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.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Symposium #204
CE Offered: BACB
Leveraging Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) to Enhance Dignity, Safety, and Life Quality of Consumers via Staff Training
Sunday, May 26, 2024
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Marriott Downtown, Level 3, Liberty Ballroom Salon BC
Area: OBM/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Tyler Ré (The Chicago School)
Discussant: Joshua K. Pritchard (Southern Illinois University)
CE Instructor: Joshua K. Pritchard, Ph.D.

One application of Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) focuses on staff outcomes that impact client success. The four presentations in this symposium will demonstrate several key components of OBM consultation through the use of assessment, intervention, and ongoing evaluation to ensure positive outcomes for both staff and clients in applied research and service delivery settings. Dr. John Guercio will describe how assessment at an organizational level led to improvements in data collection and treatment integrity. Valeria Pascale will present on how training staff to engage in positive interaction styles has positively impacted clients. Dr. Byron Wine will present strategies to improve staff safety while working with severely aggressive clients and preventing the use of restraint. Chris Delap will describe strategies used to improve staff retention through on-going staff development opportunities. All four of the presentations will demonstrate how staff training can influence organizational outcomes and thus client outcomes in community-based organizations.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Residential Services, Staff Retention, Staff Safety
Target Audience:

Intermediate: Participants should come to the presentation with a basic familiarity with OBM Assessment, intervention and On-going evaluation and a firm understanding of behavior skills training.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1. Participants will identify assessment strategies that promote the identification and subsequent intervention with staff performance issues in adult residential settings 2. The participants will be able to identify types of positive interactions based on the PEARL scale (McMorrow 2003; Guercio 2020) 3. Participants will be able to describe a treatment package that may lead to reduced frequency of physical restraint and an increase in staff safety. 4. Participants will be able to identify key strategies that lead to increased staff retention.

Implementation of Staff Training Procedures in Settings That Serve Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorders and Other Intellectual Disabilities

JOHN M. GUERCIO (Benchmark Human Services)

Staff members working in residential homes serving persons with developmental disabilities pose significant staff training challenges to behavior analysts that work in these settings. Many times, it is not unusual for a behavior analyst that works in these settings to spend as much as 60% of their time engaged in staff training related tasks from an organizational behavior management (OBM) perspective. The following presentation will cover a host of evidence based behavioral interventions that have proven efficacious in adult service settings for clients with extreme behavioral issues. The use of the Performance Diagnostic Checklist-Human Services will be detailed along with several other interventions that have increased staff performance related to crucial behavior that is required to work in adult service settings. Several studies will be shared related to the effective assessment and intervention of staff performance issues have been addressed with favorable outcomes. Attendees will be able to identify the interlocking contingencies between staff behavior, their learning history, and the role of trauma as it relates to both the people whom we serve and the staff who work with them role of trauma as it relates to both the people whom we serve and the staff who work with them.


The Effectiveness of Positive Interaction Style in Decrease Severe Problem Behaviors and the Use of Verbal Feedback, Modeling and Reinforcement on Staff Behaviors to Increase Greater Outcomes

VALERIA PASCALE (The Chicago School, ABA For Disability), Tyler Ré (The Chicago School), John M. Guercio (Benchmark Human Services)

Organizational behavior management (OBM) can impact organizational systems and contribute to improve the well- being and the interaction style of leaders, clients and employers (Weatherly 2021). It involves strategies procedures and techniques that demonstrated the effectiveness in improving workers productivity and safety (Wine & Pritchard 2019). The quality and frequency of positive interactions between staff and clients are related to the reduction in the frequency and duration of severe problem behaviors and to the increasing of meaningful outcomes. Unfortunately, the frequency with which staff interact positively with clients is often low and requires regular intervention (Ruby& Di Gennaro Reed 2021). One of the most important factors that can impact motivation in staff may be to reinforce their appropriate behaviors and assessing the preference of the staff. This talk will cover the role of verbal feedback and modeling to increase the positive interaction between staff and clients with severe problem behavior and the effectiveness of tangible reinforcers to contrive motivation in staff and achieve greatest outcomes.

A Blocking and Distance Management Staff Training Intervention on Occurrences of Torso- and Head-Directed Aggression
BYRON J. WINE (The Faison Center; University of Virginia)
Abstract: Prevalence estimates of aggressive behavior in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) ranges from 8% to 68% (Georgiades et al., 2011; Kanne & Mazurek, 2011). Differences in definitions of aggression, sampling, and how the data are obtained likely account for the variation. Despite the differences in prevalence estimates, it appears that aggression is present more often in ASD than in individuals without ASD (Farmer et al., 2015; Hill et al., 2014). It seems intuitive that aggression exhibited by clients is responsible for staff injuries in human services given that staff are likely targets, but it is only recently that research has suggested that injuries, at least in some cases of autism service delivery contexts, are due to interactions with clients (Ruby et al., in press) and thus, relatively little work has focused on preventing injuries for the staff members who implement treatment plans. In this study, three direct care staff members working with clients presenting with aggressive behavior were taught targeted blocking and distance management techniques to prevent injuries to the torso and head. Findings indicated that the injury prevention training was implemented quickly, and all staff members acquired the target skills in simulations.
Ongoing Staff Development: Implementing Behavioral Skills Training as a Staff Development Model
CHRIS DELAP (Lakemary Center)
Abstract: Effective on-going staff training strategies have been shown to increase staff retention along with fostering staff development. Behavioral Skills Training (BST) is rooted in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) principles and is an evidenced-based teaching strategy to enhance staff training and staff development in a variety of employment fields. More specifically within residential treatment settings, BST strategies can teach staff at all levels the necessary competencies for working with learners who display challenging behaviors. Not only does the implementation of evidence-based training strategies positively impact the quality of care for learners within residential programs, but it also improves staff retention and perceived efficacy of their own skills in positive engagement, preventative strategies, and crisis de-escalation. This paper will review the process of implementing BST curriculum for direct care staff at a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) in Kansas. Key implementation strategies for positive outcomes include developing a staff mentor program, implementing fidelity checklists and ongoing evaluations. The skills developed through the BST focus on preventative behavioral skills to aid in the reduction of Emergency Safety Interventions (ESI). Staff retention will be reviewed and discussed by comparing staff retention rates of one year pre and post implementation of the IGNITE Mentor program.



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