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 #411
CE Offered: BACB
Fostering Professional Skills and Service Quality: Recent Advancements in Pre-Intervention Assessment in Human Services
Monday, May 29, 2017
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
Hyatt Regency, Capitol Ballroom 1-3
Area: OBM/AUT; Domain: Translational
Chair: Tyler Erath (University of Kansas)
Discussant: Byron J. Wine (Florida Institute of Technology)
CE Instructor: Tyler Erath, M.A.

The behavior of staff and the environmental conditions in which staff work impact the quality of services being delivered and, subsequently, client outcomes. Recent research has documented that pre-intervention assessment (e.g., Performance Diagnostic Checklist-Human Services; PDC-HS) can lead to improved outcomes regarding staff performance. This symposium includes recent studies that incorporate pre-intervention assessment activities to foster professional skills and service quality. Hodges et al. evaluate the psychometric properties of the PDC-HS and document its reliability and validity for assessing staff performance problems. Mueller et al. describe the Caseload Management Support System, a functional assessment and intervention guide, to help practitioners better manage their client caseloads. Grauerholz-Fisher et al. promote quality of care in an autism clinic by developing and implementing interventions based on several pre-intervention assessment activities. Finally, Merritt and DiGennaro Reed implement an intervention based on PDC-HS results to address staff tardiness in an autism school. The collective findings support the use of pre-intervention assessment to inform organization- and staff-level interventions.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): functional assessment, performance management, pre-intervention assessment, service quality

Assessment of Inter-Rater and Test-Retest Reliability of the Performance Diagnostic Checklist - Human Services

(Applied Research)
David A. Wilder (Florida Institute of Technology), Joshua Lipschultz (Florida Institute of Technology), ANSLEY CATHERINE HODGES (Florida Institute of Technology), Hallie Marie Ertel (Florida Institute of Technology)

The Performance Diagnostic Checklist Human Services (PDC-HS) is a 20-item questionnaire about possible antecedent and consequent variables that might be correlated with the occurrence of employee performance issues in human service settings. Items are organized into 4 domains based on contingencies that may maintain performance issues. We assessed the interrater reliability of the PDC-HS through independent administration to groups of raters with varying levels of behavior analytic competency (i.e., RBT, BCaBA, and BCBA) using video vignettes of potential employee performance issues in an autism therapy setting. Additionally, we assessed the test-retest reliability following a period of at least 2 weeks, along with the content and social validity of the video vignettes. Overall, the results suggest that the PDC-HS is a valid and reliable tool for personnel with varying levels of behavior analytic competency to assess performance problems. High content and social validity measures were obtained as well. Potential uses of the PDC-HS in various organizational settings are discussed, as well as limitations.

Development of an Individualized Functional Assessment Tool for Barriers to Effective Caseload Management
(Service Delivery)
JONATHAN MUELLER (Trumpet Behavioral Health), Linda A. LeBlanc (LeBlanc Behavioral Consulting LLC)
Abstract: In the past ten years, insurance funding has become a primary source of payment for applied behavior analytic services for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. While this has made services available to a broader group of consumers, managed care funders often have constraints on which services are allowable and in what amounts. These constraints and many others can make caseload management difficult for clinicians, especially when those clinicians are new to the workforce (i.e., with a few years of graduation and certifications). Ineffective caseload management can have detrimental effects to the quality of clinical services as well as overall financial stability for the provider. The current functional assessment and intervention guide, the Caseload Management Support System, was developed based on the Performance Diagnostic Checklist – Human Services (Carr & Strain, YEAR) and the Barriers Assessment of the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Planning tool (VB-MAPP) (Sundberg, 2008). The assessment portion includes items from domains such as time management skills, geographic distribution of caseload, and match of clinical skills to client needs. The intervention tool links each problem area to a function-based intervention resource (e.g., time management resources for time management problems; clinical training supports for skills-client mismatch) to support performance. The implications of this kind of tool for the business and practice of applied behavior analysis will be discussed.
Assessing and Improving Quality of Care in an Autism Clinic
(Applied Research)
EMMA GRAUERHOLZ-FISHER (University of Florida), Allison M. Berard (Florida Autism Center), Kerri P. Peters (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)
Abstract: Momentary time sampling has been used to evaluate quality of care in several settings, including residential facilities (Zarcone et al., 1993) and nursing homes (Shore et al., 1995). Given the growing number of applied behavior analysis service providers, autism clinics might be a new area in which assessing quality of care indicators could be very important. Therefore, we extended these procedures to an autism clinic, where we used momentary time sampling to assess environmental condition, client condition, and staff behavior. Following assessment, we conducted the Performance Diagnostic Checklist – Human Services (PDC-HS) with the clinic supervisors regarding areas of concern to identify the variables that might be contributing to poor performance. We then developed and implemented interventions based on the areas endorsed by the PDC-HS. Such analyses might be of interest to parents, Board Certified Behavior Analysts, and insurance companies who are trying to identify and regulate the quality of services provided.

An Evaluation of the Performance Diagnostic Checklist - Human Services to Improve Staff Tardiness

(Applied Research)
TODD ALLEN MERRITT (University of Kansas and QSAC), Florence D. DiGennaro Reed (University of Kansas)

A nationwide survey conducted by found that 20% of workers reported they arrive late to work at least once per week. Employee tardiness imposes financial costs on an employer and may have adverse effects on staff morale and the services the organization provides. To date only four published studies have addressed employee tardiness, and only one of these used a pre-intervention assessment to inform the intervention. The purpose of this study is to develop a performance management intervention to address staff tardiness based on the results of the Performance Diagnostic Checklist-Human Services (PDC-HS; Carr, Wilder, Majdalany, Mathisen, & Strain, 2013). Specifically, the study aims to reduce tardiness of teaching assistants employed at a school that provides educational services to children with autism. During baseline, the number of minutes that staff were late ranged from 0 to 222 (M = 17.53). Next, we will administer the PDC-HS to supervisors and participants (November 2016) and introduce a function-based intervention using a multiple baseline design across participants (December 2016). Results are anticipated to show that the PDC-HS is able to identify an effective intervention that maintains over time.




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