DISSERTATION DEFENSE ANNOUNCEMENT Ed.D. Program: Jenna Budge “Training Practitioners to Conduct Trial-based Functional Analysis with Adults with Autism Using Pyramidal Behavior Skills Training”

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

As the rates of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) increase, so does the need to provide high-quality and empirically validated supports across the lifespan. Despite a majority of an individual’s life taking place in adulthood, it is well-documented that the supports and services for adults with ASD are severely lacking. This is evidenced by outcomes indicating that many adults on the spectrum are unemployed, underemployed, or do not have appropriate services to support accessing the community. Challenging behavior is one of the most significant barriers to accessing community participation and employment. Individuals with ASD who present with challenging behavior require empirically validated methods that lead to function-based treatment. Trial-based functional analysis (TBFA) is a method of determining the function of behavior that is well-suited to community settings. However, adult services often lack the resources and qualified staff required to conduct specialized assessments, such as TBFAs. There is a need for empirically validated training methodologies (e.g., Behavior Skills Training) coupled with strategies that reduce required resources (pyramidal training) to improve the outcomes for adults with ASD.

As such, the purpose of the current study was to determine if a functional relationship exists between: (a) pyramidal Behavior Skills Training (BST) on the training of graduate students to conduct TBFA with center-employed job coaches and (b) the accuracy of implementation of TBFA conducted by trained job coaches. Specifically, I taught three graduate students to train six job coaches to conduct a TBFA and measured the effects with a multiple probe single case design. The use of pyramidal BST procedures produced a statistically significant increase in correct implementation of TBFA between pre-training and post-training with large effects.

Keywords: autism, ASD, behavior skills training, trial based functional analysis, staff training, special education

To access the Zoom link required to attend, please contact academic.services@gse.rutgers.edu.