Behavioral Interventions

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Volume 8 Issue 3 (July 1993), Pages fmi-fmi, 163-226

Preparing direct service staff to teach people with severe disabilities: A comprehensive evalution of an effective and acceptable training program (pages 163-185)


In light of the continuing need for residential, direct service staff to be able to teach people with severe disabilities, we comprehensively evaluated a program to train staff in behavioral teaching strategies. The program was developed and evaluated with attention given to recent concerns in the staff management literature regarding shortcomings with staff training research. The training program, involving a maximum of four, 2‐hr classroom instruction sessions and three in vivo observation and feedback sessions, was evaluated in four studies. In Study 1, the program was shown to improve verbal skills of 13 direct service staff regarding behavioral teaching principles and terminology. In Study 2, the program was demonstrated to improve performance based teaching skills of nine staff and four staff supervisors. In Study 3, the program was shown to result in improvements in adaptive skills of three clients with severe disabilities when direct care staff used their newly acquired teaching skills with the clients. In Study 4, the training program was shown to be well received among 17 staff trainees, although the trainees were more accepting of some program components than others. Results of the studies are discussed in regard to the importance of agencies providing effective and acceptable staff training programs. Future research areas also are noted, focusing on the need to determine, and minimize where possible, the amount of time required to conduct successful staff training.

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