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 #503
CE Offered: BACB
Behavioral Principles Applied to System Issues: The Role of Good Science in Building Good Relationships
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Seguin (Grand Hyatt)
Area: CSE; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: John Young (University of Mississippi)
CE Instructor: Peishi Wang, Ph.D.
Abstract: This series of talks addresses the role of behavioral principles in organizational settings – namely schools and associated networks of administration. The first talk addresses models for public and research partnerships, including examples of how these models have been applied to generate local clinical practicum training for graduate students enrolled in a behaviorally-oriented doctoral program. The two following talks address the utilization of these reciprocal, positively reinforcing relationships to engage in research beneficial to all entities involved. This includes a comparison of teachers’ views on best practices for mental health with what is noted in the scientific literature, as well as development of baseline norms for behaviors noted to frequently appear as targets in locally generated Functional Behavioral Analyses. Finally, a broad mental health screening process will be described in terms of these same partnership models and behavioral principles. This project, the Behavioral Vital Signs, provides a foundation upon which much of the partnerships and mutually beneficial research projects described above rests. Discussion will emphasize system factors and detail methods by which similarly inclined behavioral researchers, clinicians, or administrators could replicate these efforts in novel settings.
Exploring the Collaborative Impact Between Science and Practice in a Community Behavioral Health Partnership
REGAN M. SLATER (University of Mississippi), John Young (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: Recent overviews of models for community-based research have articulated the need for further collaboration among behavioral and mental health specialists and those whom they serve (e.g., Chorpita & Mueller, 2008; Garland, Plemmons, & Koontz, 2009). Cooperation and motivation toward greater understanding and goal achievement for all interested parties is emphasized, as are behavioral principles related to both domains benefiting from professional interactions. In this talk, we will examine a collaborative partnership of doctoral level clinical psychology students and a local public school district through the filter of the models cited. We will present information on this partnership, which was established as a practicum placement for university students to work as child behavioral health specialists in the primary and secondary educational settings. The bidirectional impact between science and practice, scientific behavioral principles, evidence-based service delivery, and opportunities for integrating applied behavior analysis into administrative policy will be examined. We will also discuss goals for maximizing collaboration, service delivery, and ongoing research as we involve all parties with a stake in the partnership, including the school faculty and staff, administration, parents, children, graduate students, and University faculty supervisors.
Teacher Perceptions of Appropriate Mental Health Practice
REBECCA J. HAMBLIN (University of Mississippi), Corinn Johnson (University of Mississippi), Regan M. Slater (University of Mississippi), John Young (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: This purpose of this study is to offer a qualitative, thematic description of teachers’ perceptions of strategies for ameliorating students’ psychopathological behaviors. The framework of the study follows prominent system researchers’ call for more qualitative understanding of systemic factors related to evidence-based service implementation (Garland, Plemmons, & Koontz, 2009). Sampled teachers in the local school system described throughout this presentation will participate in semi-structured interviews asking them to detail what interventions they think would be most helpful in response to several vignettes depicting high base-rate pathologies (i.e., ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, Autism, and behavioral disturbance). Teacher responses will be audio recorded, and coded via standard procedures for thematic analysis (Miles & Huberman, 1994). Themes will be further distilled into component parts to create a profile of practice elements (Chorpita, Daleiden, & Weisz, 2005) reflected in teachers’ responses. These profiles will be compared to similar practice element profiles derived from distillation of practices described in randomized controlled trials (Chorpita & Daleiden, 2009). This project will offer knowledge regarding what teachers think should be done to address mental health needs and outline how this maps onto the evidence base, both of which may inform further efforts to infused behavioral science into these settings.
Assessing Normative Rates of Prevalent Target Behaviors in School-Based Functional Behavioral Analyses
GILBERTE BASTIEN (University of Mississippi), John Young (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: Over the last few decades, applied behavior analysis in school settings has increased. Mental health professionals are often called upon to conduct functional behavioral analyses (FBAs) and develop comprehensive behavior plans for the purpose of changing challenging behaviors. Despite a national, systemic integration of FBAs into school-based mental health very few empirical studies have provided a “normal” indexing of prevalent FBA target behaviors. This lack of base rates regarding challenging behaviors in non-referred children can present service delivery challenges and perhaps may overly pathologize referred individuals. The present project seeks to provide a normative index for commonly arising FBA targets by assessing the frequency of such in a non-referred school sample. The data collected will serve as the foundation for dissemination efforts in schools and a more individualized approach to implementing behaviorally-oriented classroom management strategies. In particular, an understanding of “normal” levels of behavior will underscore a dimensional and functional approach to understanding challenging behaviors that are disruptive to the educational environment. This information, when communicated repeatedly to teachers and administrators in the context of implementing scientifically sound recommendations, may serve to shape the knowledge and practice of the school system in terms of mental health issues.
Behavioral Vital Signs: Research and Policy as Reinforcement
JOHN YOUNG (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: This talk continues the theme of the other presentations in this symposium by emphasizing the role of behavioral principles in conducting research in community-based settings (in this case schools). The Behavioral Vital Signs (BVS) project to be discussed is an effort to offer mental health screening to entire schools. It involves self-reports of anxiety, depression, loneliness, bullying, peer support, and risky/illicit behaviors such as drug use. To date approximately 20,000 ethnically and socioeconomically diverse children and adolescents across the state of Mississippi have been screened through BVS. This presentation will focus less on the results of screening per se and more on the process of establishing broad partnerships between the University and schools. Specifically, there will be a discussion of marketing geared toward providing a service to schools (rather than conducting research studies) and provision of timely feedback to administrations, teachers, and parents. Behavioral principles that were useful in setting up the BVS are outlined throughout, and models for similar work elsewhere will be discussed. Additionally, future goals leveraging successful collaborations with schools will be detailed, including practicum training sites for graduate students and eventual influence on public policy in the state.



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