THE CLINICIAN'S ROLE DURING MAINTENANCE

Although staff supervisors play a key role in maintaining staff provision of meaningful activities, there are several maintenance tasks that will usually need to be completed by someone other than the supervisors. These include summarizing, reviewing, and periodically testing the integrity of the monitoring data obtained by the supervisors. Additionally, supervisors themselves should receive feedback about their monitoring and the resulting data on participant involvement in meaningful tasks. The latter information should also be communicated to senior management to keep them abreast about the agency’s overall progress toward providing more meaningful activities. In most cases, behavior analysts and related clinicians will need to assume responsibility for performing these maintenance procedures.

Providing Feedback to Staff Supervisors

Just as the performance of direct support staff in providing meaningful activities is not likely to maintain without feedback from the supervisor, the supervisor’s performance in monitoring and giving feedback to staff is not likely to maintain without feedback (Green et al., 2002). Hence, the clinician should meet periodically with the supervisor to review the formal data on meaningful activities and to provide feedback. The format for providing feedback to the supervisor should be the same as the protocol for giving feedback to direct support staff described in Chapter 6, A Staff Training and Supervision Plan to Increase Meaningful Activities. However, the content of the feedback will be somewhat different. Specifically, when giving feedback to a supervisor, the clinician should highlight those staff who are performing well and discuss what the supervisor should do differently to help the staff who are not performing well. Other points to cover when giving feedback to a supervisor are his/her proficiency and frequency of monitoring the performance of the direct support staff (see subsequent section on integrity of monitoring).

An expeditious way for a clinician to provide feedback to a supervisor about his/her staffs’ provision of meaningful activities is to prepare graphic summaries. The graphs should reflect the formal data taken by the supervisor. For example, a line graph showing the percentage of meaningful activities observed during each monitoring session over time can be prepared for each staff and participant group under the supervisor’s direction (cf. Parsons et al., 1987). When the data are summarized in this manner, the clinician can point out trends in the data showing progress and/or lack thereof with respective participant groups. The clinician can then collaboratively plan with the supervisor what should be done next in response to the data. Additionally, the clinician can help the supervisor recognize how often he/she has monitored each group and determine if the monitoring frequency needs to be adjusted.

How often the clinician meets with a supervisor in the manner just described depends on how well the supervisor’s staff continue to perform. Feedback to the supervisors should generally be provided more frequently when various participant groups fall below the maintenance goal for meaningful activity involvement relative to when groups are doing well. Even when all the groups are doing well, however, the clinician typically should expect to provide feedback at least monthly to ensure that the supervisor continues to perform expected duties to effectively promote meaningful activity involvement.

 
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