Rosenberg TX – December 1, 2016 – Texana Center received notification in July that the organization had been awarded a grant to provide applied behavior analysis (ABA) training for Teachers/ Paraprofessionals by Texana’s Board-Certified Behavior Analyst staff. This grant was received from Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and was a collaborative grant proposal with the University of Houston Clear Lake.
Teachers in training receive relatively little formal instruction on behavior techniques and thus have to rely on in-service training which is typically restricted to large, lecture-based workshops conducted once or twice a year due to the time and costs associated with more extensive training programs. Unfortunately, the type of training received has not been as effective as training that consists of; instructions, modeling, practice with immediate feedback, performance- based mastery criteria, and strategies to promote generalization and maintenance. An additional barrier for schools is the lack of qualified trainers.
The University of Houston Clear Lake (UHCL), under the direction of Dr. Dorothy Lerman, has developed an intensive program in applied behavior analysis (ABA) techniques for teachers of children with autism and related disabilities. The week-long program, known as the “ABA Academy,” focuses on the core components of ABA. Teachers learn how toidentify and use reinforcers effectively; how to prompt and fade prompts; how to manage problem behavior and how to monitor students’ progress. Results from UHCL’s pilot program indicated that the training model was successful in helping teachers’ to obtain and use skills learned.
Texana will use the ‘ABA Academy’ model to provide intensive hands-on training to teachers and paraprofessionals on effective behavior analytic teaching practices for students with autism in Lamar CISD, Fort Bend ISD, and East Wharton County Cooperative. The program’s purpose is to ensure that all classroom staff is able to provide the most effective instruction possible for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and related disabilities.
The goal is for Texana Center to train 50 teachers and 100 paraprofessionals in a year who are, in turn, instructing a total of 168 students with ASD each year. Texana has provided ABA training for 5 teachers and 10 paraprofessionals from Lamar ISD; impacting 32 children with Autism diagnoses, and several more trainings are planned at the district. The next phase of training started on November 30 at Fort Bend ISD with another 5 more teachers and 10 paraprofessionals; impacting 20 more children with Autism diagnoses.
These teachers have participated in an intensive 2-day group training with a Texana Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and have received written materials, lectures, modeling, role play, and practice with feedback. This group training was followed by three individual full-day training sessions in their classrooms, at which time the BCBA’s answered questions, helped with problems, coached the teacher/paraprofessionals and provide feedback as necessary.
Beth Duncan MS., BCBA, who is managing the program on behalf of Texana Center, said “We are very excited about sharing our knowledge and expertise to help teachers in the classroom to be more effective when working with children with autism or related disorders.”