• A Survey of Preschool Special Education Professionals and Their Use of Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports in Early Childhood Settings

      Tincani, Matt; Thurman, S. Kenneth; Hantula, Donald A.; DuCette, Joseph P. (Temple University. Libraries, 2019)
      This study sought to describe the current implementation of behavioral strategies across Tiers 1, 2 and 3 of the preschool Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS) model by preschool special education professionals in the state of Pennsylvania (PA). Both federal and state mandates have urged and required the use of PBIS in early childhood settings to alleviate issues of challenging behavior, while simultaneously reducing suspension and expulsion at the early childhood level. As such, the current study attempted to outline the level of preparation and training received by preschool special education professionals, across all disciplines, in the area of PBIS by higher education entities, as well as through their preschool special education employers. Furthermore, the study looked to analyze the reported implementation of PBIS strategies across tiers by the special education professionals within early childhood settings across regions of PA. Approximately 780 preschool special education professionals were surveyed and a total of 248 responded, resulting in a 31.8% response rate. A descriptive survey approach was utilized and univariate analyses, as well as one-way ANOVA and correlational analyses were conducted. Results showed the current state of PBIS implementation in PA through preschool special education professionals remains variable, inconsistent and possibly under-supported by employers and higher education entities. A large percentage of the overall population, 62%, reported having taken 0 credits in PBIS-related content at the higher education level. Approximately 65% reported two or fewer trainings offered by their employer in the past two years, however, 70% of the respondents reported being offered coaching in PBIS. Behavior Support Specialists, Special Education Teachers and Occupational Therapists are among the top three defined professional roles that consistently report implementing strategies with higher frequencies than other defined disciplines. Tier 1 strategies are implemented at higher frequencies than Tier 2 strategies and Tier 2 strategies are implemented with higher frequencies than Tier 3 strategies. Specific, targeted areas of global PBIS requirements can be increased to possibly result in an overall increase in the fidelity of PBIS strategy implementation and a decrease in reported suspensions and expulsions, these include the use of preschool special education professionals on early childhood-based PBIS leadership teams and an increase in the frequency of data collection and analysis. There are also a number of reported barriers, including capacity of early childhood program staff and parental and familial involvement that reportedly inhibit preschool special education professionals from successfully and consistently implementing PBIS in early childhood settings.