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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #475
CE Offered: BACB — 
Training Care Givers in Applied Behavior Analytic Skills, Part 1: Training Individual Staff and Volunteer Skills
Monday, May 27, 2019
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Hyatt Regency West, Ballroom Level, Regency Ballroom D
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Peter Sturmey (The Graduate Center and Queens College, City University of New York)
CE Instructor: Peter Sturmey, Ph.D.

Training staff in evidence-based practices is a key skill for behavior analysts. Despite the large number of studies in this area, there are still many under-researched and un-researched topics and a need for replication. This symposium, the first of two related symposia on this topic, presents three empirical papers on staff training. The first by Gormley et al., provides an overview by reporting a research synthesis of 156 staff training studies in Intellectual Disabilities including applied behavior analysis, positive behavior supports and other interventions. The second paper, by Gregori et al., evaluates the effectiveness of behavioral skills training to teach direct support staff to implement functional communication training correctly and its effects consumer mands and challenging behavior. The final paper, by Davis et al., reports a component analysis of behavioral skills training to teach volunteers in a university-based physical education program to teach motor skills to individuals with developmental disabilities. These empirical studies contribute to the growing literature on the effectiveness of behavioral skills to teach ta variety of skills in diverse contexts with individuals with autism and / or intellectual disabilities.

Instruction Level: Advanced
Keyword(s): Communication Training, Motor Skills, Staff Training, Systematic Review
Target Audience:

BCBAs in training; BCBAs requiring continuing education; applied researchers

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Describe evidence-based practices that they should train caregiver to implement; (2) Describe how to train staff to conduct functional communication and measure its effects on client mands; and (3) describe the effective components of behavioral skills training and the implications for training caregivers.

Synthesizing Research on Staff Training in Intellectual and Developmental Disability Settings

(Applied Research)
Laura Gormley (Trinity College Dublin), Olive Healy (National University of Ireland, Galway), Amanda Doherty (Trinity College Dublin), Darragh O'Regan (RehabCare), MAEVE BRACKEN (Trinity College Dublin)

Front line staff are a valuable asset within an intellectual disability service. Their work dictates the overall standard of care delivered by the organization. This research synthesis examines staff training in practices to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Systematic searches of relevant databases identified 156 papers for inclusion in the review. Practices in which staff were trained were categorized as: a) Positive Behavior Support (PBS) interventions; b) Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) interventions, or c) other interventions. The ABA category was sub-divided into: a) assessment-based; b) antecedent-based; c) consequence-based and, d) “mixed” practices. Results showed that although staff were trained in a range of evidence-based practices, many empirically supported interventions were not utilized (e.g., functional communication training and non-contingent reinforcement). Importantly, this research synthesis also highlighted a continued reliance on individualized training packages, rather than the implementation of empirically supported training models. Finally, future research should prioritize training protocols for front line staff supporting adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as assessing the impact of staff training on service user outcomes. Findings from the current review provide a potential explanation for the apparent disconnect between theoretical advancements and practice in the applied setting.


Training Direct Care Staff to Implement Functional Communication Training Using Behavioral Skills Training

(Applied Research)
EMILY GREGORI (Educational Studies, Purdue University), Mandy J. Rispoli (Purdue University)

Direct service providers (DSPs) are staff who support individuals with developmental disabilities (i.e., consumers) in residential, community, and employment settings. DSPs are responsible for providing a number of services including managing challenging behavior. However, DSPs often lack training in effective behavior management procedures. Behavioral skills training (BST) is an empirically supported method of staff training and has been used to teach DSPs a number of skills. However, to date, no studies have evaluated the efficacy of BST on staff implementation of complex behavioral interventions. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to examine the effects of BST on staff implementation of functional communication training (FCT). Three DPSs and consumers participated in the current study. The effects of BST on DSP and consumer behavior were evaluated using a nonconcurrent multiple baseline design. Results indicated that BST was effective in increasing DSP fidelity of FCT. However, an additional coaching phase was necessary for some DSPs to reach mastery criteria. Improvements in DSP fidelity corresponded with decreases in consumer challenging behavior and increases in appropriate communication. Findings suggest that BST is an efficient, effective, and socially valid method to train DSPs to implement FCT.


A Component Analysis of Behavioural Skills Training With Volunteers Teaching Motor Skills

(Applied Research)
SARAH DAVIS (Brock University), Kendra Thomson (Brock University ), Maureen Connolly (Brock University), Leslie Neely (The University of Texas at San Antonio), Catharine Lory (Perdue University), So Yeon Kim (Perdue University), Marie David (Purdue University)

Few physical education programs address motor development challenges for individuals with developmental disabilities (DD). The Special Needs Activity Program is one exception that capitalizes on university student volunteers to assist individuals with DD in developing motor skills. Evaluating efficient and effective ways of training these volunteers may positively impact outcomes and save valuable time and resources. We conducted a component analysis of behavioural skills training for teaching volunteers how to also use the BST framework to support individuals with DD. In an alternating treatment design embedded within a multiple baseline design across five volunteers, we measured the number of BST steps that volunteers completed correctly while teaching four motor skills from the SNAP curriculum. In the initial training phase, each motor skill received a different mode of training (i.e., instructions, modeling, rehearsal, or feedback). In subsequent training phases, modes of training were combined for skills that did not reach mastery criterion. Maintenance was also assessed at a 2-week and 1-month follow-up. Results indicated that instructions, modeling, rehearsal, and feedback alone were sufficient for volunteers to meet a predetermined performance criterion; however, the full BST framework was necessary for skill maintenance. Strengths, limitations, and recommendations for future research will be discussed.




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