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 #318
CE Offered: BACB
Using Prosocial Strategies in Behavioral Organizations
Sunday, May 26, 2024
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Convention Center, 200 Level, 204 AB
Area: OBM/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Kaitlyn Hui (Missouri State University- student)
Discussant: Autumn N. McKeel (Emergent Learning Clinic)
CE Instructor: Autumn N. McKeel, Ph.D.

Prosocial (Atkins et al., 2018) describes an approach to supporting organizations and systems to better achieve the shared purpose of groups by integrating Acceptance and Commitment Training, Ostrom’s core design principles, and multilevel selection theory. Presenters will discuss the implementation of Prosocial strategies within ABA organizations to improve the quality of services and experiences of practitioners. The first presentation describes the development of an acuity scale to quantify workload for behavior analysts and technicians with data supporting the validity and reliability of the assessment to achieve workplace equity. The second presentation discusses the use of Prosocial guided by a functional assessment of workplace climate to improve organizational performance across each of the core design processes underlying effective organizations with improvements in reported experience of employees at multiple levels. The third and fourth presentations apply the Prosocial model in the specific context of implementing relational training guided by the PEAK Relational Training program in a special education and clinical setting. Results from both studies show that Prosocial implementation of common ABA technologies can improve staff experience conducting the technologies. Implications of these findings and future research will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Behavior analysts and practitioners. No prerequisite skills required.

Learning Objectives: 1. Use an acuity scale to measure workload and correlated outcomes 2. Describe the use of a network analysis to pinpoint Prosocial processes 3. Evaluate performance across core design principles within a Prosocial framework

Evaluating Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Caseloads With an Acuity Scale: BCBA Acuity Scale for Interpreting Caseload Severity (BASICS)

JUSTICE LESLIE DEAN (Emergent Learning Clinic), Autumn N. McKeel (Emergent Learning Clinic), Jesse Lee Sears (Emergent Learning Clinic)

With little standardization in caseload size, board certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) can face a variety of barriers to caseload management including time management, lack of resources, and overall profile of clients and intensity of cases (LeBlanc et al., 2019) An acuity scale is a tool that provides an objective measure of a patient's condition and the resources required to maintain their care (Klett et al., 2014) and are commonly used in healthcare fields such as nursing and social work. However, there has yet to be such a scale developed for practicing BCBAs. The BCBA Acuity Scale for Interpreting Caseload Severity (BASICS) is a tool developed to assess the overall intensity of caseload management by analyzing areas such as challenging behavior, communication, medical needs, and parent training needs. The purpose of this study was to evaluate BASICS scores of practicing BCBAs’ caseloads across a variety of settings. Practicing BCBAs completed the BASICS for their caseload and completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). The BASICS offers a potential solution for interpreting caseload severity by providing a systematic approach and may be a useful resource for BCBAs to determine and maintain an ethical caseload within their available resources.

Using a Prosocial Framework to Improve Staff Experiences Implementing Relational Training
AARON LIBMAN (PLEA), Stuart E. Libman (PLEA), Dana Paliliunas (Missouri State University), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University)
Abstract: The PEAK Relational Training System (PEAK; Dixon 2014-2016) is an assessment and training framework used to guide behavioral programming with autistic learners. Prior research has demonstrated the efficacy of behavioral skills training in improving implementation of PEAK technologies (Belisle et al., 2016); however, the complexity of implementing PEAK adaptively and flexibly can lead to experiences of stress and unwillingness among staff. In the present study, we evaluated implementation of PEAK programming and staff psychological experiencing of PEAK programming consistent with a Relational Density Theory framework. Results showed positive affective relations centering around the agency and more negative affective relations around PEAK as a technology. An idiographic network analysis was used to develop a training workshop using Prosocial (Atkins et al., 2018) as a behavioral systems approach, isolating flexibility processes to adapt programming. The result was an integration of PEAK with other behavior analytic approaches and expanding variation, selection, and retention mechanisms within programming at the individual and organizational level (i.e., Prosocial-PEAK). Post-test results not only showed improvements in PEAK implementation, but also greater positive affective experiences around the technology and other organizational variables.

Prosocial Implementation of the PEAK Relational Training System in a Clinical Setting: A Replication

BLAYNE DAKOTA STEMPLE (Missouri State University), Mikayla Campbell (Missouri State University), Lindsey Schneider (Emergent Learning Center), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University), Dana Paliliunas (Missouri State University), Mark R. Dixon (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Low job-satisfaction and burnout are commonly experienced by individuals providing behavior analytic services (Plantiveau et al., 2018), with turnover occurring highest in front line staff. Despite the negative impacts of high turnover rates, there is minimal behavior analytic research on the topic. The variables that contribute to turnover rates are idiosyncratic and require a functional assessment to inform intervention development. The primary focus of this study was to utilize a novel functional assessment approach with front-line staff of a behavior analytic organization concerning workplace climate in the context of service delivery. A multidimensional scaling procedure was utilized as a probe to evaluate the complex relational patterns of each staff member, including stimuli related to professional values, workplace climate, outcome variables, and technologies (i.e., the PEAK Curriculum,?Dixon, 2008). As well, participants completed the Process-Based Assessment Tool (PBAT;?Sanford et al., 2022) following treatment sessions to evaluate processes related to primary outcome variables. A network analysis was used to analyze these results and explore relationships among processes and outcomes. The results of the functional assessment were utilized to conduct a function-based intervention at the group level, which was found to impact measures of workplace climate and service delivery.?


Utilizing Prosocial to Support Positive Workplace Climate and Performance in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Services

STEPHANIE VICKROY (Missouri State University), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University), Mikayla Campbell (Missouri State University), Lindsey Schneider (Emergent Learning Center), Mark R. Dixon (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Prosocial (Atkins et al., 2018) is an approach to supporting organizations by promoting adaptive and flexible responding within groups by integrating elements of acceptance and commitment training (ACT) with Ostrom’s core design principles (CDPs) to guide collective action. Service providers in the field of applied behavior analysis often experience high rates of burnout, low job satisfaction, and high turnover rates, particularly when professional social support and psychological flexibility are less likely to occur. The purpose of this study was to evaluate prosocial intervention to support workplace climate and performance at multiple levels within an ABA clinic. Assessment data were collected using the Prosocial Guided Interview (PGI; Belisle & Paliliunas, 2023), Prosocial Vision Panning Worksheet (Belisle & Paliliunas, 2023), and a modified version of the Process-Based Assessment Tool (PBAT; Hayes et al., 2022). In addition, positively valanced affective experiences were measured using a multidimensional scaling procedure. Results of the assessment guided the development of a Prosocial intervention that targeted identified CDPs to move toward the shared vision of the organization and its members utilizing a workshop format guided by the ACT Matrix. Results suggested that performance across PGI categories and reported stress and burnout with improvements in group cohesion.




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