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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #36
CE Offered: BACB
Improving Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices for Students With Autism in School Settings
Saturday, May 28, 2022
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Meeting Level 2; Room 205A
Area: EDC/AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Evy Boateng (University of Illinois at Chicago )
Discussant: Jeffrey Chan (Northern Illinois University)
CE Instructor: Jeffrey Chan, M.A.

An evidence-based practice (EBP) is a strategy, intervention, or practice that has been shown through rigorous research to be effective (Iris Center, 2010). Children with autism often benefit from the implementation of EBP. Peer-mediated interventions (PMI), pyramidal training and inclusive practices have been identified to be effective in improving students’ outcomes. A teacher's self-efficacy is likely to play an important role in whether they demonstrated persistence in using EBP to meet students’ goals. The following studies exemplify why improving the implementation of EBPs are important for children with autism in a school setting. This symposium begins with a study demonstrating the use of program evaluations to identify barriers to implementation of inclusive practices. Next, we present a systematic review of pyramidal training literature to identify strengths and gaps in the literature. Then we present a study on self-efficacy which is associated with meeting expectations. Finally, we end with a literature review of PMI to promote further research.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Evidence-Based, Special Education
Target Audience:

Participate should have a basic understanding of behavior analytic interventions and an understanding of the special education system.

Learning Objectives: (1) Describe the importance of evidence-based practice to support inclusion for children with autism in the school setting.; (2) List a few evidence-based practices for children with autism in school settings.; (3) Recite strengths and gaps within the literature surrounding evidence-based practices.
Program Evaluation of Special Education Programming in a Public Elementary School
Jasmine Begeske (Purdue University), Eric Shannon (Purdue University), AMANDA M AUSTIN BOROSH (Purdue University), Jingyuan Zhang (Purdue University), Mehmet Sulu (Purdue University), Suneeta Kercood (Butler University), Rose A. Mason (Purdue University)
Abstract: Implementation of inclusive practices in schools is important for improving educational, social, and behavioral outcomes for students with autism and other disabilities (SWDs), however, the execution and maintenance of these practices relies on contextual variables at the organizational level. Using a participatory action research framework, we conducted a program evaluation of special education services in a public elementary school to identify strengths and barriers to implementation of inclusive practices for SWDs. This mixed methods study gathered data by way of semi-structured interviews with special education service providers (SESPs; n = 7) and a survey of general education teachers (GETs; n = 23) and SESPs (n = 10). Qualitative data revealed strengths in special education team collaboration, and access to financial and tangible resources for SWDs. These data also uncovered systemic organizational barriers including very large caseloads, lack of training in evidence-based behavioral and co-teaching strategies, frequent paraprofessional turnover, and lack of scheduled time for collaboration between GETs and SESPs. Quantitative analyses identified significant philosophical discrepancies between GETs and SESPs, especially around inclusion of SWDs who exhibit challenging behavior. The utility and importance of using program evaluations to identify organizational barriers that impact service delivery for SWDs will be discussed.
Use of Pyramidal Training in Schools: A Systematic Review
Rachel García (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), REBECCA ANNE RECEVEUR (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: Pyramidal training uses an expert to provide training to an individual or small group (Tier 1) who then go on to train other individuals or small groups (Tier 2) to implement the training protocol with a student (Tier 3; Parsons et al., 2013). Schools may benefit from pyramidal training given the need for high fidelity implementation of evidence-based practices balanced with cost- and time-efficient training for teachers and staff. As such, a systematic review of pyramidal training in schools was conducted. Nine studies were identified for inclusion and were summarized based on Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 characteristics, treatment integrity and outcome measures, and social validity. Results indicated the train-the-trainer model was effective in training general education teachers, special education teachers, administrators, and paraprofessionals to implement behavior analytic assessments and interventions with students. Few studies evaluated social validity, generalization, or maintenance, however those that did identified positive results. Implications for practitioners and areas for future research will be discussed.

Special Educators Self-Efficacy in Implementing Evidence-Based Practices for Students With Autism

MACKENZIE RAYE WICKER (Baylor University), Julia M Hrabal (Baylor University), Tonya Nichole Davis (Baylor University), Stephanie Gerow (Baylor University), Tracey Sulak (Baylor University), Providence Lively (Baylor University), Kailah Hall (Baylor University), Katie Hine (Baylor University)

Self-efficacy refers to an individual’s perceived ability to accomplish specific expectations. Research indicates that individuals with higher self-efficacy are more likely to demonstrate persistent behaviors associated with meeting expectations. We administered the Autism Self-Efficacy Scale for Teachers (ASSET; Ruble et al., 2013) via a Qualtrics survey to 300 educators who teach students with autism in Texas. Educators were recruited via email and were asked to respond to 30 items describing common responsibilities of teachers of students with autism. The educators responded to each item on a scale of 0 – 100, with the following anchors: 0 = cannot do at all, 50 = moderately can do, 100 = highly certain can do. The mean self-efficacy across all items was 70.0, however individual responding varied across items, ranging 83 – 100 point spread between highest and lowest scores. Special educators need additional support to ensure they are confident in their abilities to implement evidence-based practices with students with autism. The purpose of this study was to determine Texas educator’s self-efficacy relating to teaching students with autism.


Evaluating Implementation Fidelity of Peer-Mediated Interventions to Enhance Social Communication: A Systematic and Quality Review

HANNAH CROSLEY (Purdue University), Amanda M Austin Borosh (Purdue University), Rose A. Mason (Purdue University), Christopher Santos (Purdue University), Dylan Nicholls (Purdue University), Sierra Allen (Purdue University)

Peer-mediated intervention (PMI) is an evidence-based practice that utilizes one or more peers to provide ongoing and individualized support to their neurodivergent classmates through the implementation of instructional programs, behavioral strategies, and the facilitation of social interactions. There is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates efficacy and social validity within inclusive middle and high school classrooms utilizing PMIs. However, limited attention has focused on collecting data on the peer partners’ implementation fidelity. This systematic and quality review identified single-case studies addressing PMIs implemented at the secondary level (i.e., grades 6-12) to support students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), ASD with co-occurring conditions, and intellectual disabilities (ID). Of the 25 PMI studies we identified, 19 studies met What Works Clearinghouse quality standards for single-case research. Among the 19 studies included in the current review, four studies (21%) assessed the peer partner’s implementation fidelity during the intervention. This review provides recommendations for research and practice aimed at identifying strengths and gaps in the literature base related to implementation fidelity of PMIs in secondary schools.




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