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 #109
CE Offered: BACB
Behavioral Research in K-12 Public Special Education Settings: Successes and Challenges
Saturday, May 25, 2024
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Marriott Downtown, Level 5, Grand Ballroom Salon F
Area: EDC/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: MaryAnn Demchak (University of Nevada, Reno)
CE Instructor: MaryAnn Demchak, Ph.D.
Abstract: It is important to demonstrate that behavioral strategies can be systematically investigated in real-life settings; not just clinical or university settings. One such real-life setting is K-12 public school special education settings. Conducting behavioral research in these settings presents challenges and successes. The studies presented in this symposium demonstrate that special education teachers and paraprofessionals can implement systematic instruction, including response prompting procedures (e.g., prompt hierarchy; constant time delay). These results also provide strong evidence of social validity with typical interventionists implementing procedures in typical settings. However, real-life behavioral research also presents challenges. These challenges can include a greater number of extraneous variables that must be controlled, conflicting school activities that occur, inconsistent school attendance, and finding teacher and paraprofessional participants who are willing to do the extra work often related to participating in research. Additionally, demonstrated improvements may not be supported by natural contingencies present in the real-life setting (e.g., a lack of administrator support and reinforcement of new staff behaviors). Even though these challenges exist, successes are evident and school settings are great sources of participants and interventionists. This symposium focuses on three studies conducted in K-12 public school special education settings and addresses successes and challenges.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): BST, Data-based Decision-making, IDD, Systematic instruction
Target Audience: Intermediate - Understanding of single case research design methodologies, response prompting, and data-based decision-making
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) State benefits of and successes linked to conducting behavioral research in K-12 public school special education settings (2) State challenges, and strategies to address those challenges, linked to conducting behavioral research in K-12 public school special education settings (3) Describe the results of three studies focusing on response prompting and self-monitoring of data-based decision-making

Functional Digital Literacy: Improving Email Skills of Adolescents With Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities Using Response Prompting Delivered Remotely


Technology continues to permeate many areas of daily life. The importance of technology became more apparent during the recent pandemic. Many services innovatively moved to hybrid or technology-based methods of service. However, not all individuals accessed technology with the same opportunities. Persistent inequities remain for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), stemming from several variables, but most noticeably a lack of goal planning that includes digital literacy skills required to access technology necessary to improve post-secondary outcomes and opportunities. In the present study a multiple probe design across three behaviors (i.e., composing email, replying to email, including attachments in an email) was replicated across six participants. Intervention procedures employed direct instruction and the use of a systematic prompt hierarchy, delivered remotely using Zoom due to the pandemic, to increase basic email skills in adolescents with IDD. Results showed a functional relation between the intervention and improved emailing skills (composing, replying, and attachments) across all participants.

Using a Pyramid Model and Behavioral Skills Training: Training Paraprofessionals to Implement Constant Time Delay Response Prompting
JODEE PRUDENTE (Washoe County School District)
Abstract: Teaching students with intellectual and development disabilities (IDD) can be complex. Teachers frequently rely on paraprofessionals to assist in the classroom in various ways. However, paraprofessionals are unlikely to have the knowledge and skills needed to perform all requested duties. Paraprofessionals require on-the-job training and support to meet students’ needs. Teachers are unlikely to have had preparation on how to train paraprofessionals. This study used behavioral skills training (BST) within a pyramidal approach to train paraprofessionals. The researcher trained teachers and teachers then trained paraprofessionals to implement systematic instructional plans using a constant time delay (CTD) response prompting procedure with students with severe IDD. Using a multiple probe design across participant triads (teachers, paraprofessionals, and students), effects of the intervention package on accuracy of paraprofessional implementation of systematic instructional plans and student progress were examined. A functional relation was demonstrated between the intervention package and improvements in paraprofessional behavior, with related improvements in student performance. This study successfully demonstrated the efficiency, feasibility, and acceptability of a pyramidal approach in training teachers to train five paraprofessionals to implement systematic instructional plans using CTD with students with significant IDD in a public school classroom, with data supporting generalization and maintenance.
Effect of Self-Monitoring on Teacher Procedural Integrity of a Data-Based Decision-Making Process
CHEVONNE SUTTER (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Self-monitoring is one strategy used to increase procedural integrity (PI) of instructional practices. Self-monitoring, evaluating one’s own behaviors in relation to performance criteria, is documented by self-recording occurrence or accuracy of planned behaviors (Bishop et al., 2015). Some evidence indicates self-monitoring results in increased PI; however, many studies have not separated self-monitoring effects from those of performance feedback and other intervention components. Additionally, there is little evidence that self-monitoring, or its effects on PI, is maintained (Bishop et al., 2015; Mouzakitis et al., 2015). The current study evaluated the effect of a self-monitoring checklist on PI of data-based decision-making (DBDM) by teachers of students with severe disabilities and to determine if effects were maintained and generalization was observed for untrained instructional plans. We identified additional intervention components needed to stabilize teacher performance at set criterion levels. A combined changing criterion and multi-component design was replicated across three participants with a fourth control participant. Results indicated self-monitoring alone was insufficient to yield high PI of DBDM. All teachers, including the control, needed additional intervention to maintain high levels of PI after initial intervention, despite having previously demonstrated competence in DBDM in graduate coursework and stating they used DBDM in their classrooms.



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