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Training Paraprofessionals to Implement Systematic Instruction Through a Pyramidal Approach Using Behavioral Skills Training
AuthorPrudente, Jodee Prudente A
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Teaching students with intellectual and development disabilities (IDD) can often be a difficult and complex job. Teachers frequently rely on educational support staff or paraprofessionals to assist in the classroom in a variety of ways. However, paraprofessionals are unlikely to come into the classroom with the knowledge and skills needed to perform all duties that are asked of them. Paraprofessionals require on the job training and support to meet the needs of students. Teachers are unlikely to have had any preparation on how to train support staff. The purpose of this study was to examine the use of behavioral skills training (BST) within a pyramidal approach to training paraprofessionals. Paraprofessionals were trained to implement systematic instructional plans including a constant time delay response prompting procedure. Using a multiple probe design across participant triads, teachers, paraprofessionals, and students, the effects of the intervention package on the accuracy of paraprofessional implementation of systematic instructional plans and student progress were examined. Social validity was measured with pre- and post-surveys to examine the social impact of intervention goals, procedures, and effects on teachers and paraprofessionals as well as how it may have impacted students. This study successfully demonstrated the efficiency, feasibility, and acceptability of a pyramidal approach in the training of teachers to train five paraprofessionals to implement systematic instructional plans with CTD for students with significant IDD in a classroom setting, with data supporting paraprofessional generalization of behavior and maintenance of improvements following the conclusion of the study. The training intervention package used the evidence-based BST model including rationale, description, succinct written directions, demonstration, role-play, feedback, and practice to mastery. Implications for the training of teachers and paraprofessionals working with students with IDD are discussed.