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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W17
Behavior Analysis of Seizures
Thursday, May 24, 2018
4:00 PM–7:00 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Mission Beach A-C
Area: DDA/DEV; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: John C. Neill, Ph.D.
JOHN C. NEILL (Long Island University)
Description: Up to 50% of individuals with severe developmental disabilities have epilepsy. Remarkably, behavior analysts are often unaware how epilepsy impairs their client's ability to learn and remember contingencies of reinforcement. Individuals with epilepsy often have behavior disorders which can be exacerbated by seizures. These seizures could be managed better, and important new life skills could be acquired, if their behavior analyst knew more about epilepsy. This workshop will educate behavior analysts about epilepsy with a behavioral approach. A basic review of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and molecular events responsible for seizures and seizure-induced impairments in learning and behavior will be provided. The etiology, genetics and classification of various seizure disorders will be reviewed. Behavioral research on several animal models of seizures will be related to human cases. A frequent problem for developmentally disabled clients is that they are improperly medicated for seizures. This could be avoided with EEG (electroencephalography), which is a crucial test for accurate diagnosis of epilepsy. Workshop participants will learn how to prepare a client for cooperating with the EEG, without sedation or anesthesia. Participants will learn how epileptic seizures change an individual's ability to operate on their environment. Conversely, the environment often modulates seizures. Behavior analysts will benefit their clients who have epilepsy by learning about how to describe, measure and control these relationships.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will be able to: (1) Define an epileptic seizure; (2) Describe some of the developmental and neurological events responsible for epileptic seizures; (3) Recognize the importance of measuring the effects of seizures on learning and behavior; (4) Objectively describe, count and time seizures in relation to environmental conditions; (5) Recognize the importance of reviewing a client's history to determine etiology, and its particular impact on behavioral progress.; (6) Recognize the effects of the environment on epileptic seizures; (7) Know how to prepare a client for cooperating with EEG tests, without sedation or anesthesia; (8) Discriminate pseudoepileptic versus epileptic seizures; (9) Manage learning and behavior disorders effectively in clients with epilepsy; (10) Explain some recent research on epilepsy and behavior analysis; (11) Explain how the environment can decrease abnormal brain activity and seizures.
Activities: Lecture and video presentations will alternate with discussions of key topics and audience questions and experiences regarding epileptic and non-epileptic behaviors.
Audience: Applied behavior analysts, special education teachers, psychologists and therapists who write behavior plans for individuals with developmental disabilities, including epilepsy.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): autism, developmental disabilities, epilepsy, seizures



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