Date of Conferral

1-1-2011

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Benita Stiles-Smith

Abstract

Growing media attention and a high diagnosis rate of autism places significant demand on the service industry to provide qualified staff to work with individuals who have autism. Discrete trial instruction (DTI) is one of the most sought-after treatment approaches for those individuals. However, there is a gap in research regarding the efficacy of training methods for those who train direct staff to implement DTI. This quantitative study used an applied behavior analysis basis, deriving from foundations of behavior theory, to compare the abbreviated feedback form (AFF) to the lecture test model (LTM) to understand which will improve direct staff's ability to implement DTI more efficiently from baseline. The AFF provided for trainees a list of skills to implement tasks that have multiple steps. The LTM provided trainees a lecture of skills to understand basic applied behavior analysis, autism, and DTI. Four participating staff's baseline and training data were analyzed by comparing their scores to the set criterion from the AFF. The data were analyzed by both the program supervisor and the researcher, with inter-observer agreement reached. Using a single-subject, AB design, data demonstrated that staff who were trained using the AFF had significant improvement from baseline, compared to staff trained using the LTM. Supervisors who use the AFF to more efficiently and rapidly train staff may decrease the time gap between service recommendation and implementation, making needed treatment more readily available and efficacious to children diagnosed with autism. Improvements in staff skill set will likely have a direct correlation on the improvements and long term outcomes for those being treated.