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 #349
CE Offered: BACB
Tools for Positive Supports: Staff Training in Residential Settings
Sunday, May 26, 2019
5:00 PM–6:50 PM
Hyatt Regency West, Lobby Level, Crystal Ballroom C
Area: DDA/OBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Annette Griffith (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Discussant: Matthew A. Law (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology )
CE Instructor: Matthew A. Law, Ph.D.

Millions of adults diagnosed with intellectual disabilities are living in paid-for-support situations, such as group homes. Studies have concluded that very few staff employed by agencies offering paid supports are provided with behavioral training (e.g., Crosland et al., 2008). This is in spite of the fact that a large proportion of the adults supported are reported to display socially significant maladaptive behaviors, such as physical aggression, property destruction, and elopement. These behaviors may have negative impacts on access to the community and may create environments in which staff experience frustration, which may result in coercive interactions (Crosland et al., 2008). As a result, there is need for evidence-based training that can provide staff with the skills needed to help their clients to obtain the most positive outcomes possible. This symposium will begin to meet this need. First, we will provide an introduction from the Chair, to provide context. We will then present data from 4 research studies examining methods for staff training, with a focus on improving staff knowledge of individual support and behavior plans, staff-client interactions, and staff engagement. We will conclude with a discussion of overall findings, and a focus on implications for future research, applied practice, and funding directives.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): developmental disabilty, residential, staff training
Target Audience:

The target audience will be behavior analysts who work in residential settings.

Learning Objectives: 1) Describe why staff training is important in residential settings. 2) Identify and describe various approaches to training staff in residential settings. 3) Describe challenges for staff training in residential settings. 4) Identify important next steps, related to staff training in residential settings, for practice, policy, and research.

Tools of Choice: Increasing Positive Interactions

CHAD LEWIS (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Jack Spear (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Annette Griffith (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

Staff employed in a paid-for-support setting are often given little or no training how to offer quality supports to those they serve yet are often in situations that require them to try and reduce or change behaviors from the clients that hinder or reduce their ability to live a better quality of life with choice and responsibility. Tools of Choice is a basic behavioral curriculum that offers staff a competency-based program that teaches them the basics of understanding behavior, the benefits of relationships with those they serve that are based in positive supports and interventions, effective use of proper reinforcement, as well as tools to use when faced with problematic or socially significant behavior. This study is a replication of the Crosland, et al. study (2008) that looks specifically at the ratio of positive-based interactions to negative-based interactions that staff are having with the intellectually disabled adults they are supporting. This study measures the ratio of interactions that staff are having prior to and then after receiving the Tools of Choice curriculum. This study found that staff who receive the Tools of Choice curriculum have a much higher ratio of positive to negative-based interactions with their clients after receiving the instruction.


Effectiveness of Computer-Based Instruction With Overt Response Requirements in Staff Training

ANGELA D BARBER (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Annette Griffith (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

The current study used an alternating treatment design to investigate the effect of computer-based instruction (CBI) with and without overt response requirements on Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) working at an Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) for adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). The overt responding consisted of multiple-choice questions administered throughout PowerPoint training videos. Results showed that although both the PowerPoint training videos with overt response requirements and the videos without response requirements resulted in learning, there was no clinically significant difference between the learning gains associated with overt response requirements and those without. Similarly, maintenance data collected at least 14 days after posttest completion showed no distinct differentiation. These findings are contrary to the literature on overt responding in classrooms, suggesting additional research is needed to identify the variables that contribute to this discrepancy. Implications for the use of CBI in organizational settings and directions for future research are discussed.


The Effects of an Interdependent Group Contingency on Staff Performance

KASEY BEDARD (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Jennifer Weber (CABAS )

Ineffective workplace contingencies may lead to an abundance of off track behavior among employees, thereby resulting in lower productivity, and cost to the employer. Current practices for increasing employee performance tend to be centered around punishment. Research into effective, easy to implement, affordable, and reinforcement-based behavior strategies are needed to promote positive practices in the workplace. The current study sought to evaluate the effect of an interdependent group contingency on direct client interaction hours in behavior technicians in a professional setting. Findings indicated that an intervention consisting of an interdependent group contingency was effective in increasing the completion of direct client interaction hours across two groups of behavior technicians working in a professional setting. In addition, the intervention served to help stabilize rates of responding close to goal rates, eliminating variability and major trend changes during intervention phases.

Self-Monitoring and Supervisor Feedback as a Method of Increasing On-Task Staff Behavior in a Residential Setting
RANDI MELVIN (NABA), Annette Griffith (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Thomas Wade Brown (Chrysalis ), Shawnee D. Collins (Chrysalis)
Abstract: The use of self-monitoring and supervisor feedback were implemented to determine if there were effects on on-task behavior of direct support personnel (DSPs) in a residential setting. On-task behavior included interaction and engagement with a client receiving residential services. Examples of on-task behaviors were available on data collection sheets and self-monitoring cards. After baseline participants participated in a short in-service regarding self-monitoring and the use of the data collection sheet. Self-Monitoring and Feedback were implemented simultaneously following the completion of the in-service. Data displayed an increase in on-task behavior and more stable responding following the implementation of self-monitoring and feedback. Feedback was removed following participants meeting a pre-determined criterion for on-task behavior, however the study continued. On-task behavior was observed with only self-monitoring to determine if behavior maintained at increased levels without the delivery of individualized feedback. Additionally, participants completed social validity questionnaires at the completion of the study, information gleaned are discussed. Follow up maintenance probes were completed several weeks following the completion of data collection.



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