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.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Symposium #227
Positive ABA Interventions: Conceptual Issues and Empirical Findings
Sunday, May 30, 2010
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
217B (CC)
Area: DDA/EDC; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Catriona O'Toole (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Discussant: Yvonne Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Abstract: This symposium will highlight some conceptual issues and empirical findings surrounding the implementation of positive ABA interventions. The first presentation highlights the Multi-Element Behaviour Support (MEBS) model. This model emphasises the importance of comprehensive functional assessments, and promotes the use of effective, non-aversive methods for achieving behaviour change. The relevant literature will be reviewed and the issue of social validity will be discussed. The following presentations focus on the introduction of positive behaviour supports in mainstream classrooms. Preliminary data will be presented to support an intervention in which teacher received a Behavioural Support Module and a Stress Management Intervention based on the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Finally, the discussant will raise additional issues and perspectives, as well as facilitate an active discussion.
Exploring Social Validity in the Context of Multi-Element Behavior Support Interventions
CATRIONA O'TOOLE (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Caroline Dench (Callan Institute for Positive Behaviour Support)
Abstract: The social validity of behavioural interventions is an issue that is attracting increasing attention (e.g. Carr, Horner et al, 1999; Scott, 2007). An intervention is said to possess social validity when all the relevant stakeholders (e.g., parents, siblings, frontline staff, roommate, individual with disabilities) agree that it is feasible, desirable, and leads to a better quality of life for all involved. Multi-Element Behaviour Support (MEBS) is an approach that emphasises the importance of social validity while working toward effective, non-aversive interventions for individuals with behaviours that challenge. It has been explicitly linked to a Human Rights Based Approach (Doody, 2009) and seeks to address episodic severity (LaVigna, 2005). This presentation highlights the key conceptual issues surrounding the social validity of behavioural interventions. The relationship between social validity and non-aversive interventions will also be discussed.
Positive Behaviour Support: A Conceptual View
GER SCANLON (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Yvonne Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Ann Lodge (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Abstract: The Education for Persons with Disabilities Bill (2003) EPSEN now effectively mandates teachers to manage pupils with EBD in mainstream education. However, research has indicated that teachers feel ill-equipped to manage these pupils in mainstream classes (Scanlon & McGilloway, 2005), while the frustration experienced by teachers in the context of EBD was highlighted by the Task Force on Discipline (2005) which suggested the need for greater understanding and training in this regard. The current research project was designed to help foster the inclusion of children with EBD more effectively at post primary level through the use of two targeted interventions (1) A Behavioural Support Module based on the principles of Applied Behavioural Analysis and (2) A Stress Management day which incorporates principles from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Two groups of participants, mainstream teachers (n=25) and students in teacher education (n=21) received both interventions which were counterbalanced across groups in order to examine their effectiveness. The effectiveness and impact of each intervention was examined by using both questionnaires and an implicit experimental measure the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP), the purpose of which was to assess participant’s attitudes to pupils with EBD in mainstream education and stress levels. The results indicate that post intervention, participants displayed less negativity to EBD Pupils and lower stress levels and that this was evident across all participant groups. These findings highlight the necessity of providing support systems for professionals in mainstream education in relation to extending their knowledge base and skills to enable them to work more effectively with pupils with EBD in mainstream education.
School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support: Applying the Principles to Facilitate Change in One Class Group
GER SCANLON (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Yvonne Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Catriona O'Toole (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Abstract: It is widely accepted that the success of inclusive policies for the education of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) depends upon a number of variables. These include: teacher’s generic attitudes to inclusion (Avramidis & Norwich, 2002), the nature of SEN with which teachers are presented (Koutrouba, Vamvakari, & Steliou, 2006) and teachers’ skills in managing these populations. Furthermore, teacher’s self perceptions of competence are influence by levels of appropriate resources (Butler & Shevlin, 2001) which are all too often described as inadequate (Scanlon & McGilloway, 2006). Children with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (EBD) have been identified as the most challenging group within mainstream educational systems to educate (Ntinas et al., 2006) which in turn, affects the school culture and climate. Based on Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) principles, the current study developed a program for one class group of teachers (n=10) to enable them to work and manage more effectively a specific class group ( n=8) who had disengaged from the mainstream educational system. Preliminary findings indicate that on task behaviour had improved for pupils while levels of self-efficacy for teachers increased. The implications of the findings will be discussed.



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