Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis InternationalĀ® (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.


49th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2023

Event Details

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Symposium #220
CE Offered: BACB — 
Structured, Supportive, and Competency-Based Approaches to the Supervision of Behavior Analytic Trainees
Sunday, May 28, 2023
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Convention Center 401/402
Area: TBA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Janice Frederick (The ABRITE Organization)
CE Instructor: Janice Frederick, Ph.D.

Over the last 15 years, the field of behavior analysis has experienced accelerated and unprecedented growth with the Behavior Analysis Certification Board® (BACB®) reporting that less than half of its certificants have been credentialed for more than 5 years. There are many implications for these data including that an increasing number of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) are taking on the role of supervisor for those individuals seeking a credential. Both the roles of supervisor and supervisee can be challenging particularly in the presence of formal guidance and a literature base related to behavior analytic supervision that is growing in detail and volume but remains lean. The current symposium examines competency-based models for supervision of behavior analytic trainees and offers considerations and tools for supervisors and supervisees that may support their success in their respective roles. A primary purpose of the symposium is to encourage those that function as supervisors to participate in dissemination and empirical analyses of their supervision practices. The presentations will include detailed descriptions of supervision processes and resources, competency-based assessments, and measures of supervision quality.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Individuals who hold or pursuing a credential in behavior analysis

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the symposium, participants will be able to: (1) describe components of a competency-based model of behavior analytic supervision, (2) detail methods for measuring content mastery by behavior analytic trainees and (3) describe an evidence-based coaching process designed to improve the performance of supervisees.

A Competency-Based Model for the Provision of Supervision to Aspiring Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs)

MATTHEW CHRISTOPHER PETERSON (The ABRITE Organization; Brite Horizons), Janice Frederick (The ABRITE Organization)

Currently, there are 4 different pathways to Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) certification, all of which require between 1500 and 2000 hours of practical fieldwork in applied behavior analysis. Rapid growth in our field has resulted in an increasing number of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) providing supervision to future applicants. Sellers, Valentino, Landon & Aiello (2019) distributed a survey on current supervisory practices and barriers to effective supervision. One identified area of improvement relates to using a structured system to track trainees’ mastery of skills with a specific focus on competency-based training. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.® has built out requirements related to the nature of supervision, content of supervision, acceptable activities for supervision, tracking supervision, and the supervisor-supervisee relationship, but there are not yet requirements for assessing mastery of content covered during supervision. The current paper summarizes the evolution of the model of supervision within a clinical organization and provides detailed descriptions of its components including curriculum sequence, format for group supervision meetings, terminology and practical-based competencies, self-assessment on learning outcomes related to the BCBA task list items, check-in meetings, regular evaluation of the supervisory relationship, and opportunities for individual and group supervision. Methods used to support and measure learning outcomes, supervisee self-assessment on content mastery, quality of supervisor-supervisee relationships, and performance of the supervisor will also be reviewed.


Decreasing Burn Out in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Supervision: How Mock Exams and Banked Resources Can Increase Supervisor Satisfaction, Supervision Quality, and Supervision Consistency

CAS BREAUX (Central Reach)

In applied behavior analysis, supervision responsibilities are often combined with an active case load, management, and other responsibilities. In organizations without formal supervision models and banked resources, supervisors are responsible for assessment, training deficit competencies, and ensuring quality services are delivered by their trainees. In many organizations, supervisors are additionally responsible for their own supervision process and resources, making supervision quality inconsistent, even within the same organization. The use of competency assessments in supervision is also limited, due in part to the time-consuming nature of creating and updating questions that are similar to those on certification exams. Assessments designed to identify deficits within and across items listed on the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®) 5th ed. task-list are then less likely to be used in supervision. Similarly, the time required to create and maintain a bank of supervision resources for task-list items can limit the quality of supervision offered, especially when additional resources are needed to address trainee deficits in within and across task-list items. This manuscript will explore increasing supervisor satisfaction and increasing supervision quality and consistency across organizations, using partial mock exams for competency assessment and banked supervision resources.


Maximize Supervision Impact With Accomplishment-Based Coaching

SHANE ISLEY (Performance Thinking Network)

In most Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) treatment programs using a tiered-service delivery model, behavior analysts are responsible for providing ongoing supervision of assistant behavior analysts and behavior technicians. This type of supervision aims to enable each supervisee to produce valuable contributions (e.g., positive, therapeutic relationships, clients who meet frequency aims on instructional programs) that help the organization improve service quality and client progress while strengthening employee engagement. Clinical supervisors (i.e., Board Certified Behavior Analysts® who oversee supervisees in ABA organizations) typically learn what is expected of them as supervisors in graduate school, supervised fieldwork, and the required Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®) 8-hour supervision training program. However, they often do not learn how to improve the performance and engagement of employees through coaching and evidenced-based management practices. In this presentation, we will provide an overview of a coaching process that clinical supervisors can employ to help them manage individuals and teams while continuously improving the quality of services delivered by their supervisees. Influenced by Thomas Gilbert and other thought leaders in Human Performance Technology, this accomplishment-based coaching process helps supervisors sharpen their focus on improving the valuable contributions of those they manage and optimize conditions to ensure that they produce the accomplishments as expected.




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