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.


11th International Conference; Dublin, Ireland; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #85
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Parents as Important Stakeholders in Applied Behavior Analysis Service Delivery
Saturday, September 3, 2022
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Meeting Level 1; Liffey Meeting 2
Area: DDA/CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jessica L Becraft (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Discussant: John C. Borrero (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
CE Instructor: John C. Borrero, Ph.D.

Although the science of behavior can apply to all human behavior, children are the most common recipients of applied behavior analysis (ABA) interventions and services. To that end, parents of children that receive ABA services are also critical stakeholders because they are typically responsible for (a) initiating services, (b) serving as change agents throughout and following the intervention, and (c) paying for services. In this symposium, we will take a behavioral approach to understanding parent behavior in ABA service delivery. First, we conducted a scoping review of parent involvement in ABA research. Second, we evaluated parent preference for graphs displaying assessment and treatment results for their child. Third, we compared a function-based parent training treatment for child problem behavior delivered in a standard outpatient to an intensive format. Fourth, we taught parents safe-sleep practices for infants using a behavioral skills training approach. Together, these studies model how to incorporate parents in ABA service delivery.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): BST, parent training, parents, service delivery
Target Audience:

Researchers and practitioners in applied behavior analysis; Most appropriate for BCBA or BCBA-D

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Understand the importance of parents in applied behavior analysis service delivery (2) Identify areas where parents can be included in behavior analytic research and practice (3) Give specific examples of what parent involvement looks like in behavior analytic research
Parental Involvement in Applied Behavior Analytic Research: A Scoping Review and Discussion
JESSICA L BECRAFT (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Samantha Hardesty (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Lesley A. Shawler (Southern Illinois University), Matthew L. Edelstein (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Kissel Joseph Goldman (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Parents are often a critical element in applied behavior analysis (ABA) service delivery that focuses on children. Parents initiate services, they are often the primary change agents, they are responsible for paying for services, and their satisfaction with service determines which professions eventually prevail. We conducted a scoping review of ABA studies published from 2011-2021 that included children as participants and characterized the role of parent involvement into the following categories: input, training, implementation, social validity, parent behavior, parent-collected data, and implications for parenting. Nearly all studies discussed implications for parenting. Parent input was included in about 40% of studies, but all other parent involvement categories were rarely included, suggesting key parent-related variables are underrepresented in ABA research and, thus, not well understood. Informed by these results, we discuss considerations for including parents and new avenues of research related to parents’ treatment objectives, treatment implementers, parent-collected data, and clinical endpoints.
An Evaluation of Caregiver Preference for Graphic Depiction of Data
SAMANTHA HARDESTY (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Brittney Workman (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Melanie Elaine Parks (University of Florida), Jessica L Becraft (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Lesley A. Shawler (Southern Illinois University), Natalie Toups (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Lynn G. Bowman (Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Abstract: During applied behavior analytic (ABA) services, caregivers are often provided feedback about their child’s progress. Graphic feedback may commonly be used, but there is minimal research on what characteristics make feedback more effective, or what consumers prefer (Sigurdsson & Ring, 2013; Hardesty et al., 2019). The current study extends research by Hardesty et al. 2019 to determine if caregivers have a preference for how assessment and treatment results are displayed graphically. Participants included caregivers from inpatient (IP) and outpatient (OP) settings, whose children received ABA services within the same organization. Caregivers were presented with three sets of graphs followed by a questionnaire to assess preference and comprehension. Graphs included bar and line time series, average bar, and colored and monochromatic. Caregivers could also indicate a preference to not view graphs. All respondents indicated they wanted to be shown data graphically. Most caregivers also reported that providers regularly shared data graphically (70% of families were previously shown graphs within the organization and 75% outside the organization). On average, 54% of IP and OP caregivers selected line over bar graphs, and 77% preferred colored over monochromatic graphs. Implications for behavior analysts and best practices for sharing data with caregivers will be discussed.

Examining the Impact of Treatment Dosage on a Function-Based Parent Training Program to Treat Child Behavior Problems

MATTHEW L. EDELSTEIN (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Jessica L Becraft (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Joshua Mellott (Kennedy Krieger Institute)

Behavioral Parent Training (BPT) programs are effective interventions to address early childhood behavior problems, but face criticism due to high attrition and their reliance on parent report measures as their primary dependent variables. Study 1 examines the outcome of an intensive behavior treatment program (120 minute sessions for 5 days/week over the course of 2 weeks) designed to teach caregivers to increase children’s frustration tolerance via a function-based intervention procedure. Using the same treatment procedure, Study 2 compares outcomes between families who received the intensive service (n=25) vs. more traditional outpatient treatment dosage (n=25; occurring biweekly for 50 minutes per appointment). Both studies used a changing criterion single case experimental design to demonstrate functional control of the intervention over target behavior. Using both direct observation and standardized measures, early results indicate that while both treatment dosages were effective in reducing childhood behavior problems, the treatment as usual dosage resulted in higher rates of attrition and lower reports of between-session practice. Overall, preliminary evidence suggests that a condensed treatment package designed to train caregivers in function-based intervention may be preferable to reduce barriers associated with Behavioral Parent Training programs.

Safe to Sleep: Community-Based Caregiver Training
LAUREN K. SCHNELL (Hunter College), Jason C. Vladescu (Caldwell University), Jessica Day-Watkins (Drexel University), Jacqueline Mery (Caldwell University)
Abstract: Annually, thousands of infant deaths are classified as sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUIDs). In an effort to reduce the risk of SUIDs, the American Academy of Pediatrics has made a number of recommendations to educate caregivers, childcare providers, and healthcare professionals on safe infant sleep practices. The purpose of the current study was to extend the literature on safe infant sleep practices by teaching caregivers to arrange safe infant sleep environments using a mannequin and common infant items. We partnered with community-based agencies to evaluate the effectiveness of behavioral skills training delivered in a single-training session as part of the ongoing pre- or post- natal care these agencies provided. Following training, all participants demonstrated a substantial change in responding and returned favorable social validity ratings. We discuss these outcomes in light of previous studies, limitations, and future directions.



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