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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #195
CE Offered: BACB
Training Paraprofessionals to Implement Evidence-Based Interventions
Sunday, May 27, 2018
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Grand Hall A
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Rachel Scalzo (University of South Florida)
Discussant: Jeffrey Michael Chan (Northern Illinois University)
CE Instructor: Jeffrey Michael Chan, Ph.D.

Effective training of paraprofessionals is critical in creating behavior change for children with developmental disabilities, yet many paraprofessionals receive limited professional development or support in implementing behavior plans. Therefore, it is necessary to examine the training procedures for paraprofessionals to identify the most efficient, cost-effective approaches to increase a paraprofessional's ability to implement a behavior plan with fidelity. The research included in this symposium addresses a variety of approaches to training, including behavioral skills training and practice-based coaching to increase paraprofessionals' skills in implementing behavior change procedures. These studies note the marked increases in treatment fidelity after training as well as reductions in challenging behavior and increases in adaptive skills in the children the paraprofessionals work with in home, school, and community settings. In sum, these studies outline several evidence-based approaches to training paraprofessionals in executing behavior plans with fidelity. Limitations and future areas of research will also be addressed.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): paraprofessionals, treatment fidelity
Target Audience:

Behavior analysts working with paraprofessionals


Impact of a Teacher-as-Coach Model: Improving Paraprofessionals Fidelity of Implementation of Discrete Trial Training for Students With Moderate-to-Severe Developmental Disabilities

RAIA ROSENBLOOM (University of Kansas), Rose A. Mason (Purdue University), Alana Schnitz (University of Kansas)

Ensuring educational progress for students with moderate-to-severe developmental disabilities requires exposure to well executed evidence-based practices. This necessitates that the special education workforce, including paraprofessionals, be well-trained. Yet evidence regarding effective training mechanisms for paraprofessionals is limited. A multiple baseline design across five teachers was used to evaluate the impact of online instructional modules and a Practice-Based Coaching (PBC) model with teacher-as-coach on their paraprofessionals' fidelity of discrete trial training (DTT). Implementation of the instructional modules yielded little to no change in paraprofessionals' DTT fidelity, however, a clear functional relation between PBC and improvement in paraprofessionals' fidelity of implementation of DTT was demonstrated.


Learning Language Through Play: Coaching Paraeducators in the Preschool Classroom

REBECCA FRANTZ (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Buket Erturk (University of Oregon), Sarah Grace Hansen (Georgia State University), Wendy A. Machalicek (University of Oregon), Tracy Jane Raulston (Pennsylvania State University)

Extensive research suggests naturalistic approaches, including Enhanced Milieu Teaching (EMT), improve the acquisition, generalization, and maintenance of communication skills among children with developmental disabilities (DD). Limited research has examined professional development for paraeducators, particularly related to communication interventions. The current study uses a randomized, single-case multiple baseline design across participants to address the impact of a training package on paraeducator's use of EMT with a child dyad and subsequent child communication gains. Data is presented for four paraeducators and seven preschool children with DD. A visual analysis of the data is presented, in addition to an interpretation of Tau-U and Hedge's g effect sizes. Results indicate increases in paraeducator's fidelity of implementation of EMT, with large effects. There were increases in child communication, with large effects for prompted communication and small effects for independent communication. Paraeducators were able to generalize their use of strategies across additional students in the preschool classroom. The results of the study have promising implications regarding successful training procedures for paraeducators working with young children with DD. Future research should continue to examine effective, yet more cost-effective training programs for paraeducators.


Analysis of a Multilevel Consultation Model to Support Paraprofessionals' Implementation of Behavioral Interventions in Preschool

JAKE MAHON (University of Oregon)

Paraprofessionals spend the most time with the neediest students, but receive the least amount of training and support. All target students in the study had developmental disabilities, were between the ages of three and five, and had a history of challenging behavior. Paraprofessionals in the study were recruited because they had the least experience and training administering behavior support plans (BSPs) in their setting. A multi-level consultation model was used to train paraprofessionals to implement individualized BSPs. First, paraprofessionals were trained in a one-on-one setting how to implement the BSPs using behavioral skills training. Next, adherence to the BSP was monitored by independent observers and additional support was delivered contingent on meeting an adherence criterion. Through a cascading logic, data showed that paraprofessionals engaged in immediately and substantively higher levels of BSP adherence following application of the multilevel consultation model, and as a result, students engaged in immediately and substantively lower rates of challenging behavior (d = -1.5 to -4.4), which maintained over time. With minimal training provided to each paraprofessional across the study (M = 151.2 minutes), and dramatic observed changes in challenging behavior, the multilevel consultation model proved highly efficient and effective.


Teachers Coach Paraprofessionals to Implement Functional Communication Training in Preschool Classrooms

Mandy J. Rispoli (Purdue University), Emily Gregori (Purdue University), CATHARINE LORY (Purdue University), So Yeon Kim (Purdue University)

The purpose of this study was to train teachers to coach paraprofessionals in the use of FCT to treat challenging behavior in young children with disabilities. Our first set of participants included a preschool special education teacher, a paraprofessional, and a child aged five years. We utilized a non-concurrent multiple baseline design across three paraprofessionals to examine the effects of practice-based coaching on (a) FCT treatment fidelity of the paraprofessional, and (b) challenging behavior and appropriate communication of the child. We trained teachers in FCT and coaching procedures, after which the teachers trained their paraprofessionals in FCT and provided coaching throughout the intervention phase. Our preliminary results with the first set of participants indicated the paraprofessional was able to implement FCT independently with high fidelity, which led to a decrease in challenging behavior and increase in appropriate communication in the child. Implications for future research and practice will be discussed.




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