Iowa's UCEDD Training Behavior Teams Improve Outcomes for Students Engaging in Challenging Behaviors

November 28, 2016

Since 2009, Brenda Bassingthwaite, PhD and David Wacker, PhD at the Center for Disabilities and Development (Iowa's UCEDD) have led efforts to train school-based behavior teams thru contracts from the Iowa Department of Education. 

The CDD training teams have worked with 19 school-based behavioral teams, varying in size from one to nine members, to teach them how to design, conduct, and analyze results of different behavioral assessments (e.g., preference assessments, functional analysis).  Ten of the 19 teams have graduated from training and are now training other personnel in conducting these assessments. 

Students referred to the behavior teams engage in a variety of challenging behaviors including self-injury, aggression, destruction, and elopement.  Outcome data were collected from a random sample of the 133 students evaluated during training days during 2015-16.  For 76% of the 44-student sample, a decreasing trend in problem behavior was observed after the school-based behavior team assisted in putting a new plan in place based on assessment data.  The average amount of reduction in problem behavior for 19 students was 64%, and the average increase in appropriate behavior for 13 students was 30%.  For the 38% of the students in which seclusion or time-out was used prior to referral to the behavior team, 100% of the students experienced a reduction in both frequency and duration of time-out.  For the 23% of the students in which physical restraints were used prior to referral, 100% of the students experienced a decrease in the duration of restraint, and 83% experienced a decrease in frequency.  Skills training for nine teams continues this year. 

For more information, please contact Brenda Bassingthwaite (brenda-bassingthwaite@uiowa.edu). 

Pictured is Brenda Bassingthwaite working with trainee, Courtney Micheel, MS, BCBA, of Iowa City Community School District, with a student.