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.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Symposium #14
CE Offered: BACB
Application of Behavioral Principles to Improve Performance of Staff in a Human Services Agency
Saturday, May 24, 2008
1:00 PM–2:20 PM
International South
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Rita M. Gardner (Melmark New England)
Discussant: Dennis H. Reid (Carolina Behavior Analysis and Support Center, Ltd)
CE Instructor: Rita M. Gardner, M.S.

The assessment of efficient and effective procedures to train employees is a priority for agencies that provide services to individuals with disabilities. Providing training that helps to ensure that employees fulfill their many job responsibilities has a number of benefits including, but not limited to: (1) possible amelioration of burnout often experienced by direct care staff, (2) responsible allocation of needed resources (e.g., costs associated with training), and most importantly, (3) the promotion of excellent service delivery. The purpose of the present symposium is to share findings from three studies that examined ways to improve staff performance through different models of training. The behavioral training procedures employed were varied, yet all produced beneficial outcomes for staff and students.

Using Video to Train Teaching Procedures: Examination of an Effective Training Practice.
CYNTHIA N. CATANIA (Melmark New England), Daniel Almeida (Newton Public Schools), Brian C. Liu-Constant (Melmark New England), Florence D. DiGennaro Reed (Melmark New England)
Abstract: In the field of applied behavior analysis, the development of effective and less resource-intensive training methods for staff is of critical importance. In this study, three new direct-service staff participated in a program that used a video model to train target skills when conducting a discrete trial session. Percent accuracy in completing a discrete trial teaching session during a role play with the researcher was evaluated during baseline, intervention, and maintenance and generalization probes using a multiple baseline across participants design. Single session student probes were also evaluated during each condition. During baseline, performance ranged from 12-67% accuracy. Upon introduction of video training, an immediate change in level of accuracy was observed for all participants (percentage of nonoverlapping data points averaged 100%). Performance during maintenance and generalization probes remained at high levels. In addition, the participants’ performance during sessions with students was consistent with analog sessions conducted with the experimenter. Results suggest that using video modeling to train staff can be effective in teaching them to conduct accurate discrete trial sessions.
Using Video Clips and a Training Package to Increase the Accuracy of A-B-C Completion with Staff.
KIMBERLY L. MAYER (Melmark New England)
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to replicate and extend findings by Mayer (2007) that demonstrated the effectiveness of a training package on completion of A-B-C Descriptive Analysis Tools. A multiple baseline across participants design was used to train residential staff members’ on thorough and accurate A-B-C data recording of one-minute video clips of students. During training, participants were provided a verbal review of an outline detailing all components to be included when completing A-B-C data recording followed by a question and answer session. Participants then watched a variety of video clips and completed A-B-C recording for each clip. During observation of the video clips, participants had access to the written training outline. Performance feedback was provided to participants if they obtained less than 90% accuracy in the consecutive completion of three tools. Findings support the effectiveness of this training package in teaching accurate A-B-C data recording.
Increasing Supervisor Feedback and Performance during Crisis Management.
HELENA L. MAGUIRE (Melmark New England)
Abstract: Training supervisors to provide effective feedback that enhances and maintains employees’ skills when teaching consumers is an integral component to an effective organization. Consumers benefit from staff members who utilize effective teaching skills and are consistent with the delivery of effective teaching strategies. A supervisor's ability to provide feedback to staff when behavioral difficulties are presented by consumers is especially critical. At times, simply monitoring staff performance during the incident and providing feedback after the crisis will not be sufficient to affect staff performance change. In this study, specific procedures to train three supervisors to provide feedback and change staff performance during crisis management conditions were used. A packaged intervention (consisting of classroom-based instruction, in vivo observation, modeling, and contingent feedback) was utilized to improve the type and quality of supervisory feedback delivered to employees in a private school that provided services to individuals with severe challenging behavior. Baseline data reveal low levels of appropriate feedback. Additional data to be collected.



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