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IES Grant

Title: Developing and Evaluating the Feasibility of a Manualized Tier 3 Problem Behavior Intervention for Young Children With Developmental Delay
Center: NCSER Year: 2020
Principal Investigator: Gerow, Stephanie Awardee: Baylor University
Program: Early Career Development and Mentoring      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (08/01/2020 - 07/31/2024) Award Amount: $493,412
Type: Training Award Number: R324B200034

Mentors: Conroy, Maureen; Davis, Tonya N.

Purpose: The Principal Investigator (PI) will conduct a program of research for improving behavior outcomes of young children with developmental delays while participating in mentoring and training activities to develop knowledge and skills related to adult learning strategies for early childhood professionals, mixed methods research, randomized controlled trials, and grant writing and management. Young children, age birth to three years old, with developmental delays are more likely to engage in severe problem behavior than their typically developing peers. Interventions, based on the results of a functional behavior assessment (FBA), can reduce severe problem behavior for young children; however, many early intervention specialists are not trained to support caregivers' implementation of these types of problem behavior interventions. The goal of the current study is to develop and test a manualized intervention process, Functional Behavior Assessment in Early Childhood (FBA-EC), to teach caregivers to implement problem behavior interventions for their young children with developmental delays. The process will involve (1) FBA and intervention identification, (b) early intervention specialist professional development by a behavior analyst, and (c) caregiver coaching by the specialist.

Research Plan: The purpose of the research plan is to iteratively develop, refine, and evaluate FBA-EC over the course of four years. In Years 1 and 2, the PI will develop an initial version of the intervention based on a systematic literature review and feedback from key stakeholders, including research experts, early intervention directors, behavior analysts, early intervention specialists, and caregivers. In Year 3, FBA-EC will be tested in a single-case design study. The intervention will be modified based on the study results, including feedback regarding the feasibility, acceptability, and sustainability of FBA-EC. In Year 4, the PI will conduct a small randomized controlled trial with approximately 12 early intervention specialists and 60 caregiver-child dyads to evaluate the promise of FBA-EC for improving early intervention specialists' self-efficacy, caregivers' competence, and children's behavior and social-emotional skills. Fidelity will be assessed through direct observation in the single-case design study and the randomized controlled trial. Feasibility, acceptability, and sustainability will be assessed through surveys and interviews with key stakeholders. Child outcomes will be assessed using a combination of observational and standardized measures. Data from the single-case design studies will be analyzed using visual analysis and effect size calculation. Data from the pilot study will be analyzed using multilevel modeling. The PI will also conduct a cost analysis to determine the cost of implementing the final version of the intervention.

Career Development Plan: Through a career development plan, the PI intends to build expertise in the following areas: (1) content knowledge in evidence-based adult learning strategies for early childhood professionals, (2) mixed methods research, (3) randomized controlled trials, and (4) grant writing and grants management. To accomplish these goals, the PI will meet with mentors, receive guidance from an expert advisory board, audit courses and participate in workshops related to mixed methods research and randomized controlled trials, and attend trainings on grant writing and grants management.