Greg Morro (Director of Psychological Services ) and Gina Morro (Groden Center) presented at the 5th International Conference on Positive Behavior Support in Chicago on March 27, 2008. The presentation described methods for supervisors to utilize positive behavior support principles in their interactions with staff working with adults with developmental disabilities, primarily by focusing on increasing desirable qualities rather than pointing out deficits. The session was entitled:
Be The Change You Want To See: PBS Principles Improve Supervisory Effectiveness This presentation described methods used to encourage supervisors to utilize positive behavior support principles in their interactions with direct support professionals working with adults with developmental disabilities in residential and community settings. The main objective is to offer alternative methods to aid the staff training and feedback processes. Developed behavioral and other treatment plans for consumers are often only as good as those directly responsible for daily implementation. If direct support staff are not satisfied with their roles and motivated to perform at a high level, delivery of quality services becomes difficult. There is also a general consensus that it is increasingly challenging to attract experienced and educated professionals to these positions. This approach trains individuals in supervisory roles to focus on increasing desirable qualities in staff, more so than dwelling on deficits. An underlying theory is that using positive behavioral principles in a varied application will also benefit supervisors' competences in effectively developing and monitoring programs with the consumers they serve. Minimal empirical literature will be used in the introduction-- the majority of the session will describe the procedures which were developed and implemented. An initial seminar was developed to introduce this behavioral approach with staff to a small agency's administrators, supervisors, nurses and other professionals. It highlighted many of the techniques successfully used with the population served, and then translated those methods to supervisory situations. Those attending were able to describe challenges they regularly faced, and the group developed potential "staff training interventions". For example, if a direct support staff regularly shows a poor interaction style, their supervisor may work to create an opportunity for a positive exchange and then reinforce the employee's actions. In the way of follow-up to the primary training, every two weeks at a Director's meeting, aspects of the first seminar were presented in detail and discussed. A number of methods were used to reinforce these points outside of formal in-services (i.e., visual representations, website, flyers, staff recognition program) on an ongoing basis. Effects on staff evaluations and job satisfaction surveys were analyzed.