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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #321
CE Offered: BACB — 
Evidence-Based Decision-Making: Considerations From Four Contexts
Sunday, May 28, 2017
5:00 PM–6:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 2A
Area: PRA/EDC; Domain: Translational
Chair: Timothy A. Slocum (Utah State University)
Discussant: Ronnie Detrich (The Wing Institute)
CE Instructor: Susan Wilczynski, Ph.D.

Evidence-based practice can be characterized as a framework for decision- making. The presumption is if practitioners base their decisions on the integration of best available evidence, professional judgment, client values and context, then this framework can be a basis for all decisions practitioners must make in their professional practice. The four presentations in this session reflect how this framework can be applied across very different contexts.. The presentation by Susan Wilczynski discusses methods for training practicing applied behavior analysts to fully utilize the evidence-based practice decision-making model. The presentations by Larry Maheady and David Forbush consider challenges to training education professionals to adopt aspects of the evidence-based practice decision-making framework. Maheady will speak to issues in preparing pre-service teachers to adopt a data-based decision making process. Forbush will speak to issues in developing a statewide professional development program for educators. The presentation by Wayne Fuqua addresses issues of training applied behavior analysts to detect and troubleshoot treatment failures All presenters will highlight the relationship between the evidence-based practice decision-making framework and the Behavior Analysis Certification Board?s Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): decision-making, evidence-based

Training Behavior Analysts to Use the Evidence-Based Practice Decision-Making Model

(Service Delivery)
SUSAN WILCZYNSKI (Ball State University)

The evidence-based practice of ABA (EBP of ABA) decision-making model effectively integrates relevant sources of information that have historically been important to behavior analysis. For example, data on treatment effectiveness gleaned from the literature, our behavioral principles, and the clients history must be combined with issues of social validity and treatment feasibility to identify a treatment that is most likely to produce favorable client outcomes. This presentation addresses how the field of applied behavior analysis can bring the EBP of ABA to scale. To meet this goal, training must occur at several levels. For example, graduate training programs must offer training and continuing education units must be offered at conferences. But the greater emphasis in this presentation is on how to help practicing behavior analysts understand that the EBP of ABA decision-making framework provides a guide to practitioners in how to integrate our historic emphasis on variables such as treatment acceptability, treatment integrity, social validity, and client repertoire with data on client outcomes. A personalized system of instruction (PSI) will serve as an example of how to demonstrate how these variables can be integrated to select, retain, adapt, or reject treatments throughout the decision-making process.


Improving Evidence-Based Decision-Making Among Pre-Service General and Special Education Teachers

(Service Delivery)

This paper describes two inter-related efforts to improve evidence-based decision-making skills among novice general and special education teachers. The first approach utilized a two-course research design sequence to generate applied data sets from single case studies conducted by small groups of novice teachers. These data sets, in turn, are used blindly by other teams of novice teachers in a graduate assessment course to make ongoing data-based decisions. Novice teachers in the assessment course meet weekly to review individual data sets that are presented sequentially (i.e., one phase at a time A-B-A-B), and respond to series of decision-making questions. Assessment team members graph data sets for their target classes and two different individuals each week. They independently write responses to phase-specific, data-based questions, share them in weekly team meetings, and make recommendations for how to proceed instructionally (i.e., continue, adapt, or abandon interventions). Individual teams then present their respective evidence-based practices and data-based findings to the entire class. Organizational and pedagogical challenges to preparing novice educators to adopt aspects of an evidence-based practice decision-making framework are discussed.

Designing and Implementing an Evidence-Supported State-Wide Professional Development System for Educators
(Service Delivery)
DAVID FORBUSH (Utah State University)
Abstract: The Utah Professional Development Network (UPDN) is charged with enhancing social, emotional, and academic outcomes for students with disabilities in Utah. The UPDN strives to achieve these outcomes by enhancing educators’ knowledge, skills and dispositions through professional development (PD). The UPDN engages school and district level administrators intensively in systems change actions to support their personnel’s attainment of targeted knowledge, skills, and supporting dispositions aligning with gaps in student performance. These systems changes include adoption of evidence-based practices (EBP), transferring these practices from PD settings to school and classroom settings through collaboration, training and coaching, adapting non-core EBPs elements to increase adoption, function, sustainability, and scaling over time. The UPDN applies a 10 step PD planning process, and utilizes a five level PD evaluation process among other tools, in pursuit of targeted project outcomes. This presentation will focus on these tools/processes, and the decision making frameworks associated with select components.

Detecting and Troubleshooting Treatment "Failures": An Essential Component of Evidence-Based Practice

(Service Delivery)
RICHARD WAYNE FUQUA (Western Michigan University)

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a multi-component process in which practitioners select, refine and deliver clinical services based on a) the best available scientific evidence, b) unique client and contextual features, c) training and competence of the practitioner, d) ongoing clinical progress monitoring and decision making and e) early detection and trouble shooting of treatment failures." Developed initially in medicine, EBP has been extended to the delivery of applied behavior analysis (ABA) services and is considered an essential feature of ethical and high quality ABA service delivery. This presentation will offer practical advice for ABA practitioners who wish to incorporate EBP strategies into their clinical services and thus improve the quality and accountability of ABA and clinical behavior analysis service delivery. Objectives (at least 3): Attendees will 1) identify the essential features of evidence based practice in ABA 2) select and use behavioral data and visual displays to monitor clinical progress 3) describe strategies to detect and trouble shoot treatment failures




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