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 #61
Functional Assessment in the Public School Setting: A Review of Current Training and Implementation Strategies
Saturday, May 24, 2008
2:30 PM–3:50 PM
Area: TBA/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Saul Axelrod (Temple University)
Abstract: The assessment and treatment of challenging behaviors has been an issue in the public schools since the passage of PL-94-142, currently referred to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The training of school personnel to design interventions that are based on best practice recommendations in the field of behavior analysis has been an identified problem since the reauthorization of IDEA in 1997 in which the use of Functional Behavioral Assessment is mandated. This session will investigate the use of FBA in the public school setting to include a report of current knowledge and skills of a group of public school teachers in Pennsylvania, a tool used by teachers to integrate teacher and experimental manipulations into the FBA process and finally, a data-based presentation that utilizes a multiple baseline design across teachers to demonstrate the acquisition of knowledge and techniques needed to conduct an FBA and develop a positive behavior support plan based on that assessment. This session will provide the participant with information on the tools, techniques, guidelines, and supports that are needed by school personnel to conduct comprehensive functional behavioral assessments and develop positive behavioral support plans based on those assessments.
Functional Assessment Training for Special Education Teachers: Best Practice Recommendations.
MARIA L. AGNEW (Holy Family University/Temple University)
Abstract: The assessment and treatment of challenging behaviors have been an issue in the special education classroom since the passage of PL 94-142 in 1975. That law, now referred to as IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) was reauthorized in 1997 to mandate the use of Functional Behavioral Assessment in the treatment of challenging behaviors that resulted in programmatic changes. Best practice recommendations for the use of behavior analysis procedures is to conduct a comprehensive functional analysis (Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman & Richman; 1982/1994). However, school staff often find themselves unprepared and untrained to conduct such analyses. This study investigated the acquisition of knowledge and skills needed to conduct comprehensive functional assessment procedures that yielded successful positive behavior support plans. The functional assessment guidelines used in training the classroom teachers in this study were based on current literature applications of the procedure. A multiple baseline design across participants was used to determine the effectiveness of a direct feedback model. The participants in this study demonstrated acquisition of knowledge and technique in the area of conducting functional assessments and developing positive behavior support plans based on those assessments. The study also offers best practice recommendations for school based assessments.
Functional Assessment in School Settings: A Tool for Classroom Teachers.
KELLY MCELRATH (Bucks County Intermediate Unit 22 & Temple University)
Abstract: Emotional and behavioral problems have been identified as a primary concern for teachers and administrators in public school settings. The discipline-related component of IDEA requires that schools conduct a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) when a student’s behavior disrupts the educational environment. A consultative model has been typically used to conduct assessments in school settings with teachers only recently included in the development and validation of hypotheses regarding behavioral function. The Behavioral Assessment Tool for Teachers (BATT) is a tool designed to integrate both teachers and experimental manipulations into the FBA process during ongoing instruction. The scripted procedures outlined in the BATT guide teachers through the same test conditions described in the Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, and Richman (1982/1994) study. Six BATT administrations were conducted on students referred for behavioral consultation. Using qualitative methods, teacher-developed hypotheses were compared to consultant-developed with results suggesting there was agreement for one proposed hypothesis (1/6). Additionally, survey data permitted a narrowing of the issues with regard to impediments to the functional assessment process such as time, space, equipment, and specialized training.
A Functional Behavioral Assessment of Teacher's Knowledge of Functional Behavioral Assessment.
KIMBERLY L. KIRCHER (Council Rock School District), Katrina L. Mellott (International Institute for Behavioral Development)
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine the knowledge and skills of teachers regarding the process of functional behavioral assessment (FBA). By examining the discipline components of the reauthorization of IDEA (1997), it also becomes necessary to explore the knowledge and skills of those who are to carry out this legislation. The primary focus of this study is to inform school districts and college preparation programs, as well as legislators, about the status of FBAs in public schools, in a quest to alleviate barriers and increase supports to improve current practice. Elementary, general and special education teachers in suburban public school districts in Pennsylvania will be recruited to participate in the study. The primary research question is: What are teachers’ knowledge and skills in using FBAs? The following secondary questions will be asked: How equipped are teachers to carry out the discipline requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 1997)? Do teachers implement practices aligned with IDEA (1997) discipline-related mandates? A purposive and semi-structured interview format, along with a questionnaire, will guide the framework for data collection. Coded themes from interviews, combined with quantitative data from the questionnaires, will form the basis for data analysis.
Functional Assessment Training in the Classroom.
NINA C. WILDE (Bucks County Intermediate Unit #22)
Abstract: The United States Government Accounting Office reports that 43% of expenditures in special education go toward the provision of teachers and instructional assistants. These teachers and instructional assistants represent the frontline of intervention in serving children with autism. The instructional and analytical skills required in order to provide effective autism services typically involve engaging those staff in instruction in a lecture format, as well as hands on training with the students in the classroom setting. This presentation will describe a study using an instrument, the Clinical Integrity Checklist-Autism Services” (CIC-AS), that was created to assess the clinical skills of in-service teachers and instructional assistants working in ABA classrooms serving children with autism. The skills targeted by the CIC-AS include many, if not most, of the job requirements for teachers and instructional assistants working in an ABA classroom. This presentation will report the results of a study investigating the use of the CIC-AS to assist staff trainers in targeting in-vivo and in-service training of clinical skills for teachers and instructional assistants in an ABA/Autism classroom setting.



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