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 #113
CE Offered: BACB
Implementing Evidence-Based Practices for Students With Autism in School Settings
Saturday, May 29, 2021
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Area: AUT/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Rachel García (University of South Florida)
Discussant: Jeffrey Michael Chan (Northern Illinois University)
CE Instructor: Jeffrey Michael Chan, Ph.D.

The majority of evidence-based practices for students with autism are based in the concepts and principles of behavior analysis. Furthermore, research indicates that access to evidence-based practices has a positive effect on educational outcomes of students with autism. Most children with autism receive the majority of their education in public school settings; however, many barriers to accurate and sustained implementation of evidence-based practices in schools exist. To ensure more children with autism benefit from access to evidence-based practices, it is critical to evaluate and address barriers to implementation in school settings. This symposium consists of the presentation of four projects addressing implementation of evidence-based practices in school setting. The first presentation will report findings on special educators’ use of a variety of evidence-based practices. The second presentation will report an evaluation of a collaborative framework to facilitate school professionals to implement evidence-based practices. Next, an evaluation of a technology-based self-management intervention in school settings will be presented. Finally, the results of a systematic literature review of functional analyses conducted in school settings will be shared. The final discussion will summarize these studies, highlight the applied value of the results, and discuss future research.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): autism, evidence-based practices, school
Target Audience:

The target audience is "basic" and includes graduate students, practicing BCBAs, and researchers. The target audience would have a specific interest in working in school settings.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1. Identify the most commonly utilized evidence-based practices in school settings. 2. Describe the Modular Approach to Autism Programming in Schools. 3. Describe strategies associated iwth a team-based framework for implementing evidence-based strategies in school settings. 4. Describe how to implement I-Connect, a technology-based self-management interventions 5. Identify functional analysis methodologies that have been evaluated in school settings.

Use of Evidence-Based Practices for Autism in Schools: A Survey of Public-School Special Educators

Tonya Nichole Davis (Baylor University), Stephanie Gerow (Baylor University), PROVIDENCE LIVELY (Baylor University), Tracey Sulak (Baylor University), Julia M Hrabal (Baylor University), Kathleen Hine (Baylor University), MacKenzie Raye Wicker (Baylor University)

The educational progress of students with autism is dependent on frequent, intense exposure to evidence based practices delivered with a high degree of fidelity. In 2020, the National Clearinghouse on Autism Evidence & Practice identified 28 evidence-based practices for children with autism, many of which are based on the concepts and principles of applied behavior analysis (Steinbrenner et al., 2020). The majority of students with autism receive educational services in public schools; therefore, it is critical that evidence-based practices are implemented in this context. We surveyed 84 special educators who work with students with autism in public schools about their implementation of these 28 evidence-based practices. Results indicated variability in the frequency with which educators report implementing each of the 28 practices. We evaluated potential moderating variables such as grade level taught, instructional setting, and years of experience. The results of this study further indicate that additional efforts are required to promote consistent implementation of evidence-based practices in public education. Practical implications and recommendations for future research will be discussed.

A Modular Approach for Autism Programming in Schools (MAAPS): Virtual Adaptation to a Pilot Study
ROSE IOVANNONE (University of South Florida/Florida Mental Health), Suzannah J. Iadarola (University of Rochester)
Abstract: Although there are established evidence-based interventions for students with autism, they are often not implemented as intended in school settings. Multiple factors impact school implementation including lack of resources, inadequate training, and transfer of research-based interventions to classrooms. Modular Approach to Autism Programming in Schools (MAAPS) is a collaborative, team-based framework that guides school teams to select and implement evidence-based interventions, utilizing a modular approach that customizes specific interventions to best address individual student needs. Results from a pilot study, using an underpowered randomized controlled trial (RCT), showed that MAAPS is feasible and acceptable for school implementation and has promise of improving academic, social, and behavioral outcomes of elementary students with autism. MAAPS is currently undergoing a large, 4-year RCT across three states. Due to the pandemic we adapted delivery of the research and intervention activities from in-vivo to 100% virtual. Virtual adaptations were made based upon best practices, as well as emphasis on implementation factors related to buy-in and uptake. Data will show that virtual delivery of intervention research, such as MAAPS that includes ongoing coaching support to teachers, is feasible and effective.
I-Connect: Evidence for a Technology-Based Self-Management Intervention
GRETCHEN SCHEIBEL (University of Kansas), Howard P. Wills (Juniper Gardens Children's Project)
Abstract: Independent assessment, adjustment and maintenance of behavior is a valuable skill for students receiving special education and a critical skill for individuals with disabilities later in life. I-Connect is a technology-based self-management intervention which has demonstrated positive effects in 14 cases across 6 peer-reviewed studies, resulting positive outcomes in academic and behavioral outcomes in elementary and middle school classrooms. This session will present an overview of using I-Connect to target prosocial behavior in schools and a meta-analysis of the existing literature base yielding, with strong confidence, a large omnibus effect size and similar effect sizes for popular I-Connect treatment packages and population. Additionally, the session will review evidence-based quality indicators determining I-Connect is an evidence-based practice to be used in special education environments along with resources for implementing I-Connect to support students with disabilities. The session will summarize the evidence that supports the use of a simple, cost-effective self-management intervention to target academic and behavioral outcomes.
A Systematic Review of Functional Analysis in Public Schools
ROSS NESSELRODE (The University of Texas at Austin), Terry S. Falcomata (The University of Texas at Austin), Lauren Wright (The University of Texas at Austin)
Abstract: Experimental functional analysis (FA) is often used in clinical settings to identify maintaining variables of behavior but may not used as part of functional behavior assessments (FBA) in public schools. Barriers such as time, staff training, and effective current practice have limited the use of FA in public school FBA. Recent literature has shown effective variations of FA that can be used to appropriately address these barriers and effectively train school staff on the procedure. The purpose of the current study was to review the literature pertaining to FA in schools focusing on method, topographies, and results of problem behavior. Results of this review showed that analogue functional analysis (AFA) are conducted most often in school settings; but recent trends show that use of adapted formats (e.g., trial-based FA and brief FA) are increasing. Analysis of FA results identified most frequent topographies and maintaining variables of problem behavior in the reviewed studies. Trends in teacher-implemented FA are discussed, as well as discrepancies surrounding the terminology of FA in the literature base. Implications for further research, such as social validity of FA in public schools and use of multiple targeted topographies within school-based FA.



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