The Steps To Independence Trainer Program is a behavior change program
designed for instructors who will be training parents of children who need to
develop life skills to successfully function in a family or community setting. Parent
trainers who will be working with parents of young children who are physically,
emotionally and intellectually challenged are among those for whom this program is
The trainers will learn to carryout parent training programs that can be applied in the
home, the school or the community, i.e., wherever a child may be having adjustment
problems. Participants will learn to develop prescriptive interventions in which the
needs of the child become the foundation of a behavioral plan.
The types of child behaviors that typically become the focus of the program include:
- Self-injurious behaviors,
- Self-stimulation behaviors,
- Frequent and severe tantrums,
- Social withdrawal and isolation,
- Severe speech impairments,
- Obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and
- Severe aggressive behaviors
The program is carried out in three phases: Assessment, Program
Implementation, and Follow-Up.
Assessment: During this phase an initial behavioral assessment is carried out.
This assessment is the joint effort of the family, the provider and any other
person who might aid in the development of a behavior plan (such as a school
teacher, or medical professional). Based upon the information gathered during
the initial assessment, a behavior plan is designed and divided into weekly
The behavior plan contains goals, behavioral objectives, protocols for
reaching the behavioral objectives, and methods for evaluating the progress
being achieved. The behavior plan is presented to the family and other
significant individuals in the child's life for their review and comments. Prior to
implementation, any comments are included in the plan.
Program Implementation: During this phase the goals and behavioral
objectives outlined in the behavior plan are demonstrated, discussed and
modeled for the participating family members and other significant individuals.
Clients are usually seen three to four hours each week for approximately six to
twelve months. Throughout the Implementation Phase data is being collected
to evaluate the success of the behavior plan and to provide information as to
the need to augment the original plan. Each family is encouraged to
incorporate newly learned skills throughout their daily interactions with the
Follow-Up: The nature of the Follow-Up phase varies from child to child.
Depending upon need, some children require continued weekly sessions, while
still others maintain a high level of success with only a monthly telephone
contact. It is wise for children to be followed for a period of six months once
the formal intervention has been completed, and those responsible for
maintaining the behavioral advances are encouraged to look upon the program
as an ongoing resource of information and help.