Preparing Behavioral Interventionists for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder via Telepractice
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The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the United States has increased exponentially within the past decade. The increasing prevalence has strained the current delivery system, resulting in a service-need gap. Identification of effective and efficient means of preparing ASD interventionists in evidence-based practices is necessary to address this gap. Telepractice, or instruction and support delivered using communication technologies (e.g., videoconferencing, online modules, and computerized software programs), has emerged as means of reducing this service-need gap by addressing barriers to obtaining quality training. To further the literature base, this dissertation contains two studies. The purpose of the first study was to synthesize the empirical literature on the use of telepractice to prepare ASD interventionists. The first study assessed the quality of the literature and identified future research priorities. A systematic search identified 12 studies for inclusion in the review. The 12 studies delivered training programs to 83 ASD interventionists, with reported improvements in interventionists’ skill reported for all 12 studies. The review also assessed the research quality of nine of the 12 included studies by applying researcher developed rubrics to evaluate the studies’ research rigor and effects of the trainings. None of the nine evaluated studies met all of the quality indicators for either group or single-case methodology. The second study evaluates the effects of a telepractice pyramidal training package on coaches’ and interventionists’ implementation of incidental teaching, as measured by the percentage of procedural steps completed and the number of communication opportunities offered. The effect of incidental teaching on students’ subsequent requesting behaviors was also obtained. Coaches were first taught to implement incidental teaching and then taught subsequent interventionists. The training package consisted of an online module, interventionist video self-evaluation, and feedback provided on interventionist self-evaluation via videoconferencing. Following the telepractice training program, coaches and interventionists reached the preset performance criteria and implemented incidental teaching with high fidelity. Generalization probes indicated that both coaches’ and the interventionists, for whom generalization was assessed, generalized their skills to a new setting. All of the child participants increased their requesting behavior above baseline levels.
Neely, Leslie (2015). Preparing Behavioral Interventionists for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder via Telepractice. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from