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.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Symposium #75
Recent Developments in Applying Behavioral Skills Training in Contemporary Services
Saturday, May 29, 2021
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Sarah Davis (Brock University)
CE Instructor: Lindsay Maffei-Almodovar, Ph.D.
Abstract: Today, training staff and family members takes place in many different service contexts outside of the university-based laboratory or demonstration project. Although Behavioral Skills Training is a well established evidence-based practice for caregivers in autism and developmental disabilities services, we still need more demonstrations from the field of applications and related issues. This symposium will illustrate those issues with three empirical papers. The first illustrates the application of telehealth. The second addresses organizational issues in ABA organizations. The second addresses large-scale application of behavioral skills training over several years.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Caregiver training, Staff turnover, Telehealth
Target Audience: Audience members should have basic graduate level skills and knowledge in behavior analysis, such as knowledge of staff training methods, evidence-based practices, basic teaching strategies and behavior analytic concepts.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Describe the use of telehealth methods to train parents to teach adaptive behavior skills to older children and adolescents with autism; (2) Describe factors, including independent variables that could be manipulated to influence staff turn over; and (3) Describe the strategies used to implement large scale application of behavioral skills training over extended periods of time.

Parent-Implemented Behavior Interventions via Telehealth for Older Children and Adolescents

(Applied Research)
CHRISTINE DREW (Auburn University), Wendy A. Machalicek (University of Oregon)

This study used independent ABAB withdrawal designs to determine whether BPT increased parent fidelity of implementation of function-based intervention which then resulted in decreasing rates of child challenging behavior while increasing rates of appropriate replacement behavior. Four participants aged 8-17 were included in the study with their parents serving as interventionists. The routines of concern were mealtime, toothbrushing, and room cleaning with various topographies of challenging behavior impacting the quality of these family routines. Each parent achieved high treatment fidelity with one session of BPT and bug-in-ear coaching. Three participants had an immediate decrease in challenging behavior upon the introduction of the intervention. Three participants showed reliable reversals to their challenging behavior with the withdrawal of the intervention and corresponding decreases in challenging behavior when the intervention was reintroduced. All parents reported high acceptability, ease of use, and contextual fit pre- and post-intervention. Results and implications for practice and future research were discussed.


An Examination of Variables That Predict Turnover, Staff and Caregiver Satisfaction in Behavior-Analytic Organizations

(Applied Research)
DANIEL J CYMBAL (Florida Tech), Sara Gershfeld Litvak (Behavioral Health Center of Excellence), David A. Wilder (Florida Institute of Technology), Gary Burns (Florida Institute of Technology)

Staff turnover can pose a significant problem for human service organizations. For Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) service providers, turnover may be particularly problematic due to the resources required for training. Accreditation organizations such as the Behavioral Health Center for Excellence® (BHCOE®) collect large amounts of organizational data that can point to trends in ABA organizations and provide a basis for problem identification and intervention. In this study, we evaluated BHCOE® data to examine potential predictors of staff turnover as well as staff and caregiver satisfaction in ABA organizations. Results of multiple regression analyses suggest that high rates of turnover among job classes (i.e., technicians and supervisors) correlate with each other’s turnover. Behavior Technicians are also more likely to turnover when wages are lower and caregiver satisfaction wanes. Staff satisfaction was not a significant turnover predictor but was generally predicted by caregiver satisfaction. These findings suggest that turnover and satisfaction are multi-faceted processes worthy of examination; we provide broad recommendations for improvement and avenues for further study.

Pyramidal Behavioral Skills Training, Productivity Monitoring, Goal Setting, Feedback and Teacher Incentives Across Three Schools: Six Years of Data
(Service Delivery)
LINDSAY MAFFEI-ALMODOVAR (Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC)), Cynthia E. Martinez (Quality Services for the Autism Community), Lillian Rothmaler (QSAC), Peter Sturmey (The Graduate Center and Queens College, City University of New York)
Abstract: Adequate training productivity is an important goal for schools serving students with autism due to frequent staff turnover and a need for newly hired staff to implement behavior analytic protocols correctly soon after being hired. The presenting author monitored the weekly and cumulative number of behavior analytic skills trained to staff by clinical coordinators and classroom teachers across three schools over six years. Weekly permanent product counts before and after the implementation of pyramidal behavioral skills training, public posting, goal setting and feedback, and teacher incentives indicated that these practices may have contributed to an increased proportion of weekly training completed by teachers over time and increased overall training productivity from year to year. Variables including staff and trainer turnover, staffing additions and shortages, differing numbers of students and behavioral support needs in classrooms, and new or different job responsibilities assigned to clinical coordinators or teachers made training productivity an important aspect of service delivery to monitor, but also interfered with isolating responsible factors when increased productivity occurred.



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