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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #302
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Advancements and Applications in Behavioral Skills Training
Sunday, May 28, 2017
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 2B
Area: PRA/AUT; Domain: Translational
Chair: Casey J. Clay (University of Missouri)
Discussant: Russell Lang (Texas State University-San Marcos)
CE Instructor: Casey J. Clay, Ph.D.

Behavioral Skills Training (BST) procedures have been used to teach a variety of skills over the last 30 years. Novel applications continue to be developed to increase mastery of necessary life skills for individuals with and without disabilities. To our knowledge, to date, there has not been a review conducted on studies that have focused on BST. This symposium includes a presentation of a literature review conducted on studies that have focused on BST, as well as three novel applications of BST involving individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). These applications include social and job skills, water safety, and teaching skills. All applications of BST were successful in teaching new skills to the participants. Generalization and Maintenance data were also present in the data-based studies. Attendees will leave with a comprehensive understanding of BST, as well as considerations of in situ training, generalization, and maintenance. Results from all studies and future directions of BST will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): BST, generalization, literature review, skills training

A Review of Behavioral Skills Training: Identifying Effective Practices and Procedures

(Applied Research)
Casey J. Clay (University of Missouri), Anne Clohisy (Doyle) (Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders), COURTNEY JORGENSON (University of Missouri), Juliana Hoyos (University of Missouri), SungWoo Kahng (University of Missouri)

Behavioral skills training has been the intervention of choice by many behavior analysts for teaching a multitude of skills (e.g., safety skills, leisure skills, teaching skills) across a variety of populations (e.g., teachers, children with disabilities, parents). Examples of behavioral skills training vary, but procedures typically involve instruction, modeling, rehearsal, and feedback components. To our knowledge a review of behavioral skills training has not been completed. In the current paper we searched for all applied examples of behavioral skills training published in peer-reviewed journals. We reviewed 27 studies to summarize key features and identify effective variables of behavioral skills training. We discuss areas of future research needed to create a systematic knowledge of behavioral skills training, and suggest best practice guidelines for professionals.

Evaluating the Performance Diagnostic Checklist-Human Services to Assess Incorrect Error Correction Procedures by Preschool Paraprofessionals
(Applied Research)
TYRA P. SELLERS (Utah State University), Melissa Bowe (Utah State University)
Abstract: The Performance Diagnostic Checklist-Human Services (PDC-HS) has been used to assess contributing variables related to undesirable staff performance. In this study, three preschool teachers completed the Performance Diagnostic Checklist-Human Services to identify the factors contributing to four paraprofessionals’ inaccurate implementation of error correction during discrete trial teaching sessions with preschooler with autism. The Performance Diagnostic Checklist-Human Services indicated insufficient training as a barrier, with Behavioral Skills Training (BST) as the matched intervention. We first implemented a non-indicated intervention (posting reminders), which was ineffective at producing mastery. We then implemented the indicated Behavioral Skills Training intervention which resulted in mastery for all participants. Social validity data indicated that the Performance Diagnostic Checklist-Human Services was an acceptable tool for use in addressing staff performance issues.

Increasing Job Skills With Behavioral Skills Training and Self-Monitoring

(Applied Research)
FRANCESCA RANDLE (Briar Cliff University ), Stephanie A. Hood (Briar Cliff University ), Atalie Arnold (Umo Ho Nation Schools)

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) often require explicit teaching to master a variety of social and job related skills. Previous research has demonstrated the effectiveness of self-monitoring (e.g., prompting and providing feedback regarding ones own behaviors) to teaching individuals with developmental disabilities a variety of skills, including job skills (Connis, 1979), mathematics (Dunlap & Dunlap, 1989), daily living skills (Pierce & Schreibman, 1994), and social-reciprocity skills (Apple, Billingsley, & Schwartz, 2005). The current study used behavioral skills training (BST; Leaf et al., 2009; Miltenberger et al., 2004) and self-monitoring procedures to teach job skills to an individual with high-functioning ASD. A multiple-baseline design across responses was used to demonstrate experimental control over the effects of BST and self-monitoring. Following the removal of all teacher procedures except feedback, high levels of all social and job skills were observed (e.g., skills required for a grocery bagger position; introducing oneself to strangers, providing customer service, and bagging groceries). Additionally, following teaching sessions at a university clinic, moderate levels of stimulus generalization were observed at a local grocery store. We thinned the schedule of feedback to maintain high levels of responding equal or above typical coworker performance and to promote maintenance when the therapist was not present.


Teaching Water Safety Skills to Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder Using Behavioral Skills Training

(Applied Research)
MARILYSE TUCKER (University of North Texas), Einar T. Ingvarsson (University of North Texas)

A number of studies have evaluated behavioral skills training (BST) to teach various safety skills to individuals with developmental disabilities. However, drowning prevention and water safety skills have not received much attention from researchers. A large proportion of deaths resulting from eloping or wandering in individuals with ASD are caused by drowning. Eloping and wandering is a common problem with this population, and remains one of the most pressing concerns of many families. The current study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of in-situ BST to teach water safety skills to three children with autism. The initial intervention was total task presentation using verbal instructions, modeling, rehearsal, and feedback. If needed, individual skills components were taught separately. Results showed that in-situ BST was effective in teaching three different skills to all three participants. Two participants needed individual component teaching for one or two of the skills. One-week and one-month maintenance probes revealed that the skills maintained after teaching. Overall, the findings suggest that BST is a viable method to teach potentially life-saving skills to individuals with autism, but certain prerequisite skills may be necessary.




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