Increasing positive interactions between staff and individuals with disabilities: The impact of training on acquisition and maintenance

Kimberly Anne Martell


The primary purpose of the present study was to evaluate the use of direct training to increase the rate of positive interactions between direct care staff (DCS) and individuals with developmental disabilities who reside in intermediate care facilities. Specifically, this study evaluated whether real-time prompts delivered via a one-way radio would result in immediate and sustained increases in rates of DCS positive interactions. Additionally, this study evaluated the link between increased rates of DCS positive interactions and concomitant decreases in residents' challenging behaviors. A multiple baseline design across participants was implemented to assess DCS rates of positive and negative interactions. Results indicated that all participants increased their rates of positive interactions during direct training. Moreover, all but one participant continued to engage residents in positive interactions at levels above the criterion during the maintenance phase and follow-up phases. The participant who did not initially meet the criterion improved to adequate levels following one brief performance feedback session. Across phases, residents engaged in low levels of challenging behaviors, making those results difficult to evaluate. However, improvements in residents' rates of positive interactions were noted.