Consultation, Follow-Up, and Implementation of Behavior Management Interventions in General Education. (Special Topic)

By Noell, George H.; Duhon, Gary J. et al. | School Psychology Review, Spring 2002 | Go to article overview

Consultation, Follow-Up, and Implementation of Behavior Management Interventions in General Education. (Special Topic)


Noell, George H., Duhon, Gary J., Gatti, Susan L., Connell, James E., School Psychology Review


Abstract

This study examined general education teachers' implementation of behavior management interventions following consultation. Interventions were implemented for 8 elementary school students referred for consultation and intervention due to disruptive behavior in the classroom. Initial implementation varied across teachers, but became unstable or exhibited a downward trend in the absence of follow-up. Brief meetings that reviewed the intervention materials were associated with improved implementation for 1 teacher, marginal improvement for 2 others, and were ineffective for the fourth. Performance feedback resulted in high stable implementation. As follow-up meetings were provided less often, implementation remained generally high, but was somewhat less stable. Implementation for two subsequent referrals was at a higher level than the initial referrals. Teachers rated the consultants positively and students' behavior as changing in the desired direction. Observations prior to and after intervention supported tea cher ratings. The implications of these findings for consultation and intervention implementation are discussed.

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Consultation is a fundamental psychological service in schools and evidence from diverse sources support this assertion. When surveyed, school psychologists nearly universally report engaging in consultation beyond assessment to determine entitlement for special education services (Curtis, Hunley, Walker, & Baker, 1999). Similarly, practicing school psychologists report devoting a significant amount of time to consultation and intervention and would prefer to see that role expand (Reschly & Wilson, 1995). School psychologists and service recipients generally report that consultation is a valued and acceptable professional service (e.g., Sheridan & Stuck, 1995; Watkins, Crosby, & Pearson, 2001). Literature reviews have supported the efficacy of consultation services, while acknowledging gaps in and methodological limitations of the literature (Gresham & Kendell, 1987; Sheridan, Welch, & Orme, 1996). Additionally, consultation and intervention are dominant modes of service delivery in systems that have moved aw ay from traditional classification and segregation models toward noncategorical models emphasizing service delivery (Ikeda, Tilly, Stumme, Volmer, & Allison, 1996).

Despite its fundamental importance to the practice of school psychology and the broad advocacy for its expanded use, the empirical basis for consultation remains a work in progress. One of the primary gaps in the empirical literature is closely related to consultation's most unique feature as a professional practice. The efficacy of consultation services for students is largely dependent upon the degree to which they lead to implementation of planned programs by educators other than the consultant (Noell & Witt, 1996; Sheridan & Gutkin, 2000). In contrast to other practices such as psycho-educational assessment or counseling, for which school psychologists control the delivery of the service, consulting psychologists are dependent upon consultees such as other educators and parents to implement plans that may ultimately benefit students.

Although consultation interactions typically focus on the student's or client's behavior, supporting behavior change on the part of the consultee is frequently the initial challenge confronting consultants. It has been argued previously that assuring plan implementation is frequently more challenging than developing an appropriate intervention (Foxx, 1996; Noell et al., 2000). Common observations of practitioners and research describing practice suggest that accurate sustained implementation of interventions in schools is not assured (Happe, 1982; Kovaleski, Gickling, Morrow, & Swank, 1999; Noell, Gansle, & Allison, 1999). Although assuring plan implementation is one of the primary challenges confronting practitioners, empirically validated procedures for assuring plan implementation by consultees are not well developed (Kratochwill, Bergan, Sheridan, & Elliott, 1998; Noell & Witt, 1999; Sheridan & Gutkin, 2000). …

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