On Friday, January 19, 2018, Guidance Counsellors and Special Educators assigned to the TCIG public schools commenced their participation in an Online Training Series hosted by the Center for Children with Special Needs (CCSN) under the overall direction of Dr Michael Powers, an assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology at the Yale Child Study Center.
This training series is part of a comprehensive collaborative program consultation project between CCSN and the Ashley Learning Center in Providenciales under the passionate leadership of Mrs. Angela Williams-Valerio. In May 2017, Mrs. Williams-Valerio facilitated the professional linkage between the CCSN and representatives from both the Ministries of Education and Health and a commitment was made to extend the benefit of the partnership between CCSN and the Ashley Learning Center to the Education and Health Sectors.
The Training Series consists of six training modules (2.5hrs each) designed to provide participants with an introduction to teaching principles that are guided by the science of applied behaviour analysis (ABA). The topical areas to be covered in the series include conceptual knowledge, terminology, and a basic application of ABA that participants will be able to use to meet the individualised learning needs of students with Special Education Needs (SEN), including Autism Spectrum Disorder and other complex neurodevelopmental disorders.
During each session, a board certified behaviour analyst (BCBA) uses a tele-health platform to present information via a visual media-supported lecture (e.g. slides, video clips). At the end of the training series, it is expected that participants will be able to:
- Identify the key features of evidence-based instructional procedures in both structured and unstructured environments.
- Utilize individualized reinforcement procedures to increase student motivation.
- Identify how antecedents and consequences are used to determine the function of challenging behavior.
- Identify the difference between reinforcement and punishment with regards to the impact of each on student behavior.
- Identify a functionally equivalent behavior to teach as an adaptive replacement for challenging behavior.
- Identify various antecedent and consequence-based interventions and the impact of these interventions on student learning.
- Embed visual supports to enhance student learning.
- Describe the importance of on-going analysis and identify common methods for data collection.
A number of different CCSN Clinical Staff from various disciplines support this project with both direct and tele-health consultation. The primary instructors for the Training Series are Ms. Shaunessy Egan, M.S. Ed., BCBA, and Ms. Cali McGinn, M.A., BCBA from the CCSN’s base in Glastonbury, Connecticut. Ms. Egan is a BCBA and certified special education teacher who serves as a Program Coordinator at CCSN. She has experience providing direct instruction to learners with various needs, creating individualized curriculum adaptations, developing comprehensive educational plans, and consulting to school systems and families. Ms. McGinn is also a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) and certified special education teacher. She serves as a Senior Behavior Analyst at CCSN with experience providing consultative program development support to educational teams and experience implementing Positive Behavioural Interventions and Supports in schools. The training series will be further supported by Ms. Colleen Suzio, M.S., BCBA and Ms. Gosia Bochenska, M.S., BCBA, who also both serve as Senior Behavior Analysts at CCSN.
While the sessions have been made mandatory for all Guidance Counsellors and Special Educators in the TCIG public schools, the Department of Education has been keen to invite the participation and involvement of ALL educators within the public and private sectors. By the end of the second session which was held on Friday, February 16, 2018, some twenty-eight participants from both sectors had enrolled including the Special Educators assigned to Special Needs Unit’s SNAP Centre in the Ministry of Health.