Behavioral Skills training to Teach Staff in Human Services: An Evidence-Based Practice, But What Good Is It?

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About the presentation: 

Behavioral skills training (BST) is an intervention package to teach skills in a wide range of contexts. Over 100 experiments and multiple systematic reviews confirm that it is a robustly effective evidence-based practice (EBP). So, why do human services not rush to implement it? This presentation reviews the evidence for the effectiveness of BST. It then reviews the evidence that BST is not used too much, except in islands of excellence. The presentation goes on to explore the reasons for human services’ failure to adopt this EBP in terms of lack of knowledge, lack of skill, competing contingencies, lack of clinical and administrative persistence. Finally, it explores one or two models used to disseminate EBPs that might be models for the dissemination of EBPs such as BST. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to describe features of BST.
  • Participants will be able to describe the current literature summarizing the effectiveness of BST.
  • Participants will be able to describe organizational factors that promote and inhibit the uptake and maintenance of BST.

About the presenter:

Peter Sturmey is Professor of Psychology at The Graduate Center and the Department of Psychology, Queens College, City University of New York. He specialized in autism and other developmental disabilities, especially in the areas of applied behavior analysis, dual diagnosis, evidence-based practice, and staff and parent training. He gained his PhD at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom and subsequently taught at the University of the South West (Plymouth) and University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. He then worked for the Texas Department of Mental Retardation from 1990-2000 as Chief Psychologist, first at Abilene then at San Antonio State School during a federal class action lawsuit. There he supervised behavioral services and master’s level psychologists providing behavior support plans for severe behavioral and psychiatric disorders in adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities and implemented large-scale active treatment and restraint reduction programs. Professor Sturmey has published 28 edited and authored books, over 225 peer reviewed papers, over 80 book chapters and made numerous presentations nationally and internationally, including recent presentations in Canada, Brazil and Italy. His research focuses on developing and evaluating effective and efficient ways of training caregivers using modeling and feedback to use applied behavior analysis with children and adults with autism and other disabilities.