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 #238
Innovations and Outcomes: Exploring Real-World Application and Evaluation of ABA Services via Telehealth
Sunday, May 30, 2021
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Area: AUT; Domain: Translational
Chair: Kristine Rodriguez (Autism Learning Partners)
CE Instructor: Kristine Rodriguez, M.A.

The COVID-19 global pandemic of 2020 and the ensuing emergency guidelines had potential to limit the delivery of essential ABA-based Autism services. While literature outside of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has demonstrated efficacy of remote, video-conference modality for medical care, (i.e. telehealth or telepractice), replicable models of ABA-based telehealth were limited in ABA literature prior to 2020. In response to the public health crisis, a protocol modification assessment (PMA) and treatment selection matrix for modifying ABA programs for direct telehealth was developed and published in an emergency issue of Behavior Analysis in Practice (Rodriguez, 2020). The first panelist will present a model for training and implementation of the PMA in a multi-site provider organization, including confidence self-assessment results from the participating behavior analysts; the second panelist will present client outcomes in the form of pre- and post-implementation assessment change scores. A third panelist will share an innovative applied research approach to modification of a well-known curriculum (PEAK), in which the materials were transformed into an interactive video game that allowed for remote, highly engaging implementation. The panelists will offer guidance for future implementation and evaluation.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): applied research, client outcomes, PEAK, telehealth
Target Audience:

Participants should be familiar with the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts (BACB(R) 2014, including considerations for competence to practice and efficacy of services); a review of literature related to telehealth service delivery (e.g. Ferguson et al., 2019); and PEAK Curriculum (Dixon, 2008) and its applications (Belisle, 2018) will offer participants context for engagement.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants should be able to: 1. Identify skills that improve a client's readiness for various modalities of telehealth ABA 2. Evaluate clinical outcomes of their clients using available assessment data 3. Modify programs and teaching resources to improve engagement and outcomes
A Model for Training Behavior Analysts in Program Modification for Telehealth
(Service Delivery)
JO ANNA MAZZACANE (Autism Learning Partners)
Abstract: Regional restrictions and emergency mandates related to the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a necessary shift in delivery of essential ABA services, requiring a methodology for evaluating appropriateness of a rapid shift to telehealth for existing programs. Using the Program Modification Assessment (PMA) and treatment selection matrix for telehealth services (Rodriguez, 2020), a multi-site provider organization provided training, coaching, and resources for behavior analysts (BAs). BAs first evaluated the abilities and needs of the client, coupled with those of the caregiver, to determine the magnitude of modifications necessary to ethically transition to telehealth. Clients were designated as candidates for direct (1:1) telehealth, telehealth supervision, or a traditional (in-person) model. This presenter will review the training topics offered, the coaching model used (including live, remote Behavioral Skills Training and in-office case review), and the interactive resources provided to aid BAs in the transition. The presenter will additionally share survey data indicating a rapid and dramatic improvement in self-assessment of BA competence in delivering telehealth services.

Evaluating Client Outcomes Across Treatment Modalities: Telehealth vs. Traditional In-home Models of ABA

(Service Delivery)
ALLYSON MARIE KRONEBERGER (Children's Learning Connection; Autism Learning Partners)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, roughly 1400 clients were transitioned to telehealth ABA services across 50+ regions of a multi-site provider organization. Many clients’ services were shifted within 1-2 weeks of the emergency orders; some were transitioned within days. While the modality of treatment offered clear benefits (i.e. continuity of care; provisioning of essential services without the risk of viral transmission), telehealth ABA has not been evaluated widely. Questions of efficacy are central to ethical compliance and provision of evidence-based, medically necessary treatment; therefore, clinical outcomes are urgently needed in order to determine whether funders will continue to adopt telehealth once the pandemic ends. This presenter will show an initial view of aggregated outcomes data, using pre- and post-assessment assessment change scores. The Vineland 3 is the primary measure of clinical outcomes in this presentation; the author will make recommendations for complementary measures to be used in future analysis.

Automating and Gamifying PEAK Programming and Delivery Through Telehealth
(Applied Research)
LINDSEY AUDREY MARIE DENNIS (Missouri State University), Leah Clarke (Pender Public School), raymond burke (Apex Regional Program), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University)
Abstract: School closures due to COVID-19 presented enormous challenges to staff and students as well as opportunities to innovate and automate behavior analytic technologies. As part of a large-scale collaboration, we developed and transported technologies used to automate discrete trial training with children with autism for remote delivery. First, we discuss the development and initial testing of an automated learning game similar to Whack-a-Mole that we used to augment existing PEAK programming. Results suggest that this strategy was successful in teaching new language and cognitive skills. Second, we will discuss how this technology was transferred to an online format leveraging interlocking social contingencies between the direct therapist and the learner. Successful results retained in this new format. Finally, we adapted the telehealth strategy to chain life skills using the PEAK Life curriculum and these strategies were combined within a Premack strategy with two learners with autism. Both showed mastery of the target vocational skills in this remote delivery format.



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