Training at Melmark is designed to increase the professional skills of employees, which in turn increases life outcomes for the individuals we support. Melmark trains internal staff based upon the principles of competency-based instruction, performance-based instruction (Brethower & Smalley, 1998), and behavioral skills training (BST; Reid, Rollyson & Parsons, 2012). Components of effective instruction are utilized throughout training and are seen in the form of:


  • Behavioral objectives
  • Active student responding (e.g., guided notes)
  • Fluency timings
  • Teaching to mastery (e.g., performing at a minimum standard)
  • Assessment of performance (e.g., written and observational exams)


Performance-based instruction links training to expected job duties; establishes minimum criteria to demonstrate successful performance of job duties; utilizes performance feedback; and trains via observation, guided practices, and demonstration of mastery (sometimes referred to as, “I do, we do, you do”).


Each new employee is provided a one-year training plan that aligns with expected job duties and broad training that support career path development. At the start of on-site training, new employees are provided a manual with all of the necessary materials to guide them through their one-year training plan. Through orientation and clinical training during the first 90 days, trainees acquire skills needed to perform day-to-day duties. The second half of the one-year training plan emphasizes skill development needed for professional growth.


To discuss staff training opportunities for your organization, please contact:


Shawn Quigley, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Senior Director of Clinical Services and Professional Development
Melmark Pennsylvania
2600 Wayland Road
Berwyn, PA 19312


Jill Harper, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Senior Director of Professional Development, Training, and Research
Melmark New England
461 River Road
Andover, MA 01810