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 #69
CE Offered: BACB
Caregiver Training: An Integral Component of Behavior-Analytic Service Delivery
Saturday, May 29, 2021
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Area: TBA/EDC; Domain: Translational
Chair: William Sullivan (SUNY Upstate Medical University)
CE Instructor: William Sullivan, Ph.D.

In order for behavior-analytic treatments to be maximally effective, caregiver training (e.g., parents, teachers) is necessary. This symposium will describe four studies examining methods for assessing variables related to poor caregiver performance and strategies for training caregivers to implement behavioral interventions. The first study describes an evaluation of the psychometric properties of the Performance Diagnostic Checklist-Human Services, designed to assess the environmental determinants of poor staff performance. The second study will present data examining the utility of a self-instructional manual for training special-education teachers and graduate students in behavior analysis to select appropriate prompting strategies. The third presentation describes a study evaluating methods for training staff to implement task analyses with high levels of fidelity. Finally, the fourth presentation will describe a randomized controlled trial assessing the effects of a manualized parent-training program targeting high-frequency challenging behaviors displayed by children with autism spectrum disorder. Training caregivers to become effective treatment agents is an integral part of behavior-analytic service delivery and each presentation will provide thoughtful insights on the topic. To end, the discussant will review the collective findings and provide directions for future research.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): autism, parent training, staff training, treatment integrity
Target Audience:

The target audience for this symposium will be students, researchers, and practitioners that are interested in caregiver training.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe the clinical and social significance of caregiver training; (2) describe environmental variables related poor staff performance; (3) summarize at least one research-based strategy for training caregivers.
Further Evaluation of the Reliability and Validity of a Staff Performance Assessment Tool
(Applied Research)
Daniel J Cymbal (Florida Institute of Technology), David A. Wilder (Florida Institute of Technology), Rachel Thomas (Florida Institute of Technology), HALLIE MARIE ERTEL (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Behavior analysts have recently developed informant-based tools to assess the variables responsible for poor staff performance. One such tool, the Performance Diagnostic Checklist-Human Services (PDC-HS), has been shown to be useful. However, empirical evaluation of the tool’s reliability and validity has been limited. Wilder, Lipschultz, Gehrman, Ertel, & Hodges (2019) found that the PDC-HS was largely valid and reliable when participants scored assessment-based videos depicting a staff performance problem. However, one limitation of this study was the degree to which the staff performance problem depicted in the video accurately represented the complexity of real-world staff problems. The present study extends Wilder et al., utilizing the same experimental framework but with performance problem scripts drawn from actual answers given by supervisors in the field. We collected data from 21 staff participants at varying levels of education and experience working at behavior-analytic therapy sites. Each participant scored three different videos with varying performance problems twice, and these responses provided the basis for calculations of validity, interrater reliability and test-retest reliability. Results suggest that the tool was generally valid and reliable, but differences between the results of Wilder et al. and the current study are apparent. Recommendations for future research are provided.
Development and Evaluation of a Decision-Making Tool for Evaluating and Selecting Prompting Strategies
(Applied Research)
LANDON COWAN (Marquette University), Dorothea C. Lerman (University of Houston-Clear Lake), KALLY M LUCK (University of Houston - Clear Lake), Amber Prell (University of Houston- Clear Lake), Ning Chen (University of Houston-Clear Lake)
Abstract: An extensive literature has demonstrated the successful application of various response prompts and prompt-fading procedures for teaching students with developmental and intellectual disabilities. However, few practical resources exist to guide special-education teachers and clinicians in the evaluation and selection of a prompting strategy for a given student and a targeted skill. Across three experiments, we used a multiple baseline across participants design to develop and evaluate the efficacy of a self-instructional manual to train 11 special-education teachers and 8 graduate students to evaluate and select appropriate prompting strategies to use with students across a variety of skills. The graduate students also implemented their selected prompting strategy in brief teaching sessions. Results indicated that the self-instructional manual was effective for improving their evaluation, selection, and implementation of appropriate prompting strategies. Social validity data collected from all participants suggested that they found the manual helpful. Results contribute to the literature on the development of decision-making tools to guide teachers and clinicians in the selection of interventions to use with their students.
Increasing and Maintaining Procedural Integrity Using a Brief Video Model
(Applied Research)
BRANDI TODARO (Western New England University), William H. Ahearn (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Treatment integrity is an important variable in delivering effective ABA services. Common components of caregiver training include didactic instruction, video modeling, and role play. Mueller et al. (2003) conducted a study in which different training packages were used to train parents to implement feeding protocols. They suggest that little research has been conducted with people who are naïve to the field. The current study sought to examine ways of effectively training new staff to implement a task analysis with a high degree of treatment integrity. Participants were recruited among new hires to the New England Center for Children. A multiple baseline design across a dyad of teachers was used to examine the effects of implementing two types of training procedures, didactic instruction and video modeling. One training procedure was implemented for six training sessions and then the other for an additional six training sessions. Data have been collected for a total of four dyads. Both methods improved integrity and exposure to a second training method further improved integrity. Interobserver agreement data were collected on treatment integrity in a minimum of 33% of each condition and total agreement averaged above 85%.

Developing a Behavioral Parent-Training Program Specific to High-Frequency Maladaptive Behaviors in Autism Spectrum Disorders

(Applied Research)
EMILY L. BAXTER (SUNY Upstate Medical University), William Sullivan (SUNY Upstate Medical University), Avery Albert (Syracuse University), Nicole M. DeRosa (SUNY Upstate Medical University), Kevin Antshel (Syracuse University), Henry S. Roane (SUNY Upstate Medical University)

Manualized parent-training protocols (e.g., the Incredible Years) are available to parents whose children engage in problematic behaviors. These protocols typically utilize an eclectic range of therapeutic strategies. To date, however, there has not been a manualized parent-training protocol that exclusively utilizes behavior analytic-based techniques to address problematic behaviors common among children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We examined the efficacy of a 6-week, focused parent training intervention across 38 parents of children with ASD. Parents were randomized into either a behavioral parent training or an active control intervention. A variety of outcome measures were used to examine the effects of the intervention at baseline, the conclusion of treatment, and at a 6-month follow-up. The primary outcome measure was the Clinical Global Impression-Improvement (CGI-I) scale administered by an Independent Evaluator (IE) who was unaware of treatment assignment. The CGI-I scale score reflected the IE’s assessment of overall improvement from baseline to endpoint. Differences in improvement were found between groups. In the control group, 22.2% of families improved significantly, compared to the treatment group, of which 62% of families improved significantly. Results will be discussed in relation to other manualized parent-training protocols, and directions for future research will be presented.




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