Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #515
Let's Not Let Our Fortes Define Us: Applying Behavior Analytic Principles in Novel Ways
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Columbus Hall AB, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: PRA/CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Thomas J. Waltz (Eastern Michigan University)
Abstract: The application of behavior analytic principles have continued to grow and thrive in educational, therapeutic, and medical settings. However, common ABA practices and technologies, and the ways in which they are disseminated, have contributed to a view of behavioral specialists as having a limited scope of practice, specifically isolate to the aforementioned domains. For example, in a school context, behavioral experts are often recruited to decrease “problem behaviors” and not to teach skills or manage acquisition targets. In these contexts, the term “behavior” has even become synonymous with decelerative targets. The purpose of the discussions in this symposium is to demonstrate examples and provide recommendations regarding how behavioral philosophy, technology, and measurement can assist other professionals more broadly. The central issue for these discussions will highlight features of treatments and behavioral analytic applications that are less known or commonly practiced by certified behavior analysts, but for which Behavior Analysts are expertly equipped to address.
Keyword(s): Clinical ABA, Heathcare Reform, Precision Teaching, Skill Acquisition
Precision Teaching for Accuracy-Based Instruction: Not Just the Science of “Go Fast!”
SCOTT A. MILLER (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Stuart M. Law (University of Nevada, Reno), Kendra B. Newsome (Fit Learning), William D. Newsome (Fit Learning)
Abstract: Precision teaching (PT) is defined as: making decisions and evaluating curriculum by analyzing data using standardized measurement (Kubina & Yurich, 2012; Lindsley, 1971). The definition also includes that the datum for PT is frequency (rate of response) and celeration (rate of change; Maloney, 1998). Because PT is a free operant paradigm, emphasis is often placed on building frequencies toward a target aim, the outcome of which is often fluency (i.e., maintenance, endurance, stability, application, and generativity; Johnson & Street, 2012. However, it is a misconception that PT is only used for building frequencies and going fast. The purpose of this presentation is to describe some strategies in PT for accuracy-based (not frequency building) instruction and targets for decrease (e.g., in severe behavior settings). In addition, data are presented that use accuracy criteria on the standard celeration chart from a PT learning center. Finally, support for installing and maintaining PT will be described and offered for anyone interested.

The Overemphasis on Decelerative Goals in Schools and Consultative Settings: More Than Just the Science of "Make the Behaviors Go Away!"

STUART M. LAW (University of Nevada, Reno)

Functional Analyses have been a tool of great utility for Applied Behavior Analysts. The construction of methodologies to manipulate environing factors, and the analysis of corresponding probabilities of response have helped to establish clear procedures, tools, and constructs regarding functional relationships in applied settings. But as this technology has spread into educational and consultative models of ABA, an emphasis on decelerative aims, and on a dichotomous distinction between assessment and treatment, has potentially limited the scope of behavioral expertise to behavior reduction. And while the coordination of efforts between professionals is important in educational/consultative environments, there is a great deal of overlap between the realm of assumed expertise in ABA, and that of Occupational Therapists and Speech Pathologists. With the reports and research generated by ABA technicians reflecting more and more decelerative goals, we must be careful to maintain our expertise, and exert our influence in learning technologies and accelerative behavior targets. By highlighting the role of ABA practitioners as experts in shaping, learning, and data analysis, we may be better prepared to expand our role in these contexts, and avoid being relegated to the people schools, called only when a child is having behaviors.


Using Applied Behavior Analysis to Meet the Needs of Healthcare Reform: More Than Just the Science of "Providers Treating a Few Narrowly Constrained Populations"

ALEXANDROS MARAGAKIS (University of Nevada, Reno)

The current reform of the healthcare system in the United States has created many wide-ranging opportunities for the development and evaluation of new strategies for health service delivery. While other fields, particularly clinical psychology and social work, have taken advantage of these new opportunities, the field of behavioral analysis has not made any clear efforts create new opportunities for its members, even though it may be well-suited to meet both the applied and organizational goals of healthcare reform. This presentation will discuss the application of ABA technologies and treatments within healthcare settings. It will also describe goals of the Affordable Care Act, and how the scientific methodologies in the field of behavior analysis, particularly the use of single-subject designs, can further expand the role of behavior analysts into healthcare management positions and help meet the organizational needs of the current reforms. Potential barriers the field faces will be discussed.




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