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; Online; 2020

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #200
Training Caregivers, Part I: Working With Young Children
Sunday, May 24, 2020
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Peter Sturmey (The Graduate Center and Queens College, City University of New York)
Discussant: Gina Feliciano (Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC))
CE Instructor: Peter Sturmey, Ph.D.

Training caregivers to apply evidence-based Applied Behavior Analysis is an essential component of professional work and a key component of effective services. Research over the last 30 years has demonstrated the effectiveness, efficiency and acceptability of Behavioral Skills Training (BST) to teach skills, promote generalization of teaching skills and sometimes produce important changes in child behavior. As research in this area becomes more differentiated, one important aspect has been the application of BST to young children, including training family members and staff in integrated settings. This workshop will present three papers on applying BST to train parents of a child at risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders via telehealth, training parents to teach joint attention skills to their children, and training special education teachers to improve the integrity of function-based interventions to increase child classroom engagement. These studies demonstrate that BST can readily be extended to working with caregivers of young children with disabilities, improve caregiver behavior and produce socially important changes in child behavior.

Target Audience:

Masters and doctoral level practitioners; advanced graduate students; psychologists; service supervisors;

Learning Objectives: Participants will (1) describe the application of behavioral skills training to family members; (2) describe the application of behavioral skills training to varied young children; (3) describe child outcomes of training caregivers.
Parent-Mediated Targeted Intervention via Telehealth for a Young Child At-Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder
ALICIA AZZANO (Brock University), Rebecca A. Ward (Phoenix Centre for Learning), Tricia Corinne Vause (Brock University), Maurice Feldman (Dept. of Applied Disability Studies, Brock University)
Abstract: Some early screeners can detect ASD signs in the first year of life (Feldman et al., 2012), opening the potential for pre-diagnostic early intervention. With the growing body of research demonstrating the feasibility of using a telehealth model to provide parent training of behavior analytic teaching strategies to parents of children with ASD (Lindgren et al., 2016), more research is needed to explore the efficacy of this model and early intervention in general for parents who have pre-diagnostic young children at-risk for ASD. In this current study, parents of one child aged 30 months first identified potential target problem behaviors on the Parent Observation of Early Markers Scale (POEMS; Feldman et al., 2012) that were confirmed during baseline observations. All observations occurred through videoconferencing once a week for one hour. A multiple baseline design across parent and child behaviors was used to evaluate a parent-mediated behavioral intervention to increase target developmental skills (pointing to request, verbal manding, motor imitation) using the telehealth model. Both parents participated in training. Data was collected for the percentage of correct responses from contrived trials for each child behavior, and for the percentage of correct parent teaching implementation according to the Parent Teaching Skills Checklist. Child skill teaching strategies taught to the parents included components of applied behavior analysis and natural environment teaching (Weiss, 2001). Parent training consisted of a modified behavioral skills training to accommodate the telehealth model (read and discuss written instructions, watch pre-made model videos, coach the parents to rehearse the teaching strategies with each other, and give feedback). As seen in Table 1, parent training increased parent teaching skills that maintained at over 80% teaching fidelity for both parents, with concomitant increases in child target skills (motor imitation is currently is training, accounting for the empty bottom row in Table 1). These results highlight the promise of a cost-effective telehealth parent training early intervention model to reduce early ASD signs in at-risk young children.

Parent and Sibling Training to Increase Joint Attention Behavior in Young Children With Developmental Disabilities

SARAH GRACE HANSEN (Georgia State University), Tracy Jane Raulston (Penn State), Jessica Demarco (Georgia State University), Hannah Etchison (Georgia State University)

Children with developmental disabilities are at increased risk for social communication deficits, including early and pivotal social communication skills. One such skill, response to joint attention, is a behavioral cusp for later developing social communication and play. Joint attention is coordinated shared attention between two individuals and an object or event. The current study investigated the effects of a train-the-trainer approach where parents were trained to teach siblings to be proficient interventionists on the response to joint attention behavior of their siblings with developmental disabilities. Results indicate an increase in parent task fidelity following a modified behavior skills training procedure during home visits, as well as an increase in sibling task fidelity following parent training using a social narrative and prompting procedure. Target child data indicate an increase in level of response to joint attention behavior following parent training and parent training of sibling. Limitations and future directions are discussed.


The Effects of a Teacher’s Behavior Skills Training in Strategies for Students With Exceptionalities in a General Education Classroom

Dustin Platter (Hawaii Department of Education), JENNIFER NINCI (University of Hawaii at Manoa), Shari Daisy (University of Nevada, Reno)

Special education teachers are often implementers of behavior intervention plans; however, a shortage of teachers in any field is only magnified in special education. Studies have looked at the use of behavior skills training (BST) in training teachers and caregivers in the intervention techniques prescribed for individuals and groups. This study extends research on teacher training using the BST model. This study was also designed to evaluate the relation between teacher integrity to a functional assessment-based interventions (FABI) suite of strategies and the effect on student on-task performance. The participants were a special education teacher and two elementary-aged students, each classified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The students engaged in off-task, often disruptive behavior while receiving special education services in a general education classroom. This study was conducted in three phases. Each phase consisted of BST to teach a subset of interventions. A single-subject changing criterion design was used to evaluate the effect of BST on teacher integrity and student performance. Results showed that BST improved teacher integrity through each phase and teacher integrity improved student on-task behavior. Limitations to this study will be discussed as well as directions for future research.


Evaluation of a Caregiver Training Intervention to Teach Safety Skills to Children With Autism

SARAH DAVIS (Brock University), Sarah Kupferschmidt (ONTABA), Kendra Thomson (Brock University ), Carly Magnacca (Brock University)

Alarmingly, nearly half of children with autism elope or bolt, and more than half of these children go missing for a concerning duration of time and/or enter into dangerous situations. Caregivers often do not feel prepared to address these serious concerns. This study evaluated the effectiveness of behavioural skills training (BST) for teaching caregivers how to also use BST in conjunction with a tactile prompt to teach their children with autism help-seeking behaviour. Participants included a total of six dyads, caregivers and their children with autism ages 5-10. We used a concurrent multiple baseline design across two dyads with three replications. The children’s safety responses were measured using a point system: (1) calling out for their caregiver in a louder than conversational voice, (2) locating a store employee, and (3) informing the employee that he/she was lost. Results indicate that four children met mastery criteria (a safety score of 3 across two consecutive trials), and the caregivers were able to successfully fade the tactile prompting device. Data collection with the final two dyads is currently in progress. This study contributes to the limited empirical research on caregiver training using BST to teach help-seeking behaviour to children with autism.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh