The use of video tele-conferencing to train teachers to assess the challenging behaviors of children with autism spectrum disorders
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Educational legislation requires the implementation of a functional assessment for students with disabilities who engage in challenging behavior that could lead to a change in their educational placement (IDEA Amendments, 1997; IDEA, 1990; IDEA Improvement Act, 2004). Research has shown that teachers can implement functional assessments with intensive instruction and performance feedback, yet this training can be difficult to carry out in educational settings with limited resources to provide such supervision. In the health care field, video teleconferencing (VTC) is used to overcome specialist shortages and provide supervision. Such technology might be used to deliver training and performance feedback to teachers learning to assess challenging behavior, but few studies have reported the use of VTC in educational settings. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the use of performance feedback delivered via VTC on the acquisition and maintenance of functional analysis procedures by 6 teachers. Concurrent multiple baseline designs across teacher-student dyads with embedded multi-element designs were used to evaluate the effects of performance feedback delivered via VTC on the percentage of functional analysis procedures implemented correctly. Performance feedback via VTC was provided once per week over an average of 6 weeks until each teacher implemented the procedures of each functional analysis condition (i.e., escape, attention, and play) at 100% accuracy over three consecutive sessions. Results indicated that performance feedback delivered via VTC was effective to train the teachers to independently implement functional analysis conditions. These results were maintained at or near criterion performance four weeks following the termination of performance feedback for 4 teachers. Each teacher rated performance feedback delivered via VTC positively with respect to the training procedures and the outcomes of training. The results and limitations of this study, and relevant areas for future research are discussed.