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 #31
Training Teachers to Use Evidence-Based Practices for Autism or Evidence-Based Practices for Autism in Schools
Saturday, May 28, 2022
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Meeting Level 2; Room 258A
Area: AUT/CSS; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Katie Alvarez (University of Oregon)
Discussant: Christine Drew (Auburn University)

Evidence-based practices (EBPs) for individuals with autism were largely rooted in the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA). Implementation of EBPs has consistently led to significant improvements for individuals with autism. However, studies on teacher-implemented EBPs are limited, and most teachers still conduct classroom practices with minimal empirical support. Dissemination and adoption of EBPs in school settings encountered various barriers including lack of socially valid interventions and lack of knowledge and training in ABA. There is a pressing need to develop EBPs that fit with the school context and identify specific support areas among teachers, as well as develop effective professional development to improve their use of EBPs. The first presentation explores the efficacy of a professional development series in a sample of 200 special educators. The second presentation examines whether a class-wide function-related intervention leads to an increase in on-task behavior among three students with autism. The third presentation focuses on understanding familiarity with function-based interventions and its relationship with confidence and self-report use of interventions among 80 special educators. The fourth presentation investigates the efficacy of Project ABA TEACHER, which aims to help special education teachers become BCBAs and incorporate ABA into their teaching practices and classroom management.

Instruction Level: Basic
Effects of Professional Development on Educators’ Knowledge and Use of Behavior Analytic Interventions
JULIA M HRABAL (Baylor University), Tonya Nichole Davis (Baylor University), Stephanie Gerow (Baylor University), Tracey Sulak (Baylor University), Katie Hine (Baylor University), MacKenzie Raye Wicker (Baylor University), Providence Lively (Baylor University), Kailah Hall (Baylor University)
Abstract: Special educators are required by law to implement evidence-based practices for students with autism, most of which are rooted in the concepts and principles of applied behavior analysis. Yet, special education teachers are largely unfamiliar with evidence-based practices for autism (Silveira-Zaldivar & Curtis; 2019); which explains why evidence-based practices are rarely implemented for students with autism in public schools (Locke et al., 2016; Stahmer et al., 2015). We conducted a three-phase professional development series with 200 special educators. The first phase was a 16-hour synchronous workshop, the second phase was 17 hours of self-paced online video modules, and the third phase consisted of 12 hours of small-group consultation. We evaluated the effects of the professional development series using four measures: (a) a multiple-choice knowledge test, (b) survey indicating the educators’ use of evidence-based practices in the classroom, (c) the Autism Self-efficacy Scale for Teachers (ASSET), and (d) the Maslach Burnout Inventory for Educators. Data were collected prior to enrollment in the professional development series and at the completion of each of the three phases of the series. Data indicate participation in the full professional development series results in an increase in knowledge and use of evidence-based practices. Additional outcomes, implications for practice, and recommendations for future research will be discussed.

Examining the Efficacy of CW-FIT in a General Education Setting for Three Students With Autism

JOHN AUGUSTINE (Purdue University), Mary Ortman (Burrell Behavioral Health), Rose A. Mason (Purdue University), Linda G. Garrison-Kane (Missouri State University), Taylor Janota (Emergent Learning Center LLC)

Class-wide behavior management strategies can be utilized to decrease problem behavior and increase on-task behavior maximizing student engagement, achievement, and social competence (Sugai, 2011). One limitation of these strategies, however, is that most do not include more intensive, tertiary, supports to facilitated inclusion of students with more intensive needs, including those with autism spectrum disorders. However, class-wide function-related intervention teams (CW-FIT), a class-wide intervention, includes classroom behavior instruction, positive, reinforcement, and an interdependent group contingency as well as embedded individualized support (Wills et al., 2014). Three ABAB (Kazdin, 2011) single-subject design studies were implemented to evaluate the efficacy of CW-FIT for increasing the on-task behavior of three middle school students with autism spectrum disorders in an inclusive classroom. Results yielded immediate increases in on-task behavior for all three participants. Further, social validity assessments indicated positive results from peer models, participants, and teachers. Implications for future research and practice will be discussed.


Teacher Familiarity, Confidence, and Use of Function-Based Interventions With Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder in Schools

LAURA C. CHEZAN (Old Dominion University), Meka McCammon (University of South Florida), Katie Wolfe (University of South Carolina), Erik Drasgow (University of South Carolina)

The importance of using function-based interventions (FBIs) to address problem behavior in students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been highlighted in the literature. We conducted a survey of 80 special education teachers working with students with ASD in two southeastern states in the United States. Our purpose in this study was to analyze the relationship between teachers’ level of familiarity and confidence with FBIs and their frequency of use in schools. First, we used descriptive statistics to calculate teachers’ familiarity, confidence, and use of 35 FBIs. Second, we assigned rankings to each FBI from the highest percentage of respondents indicating agreement with being familiar and confident in using FBIs to the lowest percentage. Third, we used Spearman rank-order correlations to determine the association among familiarity, confidence, and use of FBIs. Results indicated that prompting, environmental modifications, modifications to instructional delivery, and continuous reinforcement were ranked highest, and mand training and discrete-trial functional analysis were ranked lowest. All rank order correlations were positive and significant, suggesting that teachers are more likely to use FBIs they are familiar with (? = .891, p < .001***) and are confident in implementing (? = .933, p < .001***). Implications for researchers and practitioners are discussed.

A Proposed Method for Supporting Special Education Teachers in Becoming Board Certified Behavior Analysts
MARIE KIRKPATRICK (University of Texas at San Antonio), Leslie Neely (The University of Texas at San Antonio), Hannah Lynn MacNaul (University of Texas at San Antonio), Katherine Cantrell (University of Texas at San Antonio)
Abstract: There is a widespread lack of access to applied behavior analytic (ABA) based education for children with autism in San Antonio. This is due in part to a lack of availability of Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) professionals who can provide the required supervision to teachers seeking to incorporate ABA into their practices. The goal of Project ABA TEACHER is to address this systemic problem by helping special education teachers become BCBAs and incorporate ABA into their teaching practices and classroom management. The Project ABA TEACHER supervision plan provides participants with weekly supervision meetings with a BCBA or BCBA-D via telehealth, curriculum targeting implementing ABA in the classroom, and an intensive summer experiential learning placement in a hybrid classroom-clinic environment. The effectiveness of this program is measured by BCBA certification attainment, supervision hours earned, and perceived quality and social validity of the supervision. Participants include 9 public-school special education teachers who hold a master’s degree or are currently in a master’s program. Data is still being collected, but results indicate that participants are collecting sufficient supervision hours, implementing ABA and evidence-based interventions in their classroom with fidelity over 90%, and have rated their supervision experience as “excellent” or “very good”.



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