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

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W49
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Promoting Appropriate and Effective Sexual Education and Instruction for Individuals With Developmental Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder
Saturday, May 28, 2016
8:00 AM–3:00 PM
Alpine, Swissotel
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Frank R. Cicero, Ph.D.
FRANK R. CICERO (Eden II Programs), SORAH STEIN (Partnership for Behavior Change)
Description: Sexuality is a topic that is difficult, or at least uncomfortable, for many professionals and parents to discuss, but it is a topic that will often be an issue needing to be addressed for the many individuals with developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Issues vary from individual to individual but may include social skills deficits impacting romantic relationships and interpersonal sexual relations, deficits in independence as related to personal hygiene, issues with masturbation, inappropriate sexual behaviors in public, sexual advances towards inappropriate people, and issues with perspective taking to name a few. Applied behavior analytic treatments can be highly effective in promoting appropriate sexual behaviors and sexual expression in adolescents and adults. This workshop will focus on behaviorally based strategies useful for individuals with developmental disabilities including individuals on all ends of the autism spectrum. This talk will begin with an overview of general issues regarding sexuality development as it relates to individuals with developmental disabilities. We will address the understanding of problem sexual behavior through functional assessment methods and discuss replacement treatment options based on function. We will discuss topics such as sexual development, sexuality knowledge, sexual behaviors both appropriate and inappropriate, issues regarding consent and common parent concerns. We will then move into more specific topics which could be included within a behaviorally-based sexual education curriculum designed for individuals with developmental disabilities and ASD. Treatment strategies discussed will include, but are not limited to, reinforcement-based procedures, video modeling, task analysis schedules, picture activity schedules, scripts and script fading, and social stories. Empirically supported literature and data will be presented where applicable and available. Although sexuality is an issue that often comes to the forefront in adolescence or early adulthood, information on sexuality is important for individuals of all ages. Topics related to ethical decision making will also be discussed. Audience questions and discussion will be welcomed.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the workshop, the participant will be able to: (1) state common issues experienced by people with developmental disabilities and ASD as they relate to appropriate and satisfying sexual development and expression; (2) develop several teaching programs for skill acquisition of several sexual behaviors using techniques and theories consistent with applied behavior analysis; (3) conduct a functional assessment of problem behavior as it relates to sexual expression and develop a behavior intervention plan based on the function; (4) identify issues associated with consent.
Activities: The workshop will consist of the following activities: didactic instruction from the presenter; group discussion; presentation and review of teaching materials; role play and practice of presented teaching procedures.
Audience: The current workshop content is geared towards the following audience: (1) experienced behavior analysts who have a desire to learn how to apply behavioral principles and teaching methods to the subject of sexual behavior; (2) educators and related service professionals who have a behavioral background and work with children with developmental issues that have needs in the area of sexuality; (3) although not specifically geared towards parents and family members of individuals with needs, parents would be welcomed to attend.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): autism, developmental disabilities, sexual behavior, sexuality



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Modifed by Eddie Soh