



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