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 #453
CE Offered: BACB
Mediator Training: Bridging Distance, Settings, and Skills!
Monday, May 27, 2019
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Hyatt Regency West, Lobby Level, Crystal Ballroom B
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Kendra Thomson (Brock University )
Discussant: Amy J. Henley (Western New England University)
CE Instructor: Kendra Thomson, Ph.D.

Effective, evidence-based behavioural interventions are essential to ensure socially significant behaviour change for people with developmental disabilities (e.g., autism spectrum disorder). Training mediators to implement these interventions with fidelity increases the likelihood of successful intervention outcomes. Effective staff training has been associated with more effective staff practices, as well as improved client outcomes. Additionally, training parents using the same evidence-based procedures increases the likelihood that parents will successfully implement in-home behavioural intervention programs. Effective interventions in-home or in-clinic may contribute to clients generalizing target skills across environments, decreased challenging behaviour, and improved learning outcomes. This symposium summarizes results from assessments of behavioural skills training (BST) across different modalities (i.e., in-person, or telecommunication), skills (e.g., in-person mindfulness training or pre-session pairing), and mediators (e.g., parents, staff). Results provide further evidence of how this evidence-based training procedure promotes behaviour change in both mediators and people with developmental disabilities, including children with ASD. Clinical implications will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): ASD, BST, mediator training, parent training
Target Audience:

Board Certified Behavior Analysts, graduate students studying behavior analysis

Learning Objectives: 1) Identify strategies to address challenges and barriers with skill maintenance and generalization across training modalities, populations, and varying target skills. 2) Identify barriers to treatment integrity for parent-implemented interventions, and strategies to mitigate these barriers. 3) Describe the recent evidence on the use of behavioural skills training (BST) through telecommunication platforms and for teaching pairing skills. 4) Describe the current evidence to support the effect of mindfulness training on staff behaviour towards individuals with developmental disabilities.
Parent Treatment Integrity Across Multiple Components of a Behavioural Intervention
RALUCA NUTA (Brock University), Julie Koudys (Brock University)
Abstract: Children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often present with challenging behaviours such as aggression, tantrums, non-compliance, or self-injury. Behaviour analytic interventions are considered evidence-based practice for decreasing these challenging behaviours; however, most effective, multi-component interventions are implemented in-clinic by trained professionals, and treatment effects do not automatically generalize to the home. The literature is lacking on parent-implemented, multi-component interventions in the home, and little research has reported on the levels of treatment integrity with which such interventions are implemented. Treatment integrity is crucial to both intervention outcomes, as well as confidence in the validity of the results. As such, it is important to select effective training procedures that may enhance treatment integrity, such as behavioural skills training (BST). BST is an evidence-based training procedure that is widely used in behaviour analysis to train complex skills. The present study sought to determine whether BST can be successfully used to train a parent of a six-year old child with ASD to implement a multi-component intervention in the home, while carefully monitoring treatment integrity levels for each treatment component. Results support the use of BST for this purpose, and implications for future research are discussed.

Staff Training on Pairing Skills: How Does it Relate to Treatment Outcomes for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder?

REBECCA ENSOR (Brock University), Priscilla Burnham Riosa (Brock University)

Pairing, a strategy to enhance therapeutic rapport between a therapist and client, is a critical component of behaviour analytic interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Despite its importance, few behaviour analytic studies to date have examined the necessary skills required to effectively pair with clients. Of those studies, none have identified the feasibility of training those skills. The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) to teach new instructor therapists to implement six pairing skills and (2) to examine the relation between pairing skills training on treatment outcomes for children with ASD (i.e., challenging behaviour and targeted skill accuracy). Although behaviour skills training was initially effective, consistent feedback on therapist performance was necessary for therapists to maintain pairing skills at mastery level. In terms of clients outcomes, challenging behaviour decreased in the first two participants as pairing was implemented. Skill accuracy; however, did not change as pairing was implemented. A replication of the procedure is currently underway. Implications of the findings and future study directions will be discussed.


Telecommunication Training for Early Intervention Staff: An Evaluation of Generalization and Maintenance

JOSEPH ROBERTSON (Brock University), Kendra Thomson (Brock University ), Mary Hume (ONTABA), Carly Magnacca (Brock University), Amanda Marcinkiewicz (Brock University), Jessica Cauchi (none)

Telecommunication models (TCMs) have been shown to increase the accessibility of effective behavioural services for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Behavioural skills training (BST) delivered via TCM has preliminary support for effectively training individuals to provide support to children with ASD. Further evaluation is needed to assess generalization of trainee outcomes to clinical settings, on untrained procedures, and the corresponding effects of training on child outcome measures. In a concurrent multiple-baseline design across three novice early intervention staff, this study evaluated the effects of BST-TCM on: staff accuracy implementing the target procedure (e.g., errorless learning) and an untrained procedure (e.g., paired stimulus preference assessment). Staff fidelity was assessed in both contrived role-plays with an actor and in a clinical setting with a child. Corresponding child outcomes were measured as percent correct on typical programming taught using the target procedure (i.e., errorless learning). Results to date demonstrate that all three staff showed increased fidelity when implementing the target procedure following BST-TCM, and children showed a corresponding increase in program performance. One participant showed improvements in untrained procedures. The feasibility and efficacy of BST-TCM as an accessible modality for training staff supporting children with ASD will be discussed.


Does Mindfulness Training Change Staff Behaviours Toward Persons With Developmental Disabilities?

JESSICA SUMMERS (University of Manitoba), Toby L. Martin (St.Amant Research Centre)

To be mindful means to be in the moment, focusing on your mind, body and surroundings (Kabat-Zinn, 1990). Mindfulness training programs for caregivers of persons with developmental disabilities can benefit the caregivers and their clients (Singh, Lancioni, Karazsia, Chan, & Winton, 2016). Few studies have reported effects on specific caregiving behaviours. In a multiple-baseline-across-participants experiment, a brief mindfulness training session was evaluated by directly observing: announcement of actions prior to contact with client, looking away from the client or caregiving activity, and making contact at the torso prior to touching an extremity. Participants were three adult female staff (two DSPs and one nurse) and one adult male client. Announcements and torso-before-extremity contact increased and looking away decreased for all staff following the training; not all improvements were maintained over an extended period. Client happiness and unhappiness indicators were measured before and after the training, but no clear effects were observed.




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