Approximately 50% of the adults with an intellectual disability (ID) experience co-occurring behavioral health (BH) issues and demonstrate challenging behaviors. The evidence suggests that the common solutions to help consumers with ID/BH, intensify behavioral dyscontrol, rather than reduce it. Environmental factors, like conflict between consumers and their direct support professionals (DSP), are known to contribute to challenging behaviors. Interventions that help individuals with ID/BH improve their self-regulation capacities, decrease environmental stresses between consumers and staff, and do not increase the need for additional staffing, are necessary. To help break the costly viscous cycles of challenging behaviors, these interventions are needed to help consumers with ID/BH build the core self-regulation capacities that allow them to make changes in their lives and reach personal goals. The My Skills Coach Building Competency Pak is a multi-modal technology-based self-regulation program that offers emotion regulation skills instruction and skills coaching within support environments that promote adaptive skills acquisition and generalization.
Phase I My Skills Coach demonstrated the technical merit, feasibility, and cost effectiveness of combining commercially available tablets and programmable avatars with an innovative approach for consumers with ID/BH. The Phase II My Skills Coach Building Competency Pak gives consumers and staff access to an online emotion regulation skill learning program, as well as provides consumers with the My Skills Coach (MSC) app on a tablet for them to use in their environments. The MSC app portion of the Building Competency Pak will help consumers build their personal self-regulation skills toolbox and offer in-vivo skills coaching support via their own avatar. My Skills Coach will be used in day programs in Phase II. Specific Phase II objectives include: (1) Use data from Phase I to design the Phase II prototype; (2) Enhance and expand the features and functions of the prototype in preparation for an expanded field study; (3) Perform an extended usability evaluation of the MSC in day program settings; and (4) Prepare for a smooth transition to commercialization.
Anticipated Results and Implications of the Approach: My Skills Coach Building Competency Pak will help individuals with ID/BH increase self-regulation behaviors. Evidence supports that these individuals are underserved by existing technology. The Building Competency Pak provides resources that promote independence, enhance self-esteem, and create opportunities for self-regulation skill development using respectful, non-invasive approaches.
Potential Commercial Applications: The primary potential commercial markets for My Skills Coach Building Competency Pak are 1) States’ departments of disabilities and managed care companies that fund services for consumers with ID/BH and challenging behaviors, 2) public and private agencies that support consumers with ID/BH in community-based settings or multi-person living settings who lack self-regulation capacities, and 3) day and vocational programs. A secondary market includes the private market for individuals caring for a loved one with ID/BH.