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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Poster Session #91
Saturday, May 23, 2020
1:00 PM–3:00 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 2, Hall D
Chair: Ashley Andersen (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute)
78. Using Behavioral Skills Training to Teach Front Line Staff to Conduct a Vocational Preference Assessment
Area: TBA; Domain: Applied Research
LAUREN ALICIA GOODWYN (Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC); Caldwell University), Anya K. Silver (Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC)), Sarah Dawson (Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC)), Richard Ramos (Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC)), Jenna Berenson (Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC)), Christina Garcia (Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC)), Anthoulla Themistocleous (Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC))
Discussant: Ashley Andersen (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Abstract: Training frontline staff from large human service delivery organizations can be time and resource intensive; these staff who work directly with the individuals served, often do so with minimal prior experience or skills implementing behavior analytic protocols (Hahs & Jarynowski, 2019). Behavioral skills training (BST) has been used to teach a wide variety of skills (e.g., Parsons & Reid, 1995; Sarokoff & Sturmey, 2004) including paired-stimulus preference assessments (e.g., Higgins, Luczynski, Carroll, Fisher, & Mudford, 2017; Lavie & Sturmey, 2002). In this study, we evaluated the effects of a BST package containing written protocol, modeling, rehearsal, and feedback to train staff to conduct a paired-stimulus vocational preference assessment. Generalization probes with adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were also conducted. Results indicated that BST was effective at teaching front line staff to implement a vocational preference assessment. These results are discussed in terms of efficiency of staff training. Implications for future research on expanding this BST package for training vocational preference assessments across multiple staff and correspondence between preference and actual work engagement and performance are also discussed.

Improving Practice Through Video Analysis

Area: TBA; Domain: Service Delivery
KRISTI MORIN (Lehigh University), April N. Haas (Texas A&M University)
Discussant: Ashley Andersen (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute)

Although the number of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) is increasing, there is still a critical shortage of BCBAs in many areas. As a result, individuals may be employed as behavior therapists despite a lack of training in applied behavior analysis (ABA). Without additional training, the services provided by these therapists might not be ideal. This presentation reports the results of a study conducted with behavior therapists enrolled in a Master of Special Education program in the southern United States. The course was part of a Verified Course Sequence, and all participants provided ABA services to clients with autism. The purpose of this research was to improve the skills of the behavior therapists through video analysis, an intervention which requires the participants to record and view videos of themselves delivering ABA services to clients for the purpose of self-improvement. To improve the social validity and generalizability of the study, the participants self-selected target behaviors to improve and implemented all steps of the single-case study independently. The results of the study were positive and indicated that all participants were not only able to improve their skills in ABA but also maintain these skills and generalize them to a second target behavior.


Superfluous Results Reporting in Applied Behavior Analytic Journals

Area: TBA; Domain: Applied Research
BENJAMIN N. WITTS (St. Cloud State University), Erin Wylie (St. Cloud State University; The Arc of the Ozarks), Kyle Pollard (St. Cloud State University)
Discussant: Ashley Andersen (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute)

To the extent possible, research results should be clear and free from bias. Bias is introduced when superfluous wording exaggerates anticipated or attractive results and hides or minimizes unanticipated or unattractive results. This study was conducted in two phases. In Phase 1, pilot work was conducted to determine 19 superfluous words suspected to be common in overselling results. In Phase 2, we analyzed the results reporting practices of every experimental article in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis for 2018. The analysis was conducted by 3 behavior analysts (one BCBA-D, two master’s-level students) and agreements are reported. Our results suggest that superfluous results reporting occurs in JABA.

82. Voices from the Field: How do BCBAs Address and Combat Misconceptions About ABA
Area: TBA; Domain: Service Delivery
JUSTIN N COY (University of Pittsburgh), Olivia Grace Enders (University of Pittsburgh)
Discussant: Ashley Andersen (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Abstract: Recently, applied behavior analysis (ABA) has seen dramatic increases in university training programs, experimental and applied research studies, and certified practitioners (Burning Glass, 2015; Carr & Nosik, 2017; Deochand & Fuqua, 2016), mirroring increasing nation-wide demand for credentialed behavior analysts (BACB, 2018). Yet the field of applied behavior analysis has a long-standing “image problem” (Doughty et al., 2012). Misconceptions and misunderstandings of the field propagate through academic textbooks and lectures, popular-press authors, and social media (e.g., Doughty et al., 2012; Kestner & Flora, 1995; Morris, 2009). In order to overcome these misconceptions, members of professional sciences can engage in a spectrum of dissemination behaviors, from one-on-one interactions to advocating for political or legislative changes. A pilot, state-wide survey of certified behavior professionals (n = 98) collected closed- and open-ended responses focused on a variety of professional experiences and issues. Responding analysts identified wide-ranging misconceptions about every aspect of our field, including service delivery, foundational science, typical clients, and its effectiveness. Analysts commonly reported using jargon-free terminology in their explanations and applicable real-life examples when discussing ABA with non-practitioners. Results from this exploratory study provide important preliminary information about our workforce and the professional and personal experiences of our dedicated professionals.

Coach Training Evaluation of the Online and Applied System for Intervention Skills Parent Training Program

Area: TBA; Domain: Service Delivery
E. ZHANG ( University of Kansas Medical Center ), Linda S. Heitzman-Powell (The University of Kansas Medical Center), Jay Furman Buzhardt (University of Kansas - Juniper Gardens Children's Project), Jessica M. Barr (University of Kansas Medical Center), Vanessa Snyder (University of Kansas Medical Center )
Discussant: Ashley Andersen (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute)

The Online and Applied System for Intervention Skills (OASIS) Training is a manualized training program using a combination of web-based instructional tutorials and live coaching. Previous studies (e.g., Heitzman-Powell, Buzhardt, Rusinko, & Miller, 2013) from the authors have demonstrated the effectiveness of the OASIS program in teaching skills and strategies based on applied behavior analysis to parents of children with autism. An effort has been made to increase the availability of certified OASIS coaches while ensuring their training fidelity. The current study seeks to describe the criterion-referenced OASIS coach training conducted both through in-person and via telehealth and the coach training evaluation. OASIS coach trainees are required to meet the criteria for both knowledge on ABA and coaching skills, and to provide OASIS training to a family. Five cohorts composed of 17 people completed the OASIS coach training, 13 (76%) of which were master-level therapists. Results indicated that all coach trainees were able to demonstrate a high level of coaching competency and implementation fidelity.


Effects of Auditory Feedback During Safety Care Training

Area: TBA; Domain: Applied Research
AZARIA BERMUDEZ (TCSPP), Genevieve Marshall (The SPARKS Group, LLC), Mary Caruso-Anderson (Ally Behavioral Services)
Discussant: Ashley Andersen (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute)

Staff performance on safety habits have been studied in an organizational manner for many years. When working with individuals who exhibit challenging or dangerous behavior, including specialists who work with individuals diagnosed with autism, training must be provided to ensure safety for all involved. Amongst the variations of this type of training Safety-Care ™ training has been one that focuses on prevention and evidence-based intervention when disruptive or dangerous behavior arises (QBS, Inc). In order to train the staff on these procedures Behavioral Skills Training (BST) is presented as a technique to introduce new skills. These techniques used in BST have been studied and have found to improve staff performance. The procedures consist of instruction, model, practice, and feedback till mastery (Parsons, Rollyson, & Reid, 2012; Nigro-Bruzzi & Sturmey, 2010; Sarokoff & Sturmey, 2004). Even though BST is the primary way to teach when introducing new skills, it is not the only option. Clicker training is another form of feedback that has been presented when teaching novel responses. This type of training provides an auditory feedback as a conditioned reinforcer to determine a targeted goal when learning a new skill. This was first introduced to train new responses with porpoises (Pryor, Haag, & O’Reilly, 1969). Since then, more researched has surfaced using clicker training on a variety of animals like goats, horses, and dogs (Ferguson & Rosales-Ruiz, 2001; Langbein et al., 2007; Pryor, 1999); it has been used to facilitate physical performance in sports like golf, football, and track (Fogel et al, 2010; Harrison & Pyles, 2013; Scott et al., 1997); also has been used in reducing toe-walking in a child diagnosed with autism (Persicke et al., 2014; Hodges et al., 2019); and has been used to improve performance on using surgical techniques for medical students (Levy, Pryor, & McKeon, 2016). Types of clicker training have evolved to introduce a curriculum. For example, TAGteach uses the WOOF criteria (what you want, one thing, observable, five words or less) to establish an auditory stimulus known as a “Tag” to reinforce the targeted behavior (TAGteach International, 2004). This auditory feedback is used as a conditioned reinforcer to establish when a correct response was emitted. It has been shown to improve golf swings (Fogel et al., 2010) dance movements (Quin et al., 2015) and beginner yoga poses (Ennett, Zonneveld, Thomson, Vause, & Ditor, 2019). One study showed the use of clicker training to improve behavior-skills change in practitioners who work with children diagnosed with autism (Herron, Lotfizadeh, & Poling 2018). These results indicated that the clicker training showed an increase in opportunities in which practitioners correctly engaged in selected ABA strategies used in the study. Even though there are many published articles on using clicker training to improve sports performance and animal training, not much has been studied on human services. The purpose of the study is to utilize clicker training during Safety Care ™ to gather a percentage of correct responding for movements utilized during the training. If practitioners on average are mastering the skill at a faster rate and obtain fluency by the end of the training, then they are more likely to utilize these skills with their clients during a crisis situation.


Interobserver Agreement and Treatment Fidelity in Brazilian Behavior-Analytic Journals: Review and Implications for Practice

Area: TBA; Domain: Theory
ANA CAROLINA CAROLINA SELLA (Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Brazil), Rebeca Cavalcante (Universidade Federal de Alagoas), Jackeline Santos (Universidade Federal de Alagoas)
Discussant: Ashley Andersen (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute)

Defining features of evidence-based practices (EBPs) include using the best available evidence and designing a system that allows practitioners to collect their own data on procedure efficacy and efficiency in their own contexts. Among the features that might contribute to EBPs are interobserver agreement (IOA) and treatment fidelity (TF), since they increase data reliability. This study analyzed the presence of IOA and TF in studies published in behavior analytic Brazilian journals and was conducted in two phases. In Phase 1, 290 studies were analyzed according to 6 categories (i.e., published between 2013 and 2017, accessible online, written in Portuguese, human beings were the only participants in the study, the study was experimental, and there were pre-intervention measures). Thirty-five articles were approved for Phase 2, which analyzed the presence of IOA and TF. Among these 35 articles, 10 described IOA and 2, TF measures. We discuss possible implications of these results for practitioners looking for EBPs and how they might, on their own, start using IOA and FT measures to start transforming their practice into a data-based process.




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Modifed by Eddie Soh