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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Poster Session #80
Saturday, May 25, 2019
1:00 PM–3:00 PM
Hyatt Regency East, Exhibit Level, Riverside Exhibit Hall
Chair: Byron J. Wine (The Faison Center)

An Evaluation of the Performance Diagnostic Checklist: Human Services to Assess Employee Performance on Functional Communication Training

Area: OBM; Domain: Service Delivery
JULIE LOUISE MELENDEZ (University of Southern California; Creative Behavioral Consultants), Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Southern California; FirstSteps for Kids), Svada Parhimoon (Creative Behavioral Consultants )
Discussant: Byron J. Wine (The Faison Center)

The Performance Diagnostic Checklist (PDC) is a tool developed to identify the environmental variables that affect poor employee performance. Research has supported the utility of the PDC across a variety of settings and, more recently, the Performance Diagnostic Checklist – Human Services (PDC-HS) was created to address the need for such a tool specifically in human services settings. We identified three staff members that exhibited a need for improvement in their performance during in-home applied behavior analysis sessions. The PDC-HS was administered with 2 supervisors to assess the variables that may have affected poor performance in the area of functional communication training by staff that those supervisors were responsible for. The PDC-HS identified that Behavioral Skills Training (BST) would be an appropriate intervention for all participants. BST was evaluated to determine its effectiveness in improving employee performance. Data collection is ongoing, but the initial results suggest that BST may be effective and that other intervention components may be needed for individual staff.


Effective Management of Staff Performance: Self-Monitoring Coupled With Supervisory Checks

Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
KINSLEY E WILLIS (Melmark New England), Julia Hrdina (Melmark New England)
Discussant: Byron J. Wine (The Faison Center)

Within the human services field, staff are required to do a variety of tasks while still caring for children. High levels of fidelity across tasks is essential to student outcomes. Self-monitoring coupled with supervision has been effective in managing staff performance (Richmond, Riordan, Reiss, Pyles, and Baily, 1988). The current study examined the impact of self-monitoring and supervisory checks on the completion of IEP objectives across two classrooms. During baseline, focus sheets were provided to staff in the absence of self-monitoring or supervisory checks. Moderate levels of completion were observed across both classrooms. During intervention, staff were required to record completed IEP objectives on a focus sheet across each student. Staff then computed the percentage of completed programs over the week period and turned in focus sheets to the supervisor. Results of the intervention indicated that self-monitoring and supervisory checks are adequate to improve and maintain high rates of IEP completion. Levels of completion again dropped during a reversal phase. Interobserver agreement was conducted across 71% of sessions and averaged 100%. Future investigations might include a component analysis to see if self-monitoring alone or systematic fading of supervisory checks would maintain high levels of completion.


The Use of Behavior Skills Training to Teach Components of Direct Instruction

Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
JAMES SHERMAN (Evergreen Center ), Jacob Richardson (Evergreen Center), Joseph M. Vedora (Evergreen Center)
Discussant: Byron J. Wine (The Faison Center)

Behavior Skills Training (BST) has been demonstrated to be an effective method in training staff to perform skills with high fidelity in a relatively short amount of time. In the current study, three components of Direct Instruction (DI) were trained using BST. The participants were two classroom instructors with prior experience implementing DI with students with autism. The targets for staff training were accuracy with signal delivery, error correction, and reinforcer delivery. BST was provided to the participants for each component skill and a multiple baseline design across skills was used to evaluate the effects of BST. Generalization probes were conducted with a student with autism during baseline and after mastery with each skill was demonstrated. BST rapidly increased staff performance across skills with generalization demonstrated during classroom probes. This study extends the use of BST to implementation of DI and the results suggest that BST delivered in role-play scenarios resulted in improved teacher performance of the targeted skills in generalization probes with students.

106. Increasing Positive Feedback to Direct Care Staff in a Human Service Setting
Area: OBM; Domain: Service Delivery
Phillip Orchowitz (Kennedy Krieger Institute ), Samantha Hardesty (Kennedy Krieger Institute), CHRISTOPHER M DILLON (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Brandon Mazzaferro (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Lynn G. Bowman (Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Discussant: Byron J. Wine (The Faison Center)
Abstract: Feedback is one of the most prevalent interventions utilized in the field of Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) (VanStelle, 2012). Daniels and Bailey (2014) recommend a feedback ratio of 4:1 (positive to coaching) for improving employee performance within an organization. The purpose of the present study was to increase the ratio of positive to coaching feedback delivered by managers to direct care staff in a human service setting. First, the Performance Diagnostic Checklist–Human Services (PDC-HS) (Carr, Wilder, Majdalany, Mathisen, & Strain; 2013) was administered to determine what environmental variables contributed to the infrequent delivery of positive feedback. Based on PDC-HS results, an intervention consisting of goal setting and feedback was initiated. That is, managers were instructed to deliver at least twice as much positive feedback as coaching. Supervisors delivered verbal and graphic feedback (group or individualized) to managers on a weekly basis regarding their performance during the previous week. Group feedback resulted in no change in the frequency of positive feedback delivered by managers to direct care staff. Individualized graphic feedback resulted in a 227% increase in the average frequency of positive feedback delivered per week. Additionally, the average percentage of managers meeting the 2:1 ratio goal increased from 27.8% in baseline to 60.9%. Managers indicated they preferred individualized feedback over the group feedback intervention.
107. Examining the Effect of Verbal Stimuli on Cooperative Responding Under a Financially Competing Contingency
Area: OBM; Domain: Basic Research
ALISON SZARKO (University of Nevada, Reno), Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno), Kenneth Burleigh (University of Nevada, Reno), Elizabeth Ghezzi (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Byron J. Wine (The Faison Center)
Abstract: Implicit relational responses are described in the behavior analytic literature as brief, immediate, relational responses (BIRRs) occurring with respect to specific classes of verbal stimuli present in an individual’s environment (Dymond & Roche, 2013). BIRRs are commonly regarded to as implicit responses. In contrast, explicit responses are referred to as extended and elaborated relational responses (EERRs). Recent literature on leadership in organizations highlight the influence that implicit relational responding may bare on explicit decision making in workplace environments. For instance, decisions to cooperate in service of the group, despite the availability of immediate, financial reinforcers may increase the likelihood of organizational success when financial resources are limited. The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) is a tool designed to assess BIRRs. This study assessed the utility of the IRAP as a verbal stimuli selection tool, by examining the effects of IRAP-selected verbal stimuli on explicit choice responding under piece-rate contingencies in an analog work task. The verbal stimuli were examined for their motivative augmental effects on cooperative choice responding. The piece-rate financially contingency was considered a competing financial contingency, because participants only earned revenue when they choose to work alone, despite cooperative statements presented during the task. A group-level correlational analysis was conducted to determine the predictive utility of IRAP results on explicit responding. The relationship between implicit responding, as demonstrated in the IRAP, and explicit responding, as demonstrated in the simulated work task, will be discussed.

A Systematic Review of Correlates and Interventions to Treat Burnout of Direct Care Staff Working With Adults with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities

Area: OBM; Domain: Theory
KATELYN SOUCIE-VUKMANICH (Brock University), Rosemary A. Condillac (Brock University)
Discussant: Byron J. Wine (The Faison Center)

Burnout literature remains inconclusive due to variable methods and few study/result replications (Skirrow & Hatton, 2007). The purposes of this systematic review were threefold: 1) to determine the trend of direct care staff (staff) burnout since 2004; 2) to identify and review the correlates of burnout and effective treatment interventions and; 3) to identify the current gaps in the literature. This systematic review followed the inclusion criteria and graphing procedures by Skirrow and Hatton (2007). The 37 studies included mean subscale scores from the Maslach Burnout Inventory (Maslach, Jackson, & Leiter, 1996), recruited staff who worked directly with adults with disabilities, and were written in English. Results show that personal accomplishment (M = 32.22; range = 4.88-43.7) has increased, emotional exhaustion (M = 17.19; range = 2.09-28.12) has remained stable, and depersonalization (M = 4.74; range = 0.67-11.1) has decreased since 2004. These results suggest that burnout among staff has decreased overtime. Further analyses are still in progress, therefore correlates, effective treatments, gaps, and future directions for research will be discussed on the poster. Understanding correlates of burnout, effective treatment strategies, and gaps in the literature is important to develop a best practice for preventing and treating burnout in staff.

110. Applied Interventions for Improving Employee Satisfaction in a Clinical ABA Setting
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
EMILY DAVIS (The BISTÅ Center), Cailin M Ockert (The BISTÅ Center)
Discussant: Byron J. Wine (The Faison Center)
Abstract: Baseline data indicates that employee’s overall satisfaction is 5.79/10 with Behavior Analysts scoring the lowest at 3.83. The overall score is concerning in terms of burnout and retention of key employees in a clinic-based ABA agency. Several interventions were implemented after the first survey to address the most commonly reported concerns. The first intervention involved administration providing higher rates of positive written praise in the form of emails and creating a system of reinforcement for employees participating in company goal focusing personal or professional development. The second intervention involved creating more structure in the form of a daily schedule for all on campus clients. The initial results showed employees have increased job satisfaction with the interventions put in place. This indicates that higher levels of written reinforcement and company structure had a reinforcing effect on employee job satisfaction.

Utilizing Train to Codeto Train Staff to Identify Complex Verbal Operants

Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
COLLEEN YORLETS (RCS Behavioral & Educational Consulting), David A Eckerman (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Megan Breault (RCS Learning Center), Christina M. King (RCS Learning Center)
Discussant: Byron J. Wine (The Faison Center)

The purpose of this study was to train a behavior therapist to code video examples of the primary verbal operants (e.g. mand, tact, echoic, and intraverbal). Using Train to Code© software, the participant progressed through an automated seven-level training program which systematically faded out prompts. Pre-test and post-test consisted of a printed worksheet with 32 statements in multiple choice format. Prior to beginning coding, the participant was exposed to definitions (e.g. auditory and textual) for each operant. During training, the participant responded by coding each video exemplar with a keystroke and the software automatically advanced and remediated training levels according to set criteria. Pre-test results indicated the participant was able to code mand and echoic statements with 100% accuracy, but only 32% accuracy on tact and intraverbal trials. Training results, thus far, demonstrated that the participant accurately coded 262 of 337 trials (78% accuracy) across the first three faded prompt levels across two sessions. A post-test probe after level 3 suggested modest improvement with tact and intraverbal coding (50% accuracy) and continued demonstration of 100% accuracy on mand and echoic exemplars. Preliminary results provide implications for the efficacy of automated training programs to teach behavior analytic concepts.




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