Using Behavioral Science to Improve Fidelity of Implementation of Behavior Support Plans in Schools (Wendy Machalicek)

Treatment fidelity, or the extent to which the intervention is implemented as intended, is widely regarded as essential for improving child outcomes in school settings. Treatment fidelity includes the components of adherence, dosage, quality of programs/intervention delivery, participant responsiveness, and program differentiation. The systematic implementation of functional behavior assessment (FBA) and multi-component behavioral intervention plans for children with autism spectrum disorder can pose a fidelity of implementation challenge for classroom teachers and schools due to the relatively intensive amount of effort required for teachers to acquire new knowledge and skills and implement individualized plans with high fidelity. When we ask a teacher, parent, or other adult change agent to implement an intervention, they may implement the intervention with fidelity, prematurely abandon the intervention, implement the intervention incorrectly, or implement the intervention with lower fidelity than is necessary to achieve positive outcomes. For children with autism spectrum disorder who engage in challenging behavior that disrupts their learning or the learning of their peers, the effective treatment of challenging behavior can remove barriers to learning and improve classroom climate. This talk reviews the behavioral science literature related to interventions targeting improved implementation fidelity in school and other settings, situates the treatment challenges of teachers addressing challenging behavior in schools alongside this literature, and provides suggestions for future research and practice to ultimately improve behavioral and academic outcomes for children with autism spectrum disorder.
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Wendy Machalicek, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Presented at the 2020 Michigan Autism Conference
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