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Kevin Murdock Hillsborough County Public Schools

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  1. User-Friendly Approaches Can Increase Behavioral Applications in Schools Kevin Murdock Hillsborough County Public Schools

  2. Goals • Identify reasons why ABA approaches are avoided by some educators • Share methods to simplify various tasks and save precious time • Stimulate research into much-needed areas

  3. Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) 8th largest district in nation Total schools: 279 • Elementary schools : 159 • Middle schools : 50 • High schools : 40 • Other : 30 Full-time teachers: 13,269 Total Students: 190,814 (first day count, projected 20 day count: 205,000)

  4. HCPS Behavior Analyst Supports • Functional Assessment Consultant Team (FACT) - 8 BCBAs + 2 BCaBAs - part-to-full time consulting with school teams to support Tier 3 processes • Behavior Coaches - 9 10 BCBAs and BCaBAs providing part-to-full time specialized support to schools and classrooms primarily to reduce restraint-seclusion events • ESE General Director created this team! • 20 pending BCBA exam – school-based assignments • 3 BCBAs, 6 BCaBAs, and 11 inactive BCaBAs – school-based assignments

  5. HCPS Demand > Supply • Approximately 1 to 10,000 ratio of active certified behavior analysts to students • In comparison, the national recommended ratio for School Psychologists is 1 : 1,500 students. • If only 2% of HCPS students required a new or updated FBA-PBIP each year, this would require: • 195 FBA-PBIPs per year, or • More than 1 per workday. • FACT and Behavior Coaches serve less than 1% of students, primarily ESE

  6. Impact of Behavior Coaches

  7. More than 99% of students not directly served by behavior analysts • Ideally, these involve less intensive behaviors such as: • common minor disruptive behavior • “off task” • “non-compliance”

  8. Competing Demands and Stressors for Educators • Student academic progress expectations • Complex teacher evaluations (e.g., rubrics, “value added”) • Salaries, school grades and other issues impacted • Teaching to the “middle of the class” • Wave after wave of new requirements and initiatives – not sure which are priorities or what will continue/fade • If Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars, Educators are from Earth, and Behavior Analysts are from the 6th Dimension (in Andrew Houvouras’ words): They don't think like us, talk like us, or act like us.

  9. Educators Want “Fast & Easy” • Less focus on behavioral problem solving/RtI • Rushed FBAs, skimpy BIPs (technically inadequate) • Paper compliance • No or poor linkage of function to intervention • Reliance on: • Topography-based intervention “cookbooks” • Popular or peer-recommended interventions (e.g., Love & Logic, Conscious Discipline) • Customary or personally favored interventions (e.g., time out, red-yellow-green sticks)

  10. Educators Want “Fast & Easy” • Avoid consultation • Rely on indirect measures (likert-style rating scales) • No or limited use of intervention fidelity checks, or use of weak measures (e.g., adherence checks – The student was in the intervention setting for the designated time period) • Rely on old methods, such as mentalistic explanations & the refer test place model

  11. Educators Want “Fast & Easy” • But… “fast and easy” can sacrifice precision and produce undesirable outcomes. • However, behavior analysts sometimes contribute to complicating the assessment and intervention process: • 20-50 page FBA-BIPs • Technical jargon • Complex data recording forms and continuous data recording (every minute of the school day)

  12. How Behavior Analysts Can Make Applications of ABA More User-Friendly for Educators

  13. Include what is essential – trim the rest • Avoid excessive use of descriptive FBAs, with: • Multiple interviews • Use of screening tools • Lengthy naturalistic observations • Resulting interventions are more likely to fail • Weak function-to-intervention linkage • Educators become frustrated with slow process or lack of positive outcomes • Avoidance of ABA approaches increases

  14. Promote increased use of hypothesis testing (functional analysis): • Limited interview using open-ended tools (e.g., Greg Hanley) • Limited observation • Quickly develop hypothesis and test it • When feasible, conduct classroom trial-based functional analyses (refer to Sarah Bloom’s research) • When a skill deficit is identified, teach the skill and test the outcomes

  15. developed by Patrick McGreevy and Troy Fry, with assistance from Colleen Cornwall and Janine Shapiro behaviorchange.com • Communication, behavior, and functional skills assessment, curriculum, and skill-tracking instrument • for both children and adults with moderate-to-severe disabilities, including autism. • Especially useful for learners with limited communication repertoires, limited daily living skills, or severe problem behavior. • for developing long-term goals and short-term objectives for IEPs or support plans • for tracking skill acquisition and problem behavior

  16. Essential 8 Skills

  17. Improve Assessment and Intervention Plan Readability • Behavior analysts often write in a technical style for an audience of other behavior analysts • Much jargon • Lengthy documents • APA style • Pages filled with text, limited illustrations

  18. Improve Assessment and Intervention Plan Readability • Write for educators and parents (lay-persons) • General public prefers: Conversation style with intended benefits added (Rolider, Axelrod, and Van Houten, 1998; Rolider and Axelrod – in Heward et al. “Focus on Behavior in Education”) • Reduce technical jargon • Ask for feedback on readability • Measure readability: www.readabilityformulas.com

  19. Improve Assessment and Intervention Plan Readability • Construct “Job Aids” • APBA Newsletter – December 2008 - Practitioner's notebook - Acknowledging the Multiple Functions of Written Behavior Plans - James E. Carr • Use diagrams and flow charts • Use checklists • Supports training and integrity monitoring • Standard practice in other professions (surgeons, pilots, military) • Atul Gawande – “Checklist Manifesto”

  20. Improve Training Methods Avoid: • Basic awareness level PowerPoint presentations • One-shot in-services or multi-day training institutes • Not sufficient in generalizing knowledge to using new practices Promote skill-based training strategies including: • role play and modeling • job-embedded activities in a wide variety of settings • coaching and performance feedback • linking of practices to student outcomes • ongoing support (Fixsen et al. 2005; Joyce & Showers, 2002; Shellady & Stichter, 1999; Van Acker et al., 2005 – in Tier 3 Blueprint)

  21. Dispel Myths – Correct Misinformation About ABA • Mechanistic… kids just need unconditional love • M & M therapy • Bribes kids into behaving • Destroys intrinsic motivation • Turns kids into robots • Only effective with developmentally disabled

  22. Dispel Myths – Correct Misinformation About ABA • Myths may be contacted in college experiences and textbooks • Myths may be shared by peers • Educators need greater access to user-friendly sources of : • Factual ABA knowledge • Stories of successful FBAs and BIPs with students Rolider and Axelrod – in Heward et al. “Focus on Behavior in Education”

  23. BehaviorCanChange.com Two printable tri-fold brochures: * What You Need to Know About Effective Autism Treatment * What You Need to Know About Improving Your Child's School Performance Needs updating and more content

  24. Other recommendations • Brochures • Newsletter articles • Pro bono presentations • Revitalize and expand on the BALANCE initiative (Joe Wyatt et al.)

  25. HCPS Training Approaches • FBA/PBIP 101 Primer - Online 3 hour course • FBA/PBIP 101 Course – Lecture-style 6 hour course • FBA/PBIP 201 Hybrid Course – Self-study online materials and team meetings – Practice selecting function-based interventions for common behaviors • BCBA coursework - Cooperative professional development project with USF ABA Masters program • Reduced tuition costs due to HCPS providing instruction on school property – minimized actual expenses for USF • Basic Skill Coaching in Classrooms

  26. Share Tools That Support Linkage of Function to Intervention • interventioncentral.mysdhc.org/FBA-BIP

  27. Share Tools That Support Linkage of Function to Intervention • interventioncentral.mysdhc.org/FBA-BIP • Chandler and Dahlquist textbook – several chapters that link behavior function to practical evidence-based ABA interventions

  28. Functional Assessment: Strategies to Prevent and Remediate Challenging Behavior in School Settings3rd EditionChandler and Dahlquist Pearson paperback $63Amazon paperback $50CourseSmart e-book $25 Now in 4th Edition

  29. Share Tools That Support Linkage of Function to Intervention • interventioncentral.mysdhc.org/FBA-BIP • Chandler and Dahlquist textbook – several chapters that link behavior function to practical evidence-based ABA interventions • Cipani and Schock – excellent text that links behavior function to practical evidence-based ABA interventions – somewhat technical for educators with limited ABA training

  30. Functional Behavioral Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment A Complete System for Education and Mental Health Settings2nd Edition Cipani & SchockSpringer paperback $75Amazon paperback $58e-book $55

  31. Promote Assessments and Evidence-Based Interventions for Academic Concerns • Connect Academics and Behaviors !!! • Performance deficit (won’t do)? or Skill deficit (can’t do)? • Functional assessment approach to problem-solving

  32. A Model for Conducting a Functional Analysis of Academic Performance Problems • By Daly, Edward J., III; Witt, Joseph C.; Martens, Brian K.; Dool, Eric J. School Psychology Review, v26 n4 p554-74 1997 • Functional Assessment of Academic Behavior (FAAB)By Sandra Christenson and James E. Ysseldyke

  33. Academic Skills Problems, Fourth Edition: Direct Assessment and InterventionBy Edward S. Shapiro • Curriculum-Based Evaluation: Teaching and Decision Making By Kenneth W. Howell  and Victor Nolet

  34. Promote Efficient, Precise Direct Observation Behavior Measures • “Observation windows” to get representative samples (e.g., rate recording 10am-11am on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays) • Use of external observers • Time sampling • Interval recording • Low-tech methods (record on masking tape on back of teacher’s hand, slide beads on a lanyard; move rubber bands from one arm to another) http://interventioncentral.mysdhc.org/measure • Apps for smartphones and mobile devices http://interventioncentral.mysdhc.org/documents/DataRecordingTools.pptx

  35. Communicate When and How to Get Support from a Behavior Analyst • Set conditions on use of streamlined methods (triage-based decisions): • Not severe or high risk (e.g., pica, elopement) • Single, not multiple behaviors of concern or intervention settings • Not multiple or unidentified hypotheses • Not persistent (short history of reinforcement) • Not resistant to consultation • Not multiple failed interventions (poor RtI)

  36. Communicate When and How to Get Support from a Behavior Analyst • Set limits on short-cuts (“Isn’t there a 1 page FBA form?”) • Frequently promote when and how to get help with FBA-BIPs • Promote easy access to behavior analysts via brochures, newsletters, and emails • Maintain close connections with ESE and ASD staff, School Psychologists, and others to identify urgent referrals – regular meetings and presentations

  37. Finally… • Offer pro bono training and services to build rapport • Promote Awards of Excellence for teachers or teams using ABA • Be patient • Share resources and training across districts • Network !!! • Join the FABA Education SIG, now on Facebook! • Contact me: Kevin.Murdock@sdhc.k12.fl.us