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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Poster Session #458
Monday, May 29, 2017
12:00 PM–3:00 PM
Convention Center, Exhibit Hall D
Chair: Douglas Robertson (Florida International University)
81. The Effects of Negative Reinforcement on Clinical Data Collection
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
JOANNA FOUNTAIN (Melmark New England), Jessica Buckley (Melmark New England), Samuel Meuse (Melmark New England)
Discussant: Jessica J. Alverson (Hopeful Journeys Educational Center, Inc. and Simmons College)
Abstract: Clinical data are used to determine treatment effects on student behavior. Without accurate clinical data, effective clinical changes cannot be made. Thus, collection and recording of clinical data is a critical component of human service staff job performance. Previous research has shown that negative reinforcement can be effective when implemented to increase staff performance (DiGernnaro, Martens, & McIntyre, 2005). In the current study, a multiple baseline design was used to assess the effects of negative reinforcement on staff performance in recording clinical data, within a residential program. Staff were expected to collect clinical data each hour and record all data within ten minutes of the hours end. Data were collected on successful recording of three staff members at the end of each hour and a daily percentage of successful data recorded was calculated. Following baseline data collection, one weekly job task was removed from the staff member’s priority list contingent upon 100% of successful data recorded across 4 consecutive days. Results demonstrate that negative reinforcement increased performance on recording clinical data across all participants.
82. Identification and Termination of Staff In-Training
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
AMY LYNN VEENENDAAL (The Shape of Behavior), Domonique Y. Randall (The Shape of Behavior), Misty L. Goff (The Shape of Behavior), Nakeisha Vance (The Shape of Behavior)
Discussant: Jessica J. Alverson (Hopeful Journeys Educational Center, Inc. and Simmons College)
Abstract: Staff training, performance monitoring and retention is important, however, it is of interest to look at the ability to identify and dismiss staff members that are unable to demonstrate critical core skills. Identifying this deficit early rather than late in the training process is beneficial to all involved parties. Furthermore, despite competing contingencies it is important to create a culture whereby it is acceptable to terminate inefficient trainees. The researchers reviewed data of the average number of days to separation over four phase changes for in-training staff over the course of three and a half years. Participants included a group of 141 in-training staff. Phase changes included the addition of computer based modules, E-Learning portal, embedding of RBT Training, and a weekly new hire progress tool. The days to separation data displayed a decreasing trend with each new implementation. It is important to retain employees as well as streamline the training process to better identify individuals that are unable or unwilling to demonstrate critical core skills.
83. Increasing Staff Fluency through Dependent Group Contingencies and Behavioral Skills Training
Area: OBM; Domain: Service Delivery
PAIGE BOYDSTON (Milestones Behavioral and Therapy Services; Partners in Behavioral Milestones), Sarah Clemens (Milestones Behavioral and Therapy Services; Partners in Behavioral Milestones ), Tyler Re (Milestones Behavioral and Therapy Services; Partners in Behavioral Milestones)
Discussant: Jessica J. Alverson (Hopeful Journeys Educational Center, Inc. and Simmons College)
Abstract: Effective and efficient behavior analytic interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are in high demand given the continued increases in diagnoses of ASDs (CDC, 2014). However, adequately trained direct care providers and consultants are a necessary component of implementing any early intervention program (Behavior Analyst Certification Board, 2014). Behavior analysts are often the primary training source for direct care staff (Parsons, Rollyson & Reid, 2012). Behavioral change during employee training is enhanced by increased training time (Cole, 2008); however, given funding for autism treatment services, reimbursement for training time is not always feasible. Therefore, training times may need to be limited to when a client is present. Behavioral skills training is a well-established training tool (Parsons et al., 2012; Sarokoff & Sturmey, 2004) which can be imbedded into supervision of direct care staff within treatment sessions. Within center based programs, it is challenging to manage individual employees’ training goals when service providers work on multiple teams, and potentially for multiple behavior analysts. Training topics and data collection conducted with groups of employees may make increasing skill levels and fluency more practical. The use of group contingencies is an effective change agent for a variety of employee behavior (Cooper, Heron & Heward, 2007; Jung, Schneider & Valacich, 2010; Berkovits, Sturmey & Alvero, 2012; etc.). This study utilizes ongoing behavioral skills training within a dependent group contingency to increase the skill level and fluency of a group of direct service providers that work in a primarily clinic-based early intervention program.
84. Effects of Behavioral Skills Training on Interobserver Agreement Integrity
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
RENEE HARTZ (Melmark New England)
Discussant: Jessica J. Alverson (Hopeful Journeys Educational Center, Inc. and Simmons College)
Abstract: Since the results of interobserver agreement calculations are used to make important decisions, it is important that a protocol for data collection and comparison is properly followed when staff are gathering information for the purpose of assessing reliability through interobserver agreement. Management of staff behavior, and subsequent effects on student performance, have been documented in behavior analytic research within settings for students with intensive academic, behavioral, and clinical needs. A variety of evidence-based training strategies have emerged such as the use of in-service trainings, self-monitoring, public postings, group contingencies, etc. Our study compares more traditional training models with Behavioral Skills Training, a competency-based training model developed by Reid and Parsons. More specifically, the purpose of our study, therefore, was to answer these two experimental questions: What will happen to interobserver agreement integrity following traditional staff training (i.e. a memo)? What will happen to interobserver agreement integrity following competency-based Behavioral Skills Training? To summarize, we found that training did lead to an increase in integrity of interobserver agreement, and that more specifically BST was more effective then the more traditional training models used. Significant changes in the targeted performance skill were observed. In addition to identifying overall changes in performance, the specific data collection and analysis allowed experimenters to identify, and in turn remedy, specific error patterns within the chain.
85. The Use of Behavior Skills Training to Teach Paraprofessionals Discrete Trial Training
Area: OBM; Domain: Service Delivery
Ali Headley (Missouri State University), MICHAEL C. CLAYTON (Missouri State University)
Discussant: Jessica J. Alverson (Hopeful Journeys Educational Center, Inc. and Simmons College)
Abstract: Sarakoff & Sturmey (2004) used a behavioral skills training package to train three teachers in correct implementation of discrete trial training of children with autism. They showed that a brief, 10-minute procedure could effectively train staff and result in significantly improved performance. The current study replicated this previous work and extended it by 1) using participants without prior exposure to the method, 2) including treatment integrity data, and 3) testing for maintenance one month after training ended. The mean percentage of correct teaching responses for the three participants increased from 70%, 58%, and 66% during baseline to 97%, 96%, and 99%, respectively, following training. Results indicated that the training package was effective and the results were maintained 30 days later.
86. Do Supervisors Know Best? Examining the Differences in Responses by Employees on the Performance Diagnostic Checklist
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
Samantha Hardesty (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Julia Iannaccone (Kennedy Krieger Institute), MONICA URICH (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Lynn G. Bowman (Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Discussant: Jessica J. Alverson (Hopeful Journeys Educational Center, Inc. and Simmons College)
Abstract: The Performance Diagnostic Checklist (PDC) is a structured survey designed to pinpoint the variables associated with poor staff performance. These variables include (a) training, (b) task clarification and prompting, (c) resources, materials, and processes, and (d) performance consequences, effort and completion (Austin, 2000). According to the procedures of the PDC, administrators and those at a supervisory level should be interviewed. There are ample studies demonstrating the effectiveness of the PDC in identifying potential interventions (Pampino, Heering, Wilder, Barton, & Burson, 2008; Rodriguez et al., 2008); however, it is unclear whether or not the supervisor is the most optimal person to interview, as no research exists comparing employee responses on this survey. The purpose of the current study was twofold; to compare responses on the PDC across positions (i.e., administrators versus direct care staff members) and to identify problems associated with each target behavior (staff making pre-arranged schedule changes among colleagues, and procedures related to calling out for work). Five administrators and 12 direct care staff were asked to complete the survey for each dependent measure. Subsets of direct care staff were specifically questioned, and included those who rarely switched shifts and rarely called out, those who rarely switched shifts frequently called out, those who frequently switched shifts and rarely called out, and those who frequently switched shifts and frequently called out. Data were aggregated across administrators and direct care groups, as well as direct care staff sub-groups. Large discrepancies were found between the administrators and direct care staff data. Furthermore, differences were also found between direct care staff subgroups. These results suggest that it might be important to interview other employees, aside from just supervisors. This may not only ensure more comprehensive interventions, but better institutionalization and maintenance of interventions (Sigurdsson & Austin, 2010).
87. Increasing Pre-arranged Schedule Changes among Direct Care Staff: The Utility of an On-line Communication Site
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
JULIA IANNACCONE (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Samantha Hardesty (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Kyle Kelly (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Lynn G. Bowman (Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Discussant: Jessica J. Alverson (Hopeful Journeys Educational Center, Inc. and Simmons College)
Abstract: Absenteeism and unpredictable staffing changes is a pervasive problem in human service settings that has the potential to cause multiple organizational problems (i.e., turn-over, overtime costs)and client problems (i.e., lack of integrity in the implementation of behavioral plans). To reduce call-outs, some settings allow staff the option to switch/trade shifts with colleagues. The purpose of the current study was to minimize unplanned staffing changes by increasing the use of prearranged switching of shifts among direct care staff. A Performance Diagnostic Checklist - Human Services (PDC-HS; Carr, Wilder, Majdalany, Mathisen, and Strain, 2013) was conducted to assess the variables that affected whether or not staff made pre-arranged changes to schedules with colleagues. Results of the PDC-HS suggested that employees were not able to fully describe the process required to complete switches (i.e., the correct deadline for submitting paperwork); the task could not be performed quickly; it was effortful due to not being able to find others to easily switch with; and no visual aids or prompts were used to facilitate switches. An intervention which included the development of an on-line calendar and discussion board, designed to assist in staff communication, was evaluated in a multiple baseline design. Additionally, visual reminders with deadlines for paperwork were placed in the direct care staff’s break room. Dependent measures were the frequency of staff call-outs and staff switches across typical shifts and on-call shifts. Preliminary results suggested that the website was an easy and cost-effective strategy to increase staff switching of typical shifts. A substantial reduction in callouts was also observed. This intervention was also associated with a high degree of staff acceptability.
88. Effects of Independent Group Contingency of On-Time Submission With Timesheets
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
JACQUE WISWELL (Sierra Madre Learning Center Total Programs), Agustin Jimenez (Sierra Madre Learning Center Total Programs), Rakhi Bhowmick (Sierra Madre Learning Center Total Programs), Sean Surfas (Sierra Madre Learning Center Total Programs)
Discussant: Jessica J. Alverson (Hopeful Journeys Educational Center, Inc. and Simmons College)
Abstract: Direct care staff have a wide range of responsibilities when assigned to work with individuals with developmental disabilities, including submission of service verification forms. Group contingencies are reinforcement based strategies impacting behavior change of a large group, which can be administered efficiently to address and solve problems in an organizational setting (Marholin & Gray, 1976). A prior study found that a lottery-based financial incentive and public posting helped improve staff attendance (Luiselli et al., 2009). Direct care staff (N = 30) from a service based organization, separated into three groups, were participants for the current study. The dependent measure included percent of staff timesheets submitted on-time. A multielement design was used to measure the effects of the independent group contingency on submission. Group 3 received an extended baseline while the two remaining groups were entered into a Lottery Raffle or Public Posting. The Lottery Raffle (group 1) demonstrated some improvements compared to baseline; however, the Public Posting (group 2) demonstrated greater performance in timely submission of timesheets. The Public Posting appears to have a greater effect on timely submission. Implications of this outcome on staff performance will be discussed, as well as additional factors that may lead to future findings.



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