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A Work in Progress: Ensuring Procedural Integrity within the QSAC School Programs

May 16, 2016 3:00 pm Published by

Procedural integrity is the extent to which an intervention is implemented as intended (e.g., Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007). There are a few other terms that have been used interchangeably with procedural integrity including treatment fidelity, treatment integrity and procedural fidelity. All of the above terms relate to the same basic theme: evidence based interventions should be applied as written to the greatest extent possible in order to achieve desired outcomes.

At the QSAC Day School and Preschool we prioritize the procedural integrity of our teaching procedures as part of our schoolwide Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS). Our PBIS framework includes 13 evidence based proactive/preventative strategies for increasing our students’ prosocial skills and improving overall behavior. Procedural integrity of teaching procedures may be the most important of these strategies. In order for our teaching procedures to be effective, they must be implemented correctly. In order to ensure this, we employ Behavioral Skills Training (BST).

BST is an evidence based practice for disseminating behavior analytic skills to caregivers of varying backgrounds and experience levels (Dib and Sturmey, 2007; Ryan, Hemmes, Sturmey, Jacobs, & Grommet, 2007; Sarokoff and Sturmey, 2004; Seiverling, Pantelides, Ruiz, & Sturmey, 2010; Ward-Horner & Sturmey, 2008). BST packages generally consist of four components: 1) instructions, 2) modeling, 3) rehearsal, 4) feedback. At the QSAC schools, we are continually in the process of creating BST packages in order to effectively train our staff members to implement teaching procedures correctly. This process involves two basic steps. First, we break down each of our teaching procedures into multi-step behavior chains. The process of breaking down chains of behavior into their component steps is called task analysis. The task analyses developed make up the “instructions” component of the BST package. The next step in the creation of our BST packages involves the creation of a model for each teaching procedure. We typically create video models by recording experienced staff members implementing procedures correctly with our students. We then edit these recordings by adding freeze frames and embedded text to highlight important aspects of the models and make it easier for staff members to match what they see in the model with the task analyzed instructions. These recordings make up the “model” component of the BST package.

Once the necessary materials for the BST package are complete, training for a targeted teaching procedure can begin. At the QSAC Day School, our Director and our ABA coordinators train all new staff members to implement our teaching procedures using BST packages. At the QSAC Preschool, our teachers use BST to train their new teaching assistants to implement these procedures, while our Director and ABA coordinators train only new teachers. Training begins when the trainer provides the trainee with the task analysis for the targeted teaching procedure. The trainer then provides the trainee with a model of the procedure either by presenting a video model, or by performing a live model. The trainee checks off the steps of the teaching procedure on his/her task analysis as they watch the model. The trainer then observes the trainee rehearse the teaching procedure several times and provides the trainee with immediate feedback on their performance errors. These rehearsal and feedback sessions continue until the trainee meets a predetermined competency level and is able to implement the procedure independently. At both QSAC school programs, we manage an extensive database of each staff member’s training and his/her competency levels in implementing our teaching procedures. Staff competence is an important measure of school program quality. At the QSAC schools we strive to maintain a high quality program by ensuring the procedural integrity of all of our teaching procedures as part of our schoolwide PBIS system.


LMaffei-Blog-BubbleLindsay Maffei-Almodovar, MS Ed, MA, BCBA, has worked in the field special education since 2001. She joined Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC) in 2011 and is currently the ABA Training & Development Coordinator. She is responsible for designing, evaluating and monitoring staff training initiatives at both the preschool and Day School programs. Lindsay is a certified New York State Early Childhood General & Special Education Teacher and a Licensed Behavior Analyst. Lindsay is also a doctoral student in the Behavior Analysis Training Area of the Psychology Department at Queens College and The Graduate Center City University of New York (CUNY). Her research focuses on efficient methods of training staff members in evidence based behavior analytic procedures.



Cooper, J.O., Heron, T.E, and Heward, W.L. (2007). Applied Behavior Analysis (2nd Edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall.
Dib, N., & Sturmey, P. (2007). Reducing student stereotypy by improving instructors’
implementation of discrete-trial teaching. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 40, 339-343.

Ryan, C. S., Hemmes, N. S., Sturmey, P., Jacobs, J. D., & Grommet, E. K. (2007). Effects of a
brief staff training procedure on instructors’ use of incidental teaching and students’ frequency of initiation toward instructors. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2,28–45.

Sarokoff, R. A., & Sturmey, P. (2004). The effects of behavioral skills training on staff implementation of discrete-trial teaching. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 37, 535-538.

Seiverling, L., Pantelides, M., Ruiz, H. H., & Sturmey, P. (2010). The effect of behavioral skills
training with general-case training on staff chaining of child vocalizations within natural language paradigm. Behavioral Interventions, 25, 53–75.

Ward-Horner, J., & Sturmey, P. (2008). The effects of general-case training and behavioral skills
training on the generalization of parents’ use of discrete-trial teaching, child correct responses, and child maladaptive behavior. Behavioral Interventions, 23, 271–284.

Valerie Smaldone to Emcee and Will & Anthony Nunziata to Headline Gala Benefiting Services for more than 2,100 Children and Adults with Autism

May 11, 2016 7:59 pm Published by
Valerie Smaldone
Valerie Smaldone

On Tuesday, June 14, 2016, QSAC (Quality Services for the Autism Community) will host its annual gala benefiting more than 2,100 children and adults with autism. Five-time Billboard Magazine Award winner and noted radio star, Valerie Smaldone will serve as the emcee for the event, which will feature a performance by recording artists and concert stars, Will & Anthony Nunziata.

The event will take place at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in New York City from 6:00PM to 10:00PM. At the event, QSAC will be honoring AT&T, Pratima and Avinash Malhotra and their family, and three members of QSAC’s management (Paul Naranjo, Cory Polshansky, and Lisa A. Veglia).

Will & Anthony
Will & Anthony Nunziata

The event is being chaired by Mark Lacher of Koeppel Auto Group who is serving in memory of his mother, Clara Lacher, who was also a QSAC founder. Koeppel Auto Group is also underwriting this year’s $15,000 cash raffle.

AT&T is being recognized with the 2016 Innovation in Accessibility Award for their Connect Ability Challenge, which was hosted in collaboration with NYU. The goal of the Connect Ability Challenge was to leverage mobile and wireless technologies to improve the lives of people living with disabilities.

Pratima and Avinash Malhotra, and their family, will be honored with QSAC’s Philanthropic Leadership Award for their outstanding service to QSAC. Mrs. Malhotra is a long-time board member of QSAC. The Malhotras will be recognized alongside both of their sons, Kanuj and Chetan.

In recognition of more than 20-years of service to the autism community, Paul Naranjo, Chief Financial Officer, Cory Polshansky, Deputy Executive Director, and Lisa A. Veglia, Deputy Executive Director, will be honored by the organization.

For additional information regarding the event, please visit or call (212) 244-5560 ext. 2000. QSAC is also hosting a silent auction, which will run simultaneously online at and is open to the public (gala ticket is not required to bid).


QSAC is a New York City and Long Island based nonprofit that supports children and adults with autism, together with their families, in achieving greater independence, realizing their future potential, and contributing to their communities in a meaningful way by offering person-centered services.

QSAC pursues this mission through direct services that provide a supportive and individualized setting for children and adults with autism to improve their communication, socialization, academic, and functional skills.