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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #163
CE Offered: BACB
Variables That Influence Caregiver and Staff Training
Sunday, May 24, 2015
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
206AB (CC)
Area: TBA/CSE; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Caitlin H. Delfs (Marcus Autism Center)
Discussant: Jeffrey H. Tiger (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
CE Instructor: Caitlin H. Delfs, Ph.D.

One barrier to children receiving empirically supported treatments is the lack of community based practitioners trained to acceptable levels of fidelity. Effective interventions often have to be administered by knowledgeable clinicians with a specific educational background and clinical experiences. Training parents, teachers, and other caregivers is one solution to overcome the barriers associated with accessing quality interventions from specialists. This symposium includes four papers on methods for training others and includes some common barriers (e.g., caregiver stress, problem behavior) and interventions characteristic to working with a specialized population (e.g., self-care, braille reading). Specifically, Subramaniam and colleagues examined the extent to which challenging behavior impacted parents adherence to a distance learning package. Connolly, Baker, Robinson, and Delfs evaluated the relationship between caregiver stress, maladaptive behavior, and acquisition of material in the context of a live behavioral parent training model. Rubow and Vollmer employed a parent mediated, behavioral skills training package to increase self-care skills. Putnam and Tiger assessed the utility of a computer program to train braille-to-print relations and the effect on visual-braille reading, a foundational skill for educators working with children with visual impairments.

Keyword(s): caregiver training, community interventions, staff training

Predictors or Rural Parents: Adherence to a Distance-Learning Training Package

Shrinidhi Subramaniam (West Virginia University), LASHANNA BRUNSON (West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities), Claire C. St. Peter (West Virginia University), James E. Cook (West Virginia University CED), Nicholas Larson (Center for Excellence in Disabilities), Susannah Poe (West Virginia University)

Rural parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may lack access to behavior-analytic services. One cost-effective method by which therapists can address this barrier is to provide parents with remote supervision. We provided 51 rural parents of children with ASD with either written or video training materials about how to implement discrete-trial training (DTT). We instructed parents to record DTT sessions and mail the memory cards to trainers using pre-stamped and addressed envelopes. Trainers provided parents with written or video-based remote supervision following a baseline assessment of treatment integrity. Of the parents who received training materials, only 28 mailed at least one DTT session. We characterized patterns of adherence using slopes obtained through least-squares linear regression and examined the extent to which challenging behavior (e.g., loud vocals, property destruction, aggression) in the first recorded session predicted patterns of adherence. We found that first-session challenging behavior predicted a decline in treatment adherence. Therapists using distance-learning training procedures might consider taking an active coaching role in assisting parents with challenging behavior prior to training academic programs.

Parental Stress and Perceptions of Problem Behavior Following a Behavioral Parent Training Model for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
SARAH CONNOLLY (Ball State University), Ashley Baker (Marcus Autism Center), Hannah Robinson (Children's Healthcare of Atlanta), Caitlin H. Delfs (Marcus Autism Center)
Abstract: Parents of children with developmental disabilities are likely to experience elevated levels of stress associated with raising a child with special needs (Hutton & Caron, 2005). Additionally, disruptive, problematic, or atypical behaviors, which are often characteristic of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is among the most salient contributors of parental stress (Benson, 2006). Given the evident relationship between problem behavior and increased parental stress, service providers may seek to equip parents to implement behavioral treatments aimed to decrease difficult behaviors (Dillenburger, Keenan, Gallagher, & McElhinney, 2002). Participants in the current study were provided with behavioral parent training (BPT) based on principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA). Preliminary analyses included 220 parent-child dyads who participated in a 12-week BPT program. The primary dependent measures included in the current study were pre- and post-assessments of parent skills, parent reports of maladaptive behavior as measured by the Scales of Independent Behavior-Revised, and caregiver stress as measured by the Parent Stress Index questionnaire. Descriptive statistics will be used to present demographic information of the participants (e.g., age, diagnosis, gender). Inferential statistics will be used to examine the statistical significance in change scores in parental stress and perceptions of problem behavior following participation in a BPT program.
Teaching Parents to Implement Least-to-Most Procedures for Self-Care Skills
CHRISTOPHER RUBOW (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)
Abstract: Individuals with autism spectrum disorders often display deficits in self-care skills. These self-care skills are commonly targeted for intervention in clinical and school settings by trained specialists; however, the same skills may not be targeted for intervention in the individual’s home environment. Because continually practicing self-care skills across multiple settings plays a critical role in whether these skills maintain across time and generalize across settings, we developed a behavioral skills training package for the caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorders. In this study, the parent (father) was first taught to implement a prompting procedure for skills behavior analysts had previously taught to his child. Next, the parent was asked to implement the procedure on a skill the child had not yet learned. To date, one caregiver has successfully used our procedures to practice both familiar and novel self-care skills with one participant. In addition, the participant (child) acquired the novel skill under the tutelage of his parent and no intervention from the behavior analyst.
Teaching Braille Letters, Numbers, Punctuation, and Contractions to Sighted Individuals
BRITTANY CATHERINE PUTNAM (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Jeffrey H. Tiger (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Abstract: The dearth of qualified braille instructors is a pressing problem for those charged with the education of children with visual impairments. Developing a rapid means to train general educators to teach braille may partially address this deficit. Braille-character recognition and reading are some of the foundational required skills for these teachers. Prior research has evaluated computer programming for teaching braille-to-print letter relations (e.g., Scheithauer & Tiger, 2012). In the current study, we developed a computer program (the Visual Braille Trainer, or VBT) to teach not only braille letters but also numbers, punctuation, symbols, and contractions for common words and letter combinations; we evaluated this program with 4 sighted undergraduate participants who had no prior exposure to the braille code. We conducted this study in a multiple probe design across training modules. Exposure to this program resulted in mastery of all braille-to-print relations for each participant immediately following training. We also assessed long-term maintenance of correct responding on trained relations and the effects of training on visual-braille reading.



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