Training Initiatives

To provide educational opportunities to enhance services across the state, Texas Health and Human Services develops and provides free training. Training initiatives are based on needs of service providers, people receiving services and supports, and emerging and best practices.

Below, you will find a list of training opportunities available to you with a description of each course and instructions on how to access them.

Employment Services

The following web-based trainings provide an overview of waiver employment services and other key issues related to employment in Texas. The trainings are a resource for professional staff, direct service workers, family, other caregivers and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who get services from HHS. Each of the courses below includes a link to the training and a separate end-of-course quiz.

CLASS Trainings

There are three Community Living Assistance and Support Services trainings in this series:

These three trainings give a foundation of understanding of employment services within the CLASS waiver. The payer of first resort and the basics of providing employment services will be covered.

Each training has a corresponding quiz:

TWS-VRS Overview

The Texas Workforce Solutions-Vocational Rehabilitation Services Overview web-based training provides a foundation for understanding TWS-VRS and how it relates to home and community-based waiver services. The training has a corresponding quiz.

SSI/SSDI Benefits Overview

The SSI/SSDI Benefits Overview web-based training provides a basic foundation for understanding Supplemental Security Income and Supplemental Security Disability Insurance and provides contact information for people who can help you further understand these programs. The training has a corresponding quiz.

Employment First

The Employment First web-based training covers Texas' new Employment First policy. The training has a corresponding quiz.

Visit the HHS Employment First website.

HCS and TxHmL

There are two Home and Community-based Services and Texas Home Living trainings in this series:

The web-based trainings cover employment services provided through HCS and TxHmL, information about the payer of first resort for employment assistance, and the basics of providing these services. They are designed to enhance staff knowledge about providing quality employment services to people enrolled in the waivers.

Each training has a corresponding quiz.

Direct Service Workers

The Direct Service Workers web-based training provides information about employment services and how direct service workers can support people achieve their employment goals. The training covers federal and state initiatives related to employment for people with disabilities and touches on issues related to people who work and receive SSI or SSDI benefits. The training has a corresponding quiz.

Deaf Blind with Multiple Disabilities

There are two Deaf Blind with Multiple Disabilies trainings in this series:

The DBMD Employment Assistance and Supported Employment web-based trainings cover employment services provided through the waiver, information about the payer of first resort for employment assistance, and the basics of providing this service. These trainings are designed to enhance staff knowledge about providing quality employment services for people enrolled in the waiver.

Each training has a corresponding quiz:


Free Positive Behavior Management and Support Workshops

Proactive approaches to establishing positive relationships is essential for caregivers. Positive Behavior Management and Support can be a valuable tool in meeting the needs of the people we serve. The PBMS workshops provide the skills you need to help people eliminate or reduce challenging behaviors and incorporate positive behaviors into their lives to achieve their goals.

This 10-hour training teaches participants how and why attention can be a powerful tool for behavior change, how to use reinforcement to tip the scales toward adaptive, positive or successful behaviors, and how to safely and effectively redirect potentially harmful behaviors as a last resort.

2019 Training Dates and Registration

HHS will hold five PBMS workshops in 2019. They are free and open to anyone who works directly with the following populations: intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health, school-age, elderly, nursing home and direct care.

Note: Continuing education units will be provided at the end of the second day. Leaving early or only attending one day forfeits your CEUs.

Click a link below to register for the session you are interested in.

Questions and Answers

Q. Is there a registration fee to attend the training?

No. This is a complimentary training. However, space is limited, so register as soon as possible.

Q. What is the limit on attendance at each training?

Each training is limited to 150 people. If you register and are not able to make it for any reason, please let us know so we can make space available for other interested parties.

Q. Will meals be provided at the training?

No. Meals are the responsibility of the attendee. There will be no food at the trainings.

Q. Are CEUs provided for this training?

Yes. CEUs for social work, psychology, LPA and LPC are provided. Board-certified behavior analyst CEUs are not.

Q. Can you earn CEUs for attending one day or partial attendance?

No. CEUs will be provided at the end of the second day. Leaving early or only attending one day forfeits your CEUs.

Meet the Presenters

Richard Smith

Richard Smith received his masters and doctoral degrees at the University of Florida. After receiving his doctoral degree, Smith joined the faculty at the University of North Texas where he served as chair of the Department of Behavior Analysis for 13 of his 25 years on the job. His primary research interest is in the assessment and treatment of behavior disorders in people with intellectual disabilities with specific areas of focus in motivational variables, advances in functional analysis procedures and the use of complex research designs to investigate basic principles underlying the effects of behavioral interventions. His research has resulted in numerous presentations and publications and he has served on the editorial board and as associate editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis for many years. He directs the Behavior Analysis Resource Center located on the campus of the Denton State Supported Living Center, where he and his staff and students provide caseload, clinical and caregiver training services.

Awards:

  • “B.F. Skinner New Researcher Award” for innovative and important behavioral research by a new investigator, August 1997. Presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Division 25, Chicago, Illinois.
  • Developing Scholar Award, University of North Texas, Fall 1999.
  • Texas Association on Mental Retardation Research Award for Outstanding Research Contributions in the Mental Retardation Field, August 2000.
  • Award for Distinguished Faculty Service, Special Recognition Award for 10 Years of Meritorious Service. Awarded Fall 2004. Denton State School, Denton, Texas.
  • Hiram J. Friedsam Award of Distinction for Outstanding Faculty Contributions, UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service. Awarded May 2007.
  • Honor Professor, University of North Texas Student Government Award. Awarded April 2011.
  • Career Contributions to Behavior Analysis in Texas Award, Texas Association for Behavior Analysis, February 2014.
  • UNT President’s Special Faculty Recognition Award, October 2017

Joseph Dracobly

Joseph Dracobly, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA

Joseph Dracobly received his undergraduate degree in psychology and Italian studies from Gonzaga University in 2005. In 2009, he received his Master of Science in behavior analysis from the University of North Texas under the supervision of Richard Smith. In 2014, he received his Ph.D. in behavioral psychology from the University of Kansas under the supervision of Claudia Dozier. After graduating from the University of Kansas, from 2014-2018, he was an assistant professor of psychological science at Eastern Connecticut State University.

In August 2018, Joseph joined the faculty in the Department of Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas as an assistant professor. He is currently a board-certified behavior analyst and a Licensed Behavior Analysis in the state of Texas. Along with Richard Smith, Dracobly supervises a clinical and research project at the Denton State Supported Living Center. At this project, graduate students have the opportunity to learn behavior analytic skills related to clinical service delivery as a unit behavior analyst, serve as part of interdisciplinary team, conduct pre-service, new employee training, and conduct intensive clinical intervention as part of a research lab specializing in the assessment and treatment of severe problem behavior.

This fall, Dracobly also started the Creativity and Problem Solving lab. Dracobly has also served as a guest reviewer for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Behavior Analysis in Practice, the Psychological Record and the European Journal of Behavior Analysis.

Carla Smith

Carla Smith serves as director of University of North Texas’ Behavior Analysis Resource Center where she oversees student clinical experience at the Denton State Supported Living Center. Smith received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in behavior analysis at the University of North Texas and is a board-certified behavior analyst and a BACB-approved supervisor. Smith’s areas of interested are improving assessment and treatment of behavior disorders, organizational behavior management, and performance based staff training. She has presented her research to the Association for Behavior Analysis International Conference and has published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and the European Journal of Behavior Analysis.

Audrey Newkirk

Audrey Newkirk is senior project coordinator for University of North Texas’ Behavior Analysis Resource Center overseeing competency-based staff training of behavior management skills at the Denton State Supported Living Center. Newkirk received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in behavior analysis at UNT and is a board-certified behavior analyst. She supervises and mentors students who obtain practical training in the assessment and treatment of behavior disorders, competency-based staff training, behavior skills training, teaching clients to cooperate with and tolerate routine health care procedures, and the evaluation of procedural fidelity in program implementation. She has completed research on the development and evaluation of a large-scale pyramidal staff training program for behavior management. Her original work was presented at the 2014 meeting of the Association of Behavior Analysis International conference, and she and her students continue to present extensions and refinements of this work at regional and national conferences.

Katy Atcheson

Katy Atcheson has been the project manager for the Behavior Analysis Resource Center since 2006, where she provides training and oversight to undergraduate and graduate students at the Denton State Supported Living Center. Katy received her bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno and her master’s degree in behavior analysis at the University of North Texas; in 2006 she became a board-certified behavior analyst and is a BACB-approved provider of supervised experience. Her primary interests and expertise are in the area of assessment and treatment of severe challenging behavior. Her 16 years of experience treating people who engage in extreme, severe behavior have led to her passion to help and train future behavior analysts, providers and caregivers to better understand and more effectively manage their day-to-day behavioral challenges.

Mental Health Wellness for Individuals with IDD

The Mental Health Wellness for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is a six-part e-learning course that teaches direct service workers and other caregivers about the behavioral health needs of people with IDD who also have a mental health condition. The course will help you understand the biological, psychological and social influences on people with IDD who have challenging behaviors, and will provide tools to help you support the person and promote positive behavior and outcomes.

Through the modules in this course, which are outlined below, you will learn to recognize the "whole person," and to gain a better understanding of different factors that influence the way people with IDD think, feel and behave. You will also learn how you can positively impact their quality of life.

Co-occurring Disorders: Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Mental Illness (Part 1 of 6)

Co-occurring Disorders: Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Mental Illness teaches direct serice workers and other caregivers about the mental health needs of people with IDD and what it means to have a co-occurring IDD and mental health condition.

People with IDD are more likely to have a mental health condition than the general population, even though they are less likely to be diagnosed. This module explores how mental health conditions are often overlooked in people with IDD who have challenging behavior, and offers strategies to direct service workers who support people with IDD who have co-occurring conditions. Accurate diagnosis and positive supports improves recovery outcomes.

Who should take this course: Anyone who supports people with an IDD and a co-occurring behavioral health need can benefit from this course. At the end of the module you will receive a certificate as proof you've completed the course. Make sure you print the certificate immediately upon completion or save it to your computer as you will not be able to access it later through the e-learning system.

Trauma-informed Care for Individuals with IDD (Part 2 of 6)

Trauma-informed Care for Individuals with IDD teaches direct service workers and other caregivers about the effect of trauma on people with IDD and how to use a trauma-informed care approach with the people they support. People with IDD who have a history of trauma might have challenging behavior we do not always recognize as symptoms of their trauma. The trauma-informed care approach looks at challenging behavior in a new way and emphasizes the importance of supporting mental wellness in people recovering from trauma.

Who should take this course: Anyone who supports people with IDD and a trauma history can benefit from this course. New employees of intermediate care facilities and state supported living centers who will be working directly with people with IDD are required to take this course. At the end of the module, you will receive a certificate as proof you've completed the course. Make sure you print the certificate immediately upon completion or save it to your computer as you will not be able to access it later through the e-learning system.

Functional Behavior Assessment and Behavior Support [Part 3 of 6]

Functional Behavior Assessment and Behavior Support teaches direct service workers and other caregivers the foundational principles of positive behavior support. All behavior is a form of communication that serves a purpose. This module teaches the concepts of functional behavior assessment, which is a process for gaining an understanding why behavior occurs. Identifying what a person is attempting to communicate through their behavior will help you support that person to meet their personal goals. Positive behavior support focuses on increasing person's quality of life. When people are happier, they are less likely to have challenging behavior and more likely to achieve mental wellness.

Who should take this course: Anyone who supports people with an IDD and a co-occurring behavioral health need can benefit from this course. At the end of the module, you will receive a certificate as proof you've completed the course. Make sure you print the certificate immediately upon completion or save it to your computer as you will not be able to access it later through the e-learning system.

Overview of Genetic Syndromes Associated with IDD (Part 4 of 6)

Overview of Genetic Syndromes Associate with IDD teaches direct service workers and other caregivers about different genetic syndromes associated with IDD. Knowing about genetic syndromes and the risks for medical and mental health disorders allows us to provide better, targeted support. Understanding a person's genetic syndrome provides valuable information helping you to establish a foundational relationship with the personal. While the focus of this module is on teaching about genetic syndromes, it underscores the qualities that make each person unique and emphasizes the importance of the relationship between the direct service worker and the person they support in achieving mental wellness.

Who should take this course: Anyone who supports people with an IDD and a co-occurring behavioral health need can benefit from this course. At the end of the module, you will receive a certificate as proof you've completed the course. Make sure you print the certificate immediately upon completion or save it to your computer as you will not be able to access it later through the e-learning system.

Overview of Medical Diagnoses Associated with IDD (Part 5 of 6)

Overview of Medical Diagnoses Associated with IDD teaches direct service workers and other caregivers about common medical conditions that influence people with an IDD and the direct impact these conditions can have on mood and behavior. Often people with an IDD might have underlying medical conditions or problems that influence the way they behave. Challenging behavior usually does not tell us what is wrong, just that something is wrong. This module explores how behaviors might be an individual's attempt to communicate physical pain or illness. It provides strategies for direct service workers to support person's physical and mental wellness.

Who should take this course: Anyone who supports people with an IDD and a co-occurring behavioral health need can benefit from this course. At the end of the module you will receive a certificate as proof you've completed the course. Make sure you print the certificate immediately upon completion or save it to your computer as you will not be able to access it later through the e-learning system.

Putting It All Together: Supports and Strategies for DSWs (Part 6 of 6)

Putting It All Together: Supports and Strategies for DSWs is the final module of the series. This module reinforces all of the topics covered in the first five, and provides practical tools direct service workers and other caregivers can use every day when supporting the mental health needs of people with IDD. A person's behavior is affected by a complex combination of biological, psychological and social influences. Direct service workers will learn to use specific strategies to prevent and respond when challenging behaviors occur, in a safe way that will support and promote mental wellness and positive outcomes.

Who should take this course: Anyone who supports people with an IDD and a co-occurring behavioral health need can benefit from this course. At the end of the module, you will receive a certificate as proof you've completed the course. Make sure you print the certificate immediately upon completion or save it to your computer as you will not be able to access it later through the e-learning system.