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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #495
CE Offered: BACB
Exploring Direct-Service Providers: When Behavior Analysis is Taken out of the Hands of Behavior Analysts
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
W184bc (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: AUT/PRA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jacqueline Wynn (Nationwide Children's Hospital Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders)
CE Instructor: Alissa Greenberg, Ph.D.

The principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) outlined by Baer, Wolf, and Risley (1968) have resulted in a wide range of applications across many fields of study. ABA has been demonstrated to be highly efficacious, efficient, and effective for reduction of problem behavior and skill acquisition, particularly for those with developmental disabilities. There are a profusion of studies examining specific procedures to reduce the frequency and severity of severe challenging behavior as well as to increase adaptive behavior or desirable language skills. Research within the field of behavior analysis is less readily available describing the individuals who may be implementing such procedures. This symposium aims to provide information on a broad spectrum of individuals involved in the application of behavior analysisteachers, parents, and trained behavioral staff. These talks will focus on 1) the perceptions and opinions of individuals who are implementing behavior-reduction procedures, 2) the importance of considering readiness for change in parents and caregivers, and 3) the impacts of job stress, responsibilities and training for direct care staff. The successes of our experimentally derived interventions are often related to the context within which they are applied and the impacts of these social factors are discussed in respect to our day-to-day behavior analytic practice.

Keyword(s): Direct-service providers, Training

Aversive Plans in a Positive Culture: Parent and Teacher Perceptions of Aversive Behavior Plans and Behavior Reduction Procedures

CHRISTIN A. MCDONALD (Nationwide Children's Hospital Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders), Nicole M. Powell (Nationwide Children's Hopsital Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders), James Thoman (Nationwide Children's Hospital Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders)

ABA has supplied multiple technologies for both increasing adaptive behaviors and decreasing maladaptive behaviors for people with developmental disabilities (Durand & Carr, 1991; Hanley et al., 1998; Hagopian et al., 1998; Wordsell et al., 2000). Some technologies within the scope of ABA have been widely accepted (e.g., positive reinforcement strategies, token systems, antecedent strategies), while others strategies utilizing punishment as a mechanism for behavior change have been accepted less readily. Many technologies utilizing punishment have gradually been folded into the term aversive and the larger social, educational, and psychology cultures have developed opinions on the value of aversive procedures. The researchers distributed a survey to parents and educators where they were asked to rate the social validity of behavior plans through vignettes. Statistical analyses of teacher data revealed significant disagreement (p < .001) with vignettes involving contingent vs. crisis application and vignettes with non-physical punishment interventions (i.e. timeout) vs. physical punishment interventions (i.e. restraint). Descriptive analyses revealed biases toward specific wording when asked about procedures often used in behavior plans. Given these results, we discuss the implications public perceptions and how learning more about the social climate surrounding aversive procedures will continue to inform behavior analytic practice in the future.


Parents' Readiness for Change: A Survey Tool for Behavior Analysts who Include Parent Training in Their Practice

ALISSA GREENBERG (Ed Support Services), Jacqueline Wynn (Nationwide Children's Hospital Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders)

Parent involvement is not only recommended as a critical component of effective interventions for persons with autism, but it is also now required by many funding agencies. As an increasing number of behavior analysts include parent training in their practice, it has become important to take a critical look at parent training and its effectiveness. Generally positive outcomes are associated with training parents to implement behavioral strategies, however, there still remains a wide range of outcomes associated with this practice. Research indicates that around a quarter to a third of families do not benefit from parent training. Further, the strongest predictor of positive outcomes is related to parents motivation. The current presentation describes the development of a survey intended to evaluate parents readiness to participate in parent training and presents data related to the surveys validity and reliability. The survey was disseminated to parents of children with autism receiving behavior intervention. Results support the utility of the survey as a tool for assessing parents motivation for participation in parent training programs, a variable which behavior analysts would be wise to consider before beginning parent training with all of their clients.


The Front Lines: Staff Perceptions of Job Stress, Job Responsibilities and Job Support Across Programmatic Specialties

ANYA FROELICH (Nationwide Children's Hospital Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders), Nicole M. Powell (Nationwide Children's Hopsital Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders), Christin A. McDonald (Nationwide Children's Hospital Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders)

The intensive in intensive behavioral intervention services relates to a number of factors, including the hours, energy, and finances that go into skill acquisition and severe behavior programstrue for both families who receive services, as well as the clinicians who provide the care. Direct care workers face a number of job-related stressors, mediated by factors such as range of tasks and available supervision and resources/training (Larson & Hewitt, 2005; Rose et al., 2003; Sharrard, 1992). Direct care staff were surveyed on their primary job duties, job satisfaction, level of perceived stress, and the impact of training on their jobs. Statistical analyses indicated no significant differences in perceived stress for staff who identify as primarily skill acquisition vs. severe behavior reduction clinicians (p = .085). However, within this sample, those who work within a severe behavior reduction framework felt more overall job support compared to those within the skill acquisition programs (p = .02). Additionally, behavior reduction clinicians reported greater value and importance of job-specific trainings than those whose primary jobs were skill acquisition (p = .04). Additional findings regarding trainings and staff perceptions are discussed and the potential impacts on daily behavior analytic practice.




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