Evaluation of behaviour supports in a school for students with developmental disabilities

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Heckert, Ryan
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Behaviour interventions are used in a wide variety of settings to support students who may display challenging behaviours. Though there is extensive literature on the effectiveness of behaviour supports, research is limited in the effectiveness of such services in schools that provide highly individualized support, such as St.Amant School, which was the focus of the present evaluation. Two studies were conducted to: (1) evaluate the use of behaviour supports and interventions in the St.Amant School and (2) to understand the impacts on behaviour when supports were suddenly removed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants included teachers and instructional assistants who completed a social validity questionnaire, and psychology staff who shared their perspective of the behaviour support model. The data included a combination of the archival behaviour tracking data, clinical plans for students, and questionnaires sent to the school and psychology teams. Where possible, students were grouped and their data were examined in a multiple-baseline approach. For the first study, the findings suggest that the model of service is applied consistently, with some minor flexibility noted by the respondents, and a review of the clinical plans suggest they contain an acceptable level of detail that would be expected in a behaviour plan. The interventions showed some positive effects on behaviour, but this finding was not present with all students. Finally, when school staff were surveyed, they provided responses that led to two main conclusions. First, school staff reported moderate to positive feedback on the use of interventions that are recommended for students. Second, school staff also reported that data tracking was a useful tool. With respect to the second study, the impacts of the school shutdown were found to be minimal, and that suddenly removing a behaviour intervention did not have notable adverse impacts when students returned to class.
behaviour supports, developmental disabilities, effectiveness of interventions