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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #282
CE Offered: BACB
Teachers Benefit From Teaching, Too: Training Early Childhood Educators to Implement Evidence-Based Practices
Sunday, May 28, 2017
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Convention Center 406/407
Area: EDC/PRA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Kevin Ayres (University of Georgia)
Discussant: Kevin Ayres (University of Georgia)
CE Instructor: Kevin Ayres, Ph.D.

In early childhood settings, research has clearly shown that educators do not consistently implement evidence-based practices with fidelity. Ongoing professional development has been shown to improve educator implementation of behavioral interventions; however, the field lacks clear guidelines regarding the effective components and intensity of coaching. This is further complicated by the varied educational backgrounds of typical educational teams. The following studies assessed the impact of professional development practices on teacher fidelity of evidence-based practicesbased on the science of applied behavior analysisin early childhood settings. Some studies further assessed the association between resultant increased teacher fidelity and child outcomes. The professional development packages included brief didactic training, behavioral skills training, in-vivo coaching, or post-session feedback (in-person or via e-mail). Primary participants included lead teachers, assistant teachers, paraprofessionals, and student interns; secondary participants included young children who received the behavioral interventions. Data across studies indicated that ongoing professional development led to increases in fidelity of teacher implementation of targeted practices; and that increases in teacher fidelity may be associated with improved child outcomes.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): early childhood, performance-based feedback, procedural fidelity, skills training

Delivering Performance-Based Feedback to Early Childhood Professionals: Procedural Variations and Generalization

Erin E. Barton (Vanderbilt University), BETH POKORSKI (Vanderbilt University), Marina Velez (Vanderbilt University), Monica Rigor (Vanderbilt University)

The research on professional development in early childhood indicates that ongoing follow-up support is necessary to improve classroom practices and facilitate child learning. Performance-based feedback is one form of on-going support that has been identified as an evidence-based professional development practice for increasing educators use of intervention practices across populations and age ranges. However, long term, sustained use of recommended practices by teachers who are not aware that they are being observedwhich is the holy grail of professional developmenthas not been examined. Across a series of studies we examined two procedurestext messaging and emailfor delivering performance-based feedback to early childhood classroom teachers. Text messaging and email provide written documentation of feedback and can be delivered quickly without interrupting the teachers workday. All teachers increased their generalized use of multiple different recommended practices across settings and during covert observations when they did not know they were being observed and maintained levels over time. However, there was some variability across teachers, which suggested individualized approaches to professional development are warranted.

Teacher Training Across Naturalistic Instructional Approaches in Inclusive Preschool Classrooms
COLLIN SHEPLEY (University of Kentucky), Justin Lane (University of Kentucky ), Jennifer Grisham-Brown (University of Kentucky), Amy Spriggs (University of Kentucky), Olivia Winstead (University of Kentucky)
Abstract: The National Association for the Education of Young Children emphasizes that children should receive instruction using research and evidence-based practices in typical settings by typical change agents to the greatest extent possible. To accomplish this, instructors must embed learning opportunities within ongoing activities and use naturalistic instructional approaches to teach target behaviors. Despite numerous studies demonstrating the effectiveness of naturalistic instructional approaches, few have examined the procedures used to train practitioners to use naturalistic instructional approaches, and even fewer have evaluated the social and ecological validity of the training procedures. For example, little is known about how likely practitioners are to continue using naturalistic instructional approaches once researcher support is removed. In our study, we evaluated the effectiveness of a training package to teach preschool teachers working in inclusive classrooms to use naturalistic instructional approaches. In addition, we collected social and ecological validity data throughout the study. Results indicate that the training package was effective, and teacher ratings on social and ecological validity questionnaires increased as teachers received more training.
Behavioral Skills Training for Early Childhood Professionals: Implementation Fidelity of a Multi-Component Behavior Support Plan
KATE TYGIELSKI CHAZIN (The Autism Clinic at The Hope Institute for Childr), Erin E. Barton (Vanderbilt University), Jennifer Ledford (Vanderbilt University), Beth Pokorski (Vanderbilt University)
Abstract: For children with complex communication needs (CCN), augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices offer a means to communicate and participate in daily activities. Effective professional developmental practices are needed to support teaching teams working with children with CCN to improve child use of AAC and decrease challenging behavior. In this study, four members of a preschool educational team were provided a brief didactic training on the implementation of a young child’s behavior support plan, and then provided with ongoing support using a behavioral skills training (BST) approach. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of the didactic training and BST on: (a) teacher fidelity in implementing the child’s behavior support plan; (b) teachers’ use of AAC modeling; (c) child’s unprompted AAC communication; and (d) child’s self-injurious behavior (SIB). Teachers increased their fidelity with didactic training and BST, but not with training alone. These results were consistent across teachers, despite teachers having varied educational backgrounds and teaching experience. Results also indicated a decrease in variability of the child’s engagement in SIB for two teachers and an increase in the child’s unprompted AAC usage across three teachers. Blind raters identified limited therapeutic improvements across target behaviors for the teachers and child.

Coaching Paraprofessionals to Promote Engagement and Social Interactions for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders

Jennifer Ledford (Vanderbilt University), KATHLEEN ZIMMERMAN (Vanderbilt University), Emilee Harbin (Vanderbilt University), Sarah Ward (Vanderbilt University), Kate Tygielski Chazin (The Autism Clinic at The Hope Institute for Children & Families; Vanderbilt University), Natasha Patel (Vanderbilt University), Vivian Morales (Vanderbilt University), Brittany Paige Bennett (Vanderbilt University)

The role of paraprofessionals in early childhood (EC) contexts varies widely; many are expected to appropriately implement instructional and behavioral interventions with relatively little supervision. Studies are needed to understand effective strategies for improving adult behavior and to determine the frequency and dosage of assistance required for high-fidelity implementation. Two studies presented together investigated the use of behavioral skills training strategies to improve paraprofessional implementation, using in-situ and/or out-of-context training. The first coaching package demonstrated out-of-context behavioral skills training was ineffective in improving paraprofessionals implementation of systematic prompting procedures with children with ASD. Following this training, in-situ modeling, prompting, and feedback produced increases in implementation across three paraprofessionals in a special education classroom. In the next study, the in-situ components alone (i.e., without initial behavioral skills training) was used to increase paraprofessionals prompting of engagement and social interactions during small group art activities in an inclusive EC center. Data from both studies indicated increases in paraprofessional implementation of instructional and behavioral strategies is improved with in-situ support, and changes in teacher behaviors may be associated with increases in desirable child behaviors. Differences in paraprofessional responses associated with adult and child characteristics will be discussed.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh