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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Paper Session #233
Applied Behavior Analysis in Educational Settings
Sunday, May 27, 2018
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Harbor Ballroom G
Area: EDC
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Judith Sylva (California State University, San Bernardino)
The Roles of the Board Certified Behavior Analyst in Public Schools: Implications for Preparation and Ethical Practice
Domain: Service Delivery
JUDITH SYLVA (California State University, San Bernardino), Cristina Geronimo (Riverside County Office of Education), Doreen J. Ferko (California Baptist University)
Abstract: The impact of public perception of applied behavior analysis in schools has long been recognized as a barrier to effective practice in school settings. The establishment of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) in 1998 was a key accomplishment in meeting the professional need for credentialing and establishing professional standards that are data-driven and continuously reviewed by experts in the discipline. The central theme of this presentation is an exploration of the roles that BCBAs experience in public school settings and implications for preparation and ethical practice. Prior research conducted in rural settings will be reviewed as well as the experience of BCBAs practicing in urban and suburban public schools. The impact of these experiences will be discussed in terms of working conditions and practices that are consistent with the principles of applied behavior analysis. Questions that will be explored include, the extent to which perceptions of applied behavior analysis held by teachers, parents, administrators and other school personnel influence the roles and practices of BCBAs in schools; the question of bias toward clinical practice in the preparation of BCBAs; and how BCBAs who work in public school settings resolve the ethical dilemmas they may face in their practice.

The Use of Mechanical Restraints in Schools: How Behavior Analysts Can Help Inform Practice

Domain: Service Delivery
DIANA SOCIE (University of South Florida), Jonathan Dean Schmidt (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Jodi Bernard (Los Angeles Unified School District), Jennifer M. Hodnett (University of South Florida)

Individuals with disabilities who engage in self-injurious behavior may be at-risk of serious injury and, in rare circumstances, can benefit from the use of mechanical restraints (e.g., helmets, arm splints, mitts). However, the use of mechanical restraints in schools continues to be the topic of much debate. Many states do not provide regulations or policies around their use, and many educators lack the necessary training to use them effectively. Although there are many concerns about the use of mechanical restraints in schools, most of the controversy comes from misuse or misunderstanding. In this presentation, practitioners will be exposed to a case study to learn about best practices for working with schools to implement behavior plans utilizing mechanical restraints. Through this case study, we will discuss a restraint analysis, restraint use, restraint fading, and using behavior skills training to teach school staff how to use the mechanical restraints. We will also address how behavior analysts can work more effectively with school staff to achieve improved outcomes for students and how behavior analysts can inform the process of incorporating behavior plans into students' Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).


In-Service Training to Improve Transition and Individualized Education Program Goal Functionality Knowledge of Secondary Special Education Teachers

Domain: Applied Research
MUHAMMED KARAL (Pennsylvania State University), Pamela Wolfe (Pennsylvania State University)

The What Works Clearinghouse based high-quality professional development model entitled as Tell, Show, Try, Apply (TSTA) method was used to train secondary special education teachers about knowledge of transition planning and knowledge of IEP (Individualized Education Program) goal development and functionality for students with moderate to severe disabilities. A total of 22 teachers of students participated in the training and assessments. The impact of the in-service training was evaluated to determine its effects on secondary special education teachers' knowledge. In addition, generalization to an untrained area for developing functional goals was taken. Results indicated that the training was effective not only in increasing teachers' knowledge but also generalization across content. Several recommendations for future research related to the in-service training were proposed.

Training Communication Partners on Implementation of Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS): A Literature Review
Domain: Applied Research
ASHLEY MCCOY (Pennsylvania State University ), David McNaughton (Pennsylvania State University )
Abstract: Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a frequently used augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technique for individuals with autism. Much of the early work with PECS has examined the effectiveness of a researcher teaching a communicator to use PECS. However, in practice, researchers do not work directly with communicators, and there are likely important differences between interventions delivered by researchers, and those delivered by more typical communication partners (e.g., teachers, aides, parents). For example, when the researcher is acting as the communication partner there is likely more frequent monitoring of treatment fidelity but in reality, frequent monitoring is virtually non‐existent in the natural environment (Ganz et al., 2013; Howlin, Gordon, Pasco, Wade, & Charman, 2007). The creators of PECS, Bondy & Frost, state that the success of the PECS intervention is dependent on the quality of training provided by communication partners (2001), necessitating effective training for the communication partner. Therefore, this systematic review summarizes the published research on training communication partners, specifically education professionals, to implement PECS including (a) training methods, (b) immediate and long‐term training effects. Additionally, this review sought to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the existing literature to provide guidance for intervention and future research.



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