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Due to the fact that previous studies on pyramidal training involved paid staff, the authors decided to conduct the study on pyramidal training with caregivers to find out efficiency of the pyramidal training model (Kuhn, Lerman & Vorndran, 2003). This article is related to my future teaching plan in that the positive impacted behavior of a primary learner can be transferred to many other individuals in order to provide a positive behavior change. The purpose of this paper will be to analyze positive behavior change.
Participants of this study included thee children. The first one was a child with stereotypic behavior of hand flapping. The second child had profound mental retardation, and the last one had severe mental retardation. Caregivers included the primary caregiver from each child who then identified two more caregivers. Caregivers held their training sessions at children’s homes. For the first child, caregiver training was done at child’s bedroom, and for the second child it was done at living room, and for the third child with severe mental retardation it was carried out in the kitchen (Kuhn, Lerman & Vorndran, 2003).
Specific behavior measure from the first child was stereotypic behavior, spitting for the second child, and non-compliance for the third child. Authors used frequency recording to collect data on spitting, stereotypic behavior and compliance. Spitting and stereotypic behavior were expressed in terms of responses given per minute while compliance was expressed in terms of percentage of instructional trials. For caregivers, treatment implementation measures were classified as consequences of a child behavior. Authors indicated that the findings of the study systematically replicated previous research studies and hence provided the reliability of the study. Authors supported the measures from participants to be valid through high accuracy level for observed variables. For instance, all caregivers were able to implement treatment procedures with accuracy of at least 80% (Kuhn, Lerman & Vorndran, 2003).
Before the actual study started, there was pre-training evaluation which formed the basis of the appropriate treatment for each child. In the first phase of the study, primary caregivers were trained on how to give treatment. There was baseline and training sessions. In baseline, primary caregiver was requested to respond to the child problem behavior without training at home. Caregiver of the first child with waving hand was to give the child preferred toys as she interacted with the child continuously, second caregiver with child having profound mental retardation was instructed to direct child’s attention to household activity as child played with few toys, and last caregiver with a child with severe mental retardation was to give a child academic tasks like naming objects and sorting colors (Kuhn, Lerman & Vorndran, 2003).
Then training was conducted to caregivers and they were given written and verbal instructions on the right treatment and performed role plays while experimenter gave feedback. After this training, experimenters taught primary caregivers how to conduct training sessions to other family caregivers and requested them to role play. This was followed by other caregivers implementing treatment using procedures primary caregivers provided. During all these sessions, data on child behavior, behaviors of a trainer, and trainee were collected (Kuhn, Lerman & Vorndran, 2003).
Problem behavior for a child with waving hand treatment reduced to almost zero in all caregivers. There was low level of spitting in the second child after provision of treatment by the mother, modest level of spitting with stepfather and pronounced reduction with his brother. Primary caregivers conducted all training procedures with high level of accuracy (Kuhn, Lerman & Vorndran, 2003).
It was observed that one member of the family could learn so fast and train other caregivers with potential of reaching many other caregivers without professional assistance. Limitations of the study were that child problem behavior was not immediately improved with treatment delivery which may discourage caregiver to adhere to treatment and that study did not assess long term improvement of child’s behavior or maintenance of caregiver’s skills. Future studies need to be conducted to compare long term impact of child behavior as a result of pyramidal training versus caregiver training offered traditionally (Kuhn, Lerman & Vorndran, 2003).
From my personal point of view, this article is very informative, however the objectives of the study were not explicitly stated and the study lacks logical conclusion.
Kuhn, S, A., Lerman, C. D., & Vorndran, M.C. (2003).Pyramidal training for families of children with problem behavior. Journal of applied behavior analysis, 36:77-88