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 #533
CE Offered: BACB
An Exploration of the Role of Behavior Analysis in Skills Teaching for Intervention and Prevention of Problem Behavior Within Irish Preschools
Monday, May 27, 2019
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Fairmont, Second Level, Gold
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jennifer Holloway (National University of Ireland, Galway)
CE Instructor: Jennifer Holloway, Ph.D.

There are a number of empirically identified barriers to the successful progression of children through the educational system. Such risk factors are increasingly prevalent at the preschool stage with changes in the demographic backgrounds of children, increased language and economic diversity, as well as variance in family circumstances presenting various educational and behavioral challenges for children. Often times failure to teach children important life skills at this point can lead to future failures within educational settings and/or the development of ongoing problem behavior. The symposium will demonstrate the role of behavior analysis in the prevention of and intervention for problem behavior within Irish preschool settings. Across a series of studies, the presenters will discuss the impact of the preschool life skills (PLS; Hanley et al., 2007) in teaching important learning readiness skills, the role of parents in supporting children learn the PLS, and the role of observational learning in acquiring such skills. Furthermore the research presented within the symposium explores the impact of the Class-Wide Function-Related Intervention Teams (CW-FIT, Wills et al., 2010) to target the emergence of problem behavior. Issues of generalisation and maintenance will be discussed within all of the presentations, as well as the specific application of the interventions within Irish preschools.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Practitioners working within preschool educational settings

Evaluating the Preschool Life Skills Program in Irish Preschool and Home Settings
CIARA GUNNING (National University of Ireland Galway), Jennifer Holloway (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Abstract: The preschool life skills (PLS; Hanley et al., 2007) program has been developed to mitigate the risk factors for the development of problem behavior which are increasingly evident in preschool populations. The PLS program aims to teach 13 preschool life skills (important school readiness skills and common functionally equivalent skills to preschool problem behaviour) preventively and prepare children for success with later educational transitions. A groups design was used to evaluate the PLS program with 21 preschool children in early education services in Ireland. The study is further extended to demonstrate the role of parental involvement in intervention, within a series of single case research designs, which explore the important potential implications for improving intervention efficacy, acceptability and accessibility of the program within an Irish context. Across the studies, results indicated that teacher and parent-led implementation of the PLS program led to an increase in preschool life skills and a decrease in problem behaviour, and supported generalization of the target preschool life skills across home and preschool settings. The findings of the current research are significant in informing the development of parent training packages to support the delivery of school-based interventions for typically developing preschool children.

Examining The Effectiveness Of Embedding Observational Learning Opportunities In The Preschool Life Skills Program

Mary Sheahan (National University of Ireland Galway), JENNIFER HOLLOWAY (National University of Ireland, Galway), Ciara Gunning (National University of Ireland Galway)

CANCELED: Preschool teachers increasingly report disruptive behavior as the greatest challenge they face within the classroom setting. Considering the increasing prevalence of risk factors associated with disruptive behaviour (e.g., limited learning opportunities and antisocial behavior) early intervention preventative measures should be utilized to address such issues. This study explores the effects of teaching children to engage in observational learning of the preschool life skills (PLS Hanley et al. 2007) within a preschool setting. Twenty-one children were assigned to three groups, Group 1 receiving the PLS program, Group 2 receiving training in a specific observational learning protocol, and Group 3 receiving treatment as usual. Following 13 weeks of intervention the results indicate positive outcomes for the children receiving direct training on the observational learning protocol and those children receiving the PLS program. Interestingly, both the observational and PLS group showed similar maintenance and generaliation outcomes. The results are discussed in terms of the importance of observational learning within the preschool context.


Implementing Positive Behavior Support Within Preschool Settings: Group Functional Assessment and Class-Wide Function-Related Intervention Teams

Dearbhaile Mahon (National University of Ireland Galway), HELENA LYDON (National University of Ireland Galway), Jennifer Holloway (National University of Ireland, Galway), Ciara Gunning (National University of Ireland Galway)

Pr¬eschool is an important educational setting for child development and problem behavior is a prevalent barrier within this setting. Preschool teachers have expressed the need for evidence-based classroom management interventions to address problem behavior. Class-Wide Function-Related Intervention Teams (CW-FIT, Wills et al., 2010) is an intervention which incorporates social skills training, group contingencies and reinforcement to address problem behavior within classrooms. This intervention has been found to be socially valid by teachers and children, and effective in increasing children’s engagement, decreasing problems/problem behavior in elementary, kindergarten, first and second grade classrooms. The aim of the current study was to evaluate a modified CW-FIT as an effective strategy to address problem behavior within two community-preschools in Ireland across three preschool classes with 32 children. A multiple baseline design across participants was employed to evaluate the outcomes, with measures of generalization and maintenance also taken. Visual analysis of data revealed an increase in the children’s on-task behavior and social skills as well as a decrease in children’s problem behavior within these settings.




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