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

Event Details

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Symposium #241
CE Offered: BACB
Clinical Training and Practice Beyond Autism
Sunday, May 27, 2018
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Coronado Ballroom AB
Area: CBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Claudia Drossel (Eastern Michigan University)
Discussant: Michelle Ennis Soreth (Rowan University)
CE Instructor: Michelle Ennis Soreth, Ph.D.

The symposium will outline a brief history of behavior analysis and emphasize the broad scope of its philosophy, its science, and its practice. While early behavior analysis aspired to find solutions for virtually all matters of human concern, modern behavior analysis has been subdivided into clinical, applied, and basic domains, and current research and training of behavior analysts tend to be focused on service provision in autism spectrum and other developmental disorders. Consequences of such narrow training will be discussed, first in terms of curriculum design and training missions, and then in terms of the practical implications of narrow training. To preserve ABAI's mission to contribute to the wellbeing of society, behavior analysts need training consistent with the regulatory frameworks supporting a broad scope of practice and the tools necessary to effectively address contextual factors that impact science and practice with diverse populations. The symposium is relevant to students, practitioners, and researchers who have an interest to train, practice, or study the philosophy and the science of behavior analysis broadly.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Clinical training, diversity, scope
Target Audience:

The symposium is relevant to students, practitioners, and researchers who have an interest to train, practice, or study the philosophy and the science of behavior analysis broadly.


Scope of Practice in Behavior Analysis: The Sins of the Father Are to be Laid Upon the Children

THOMAS J. WALTZ (Eastern Michigan University)

While behavior analysis can be applied to all areas of human concern, it is difficult for behavior analysts to obtain training consistent with professional standards and regulations that govern working with clinical presentations other than Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (IDD). It is a tragic irony that the majority of evidence-based behavior therapies for psychological disorders have their roots in behavior analysis, yet it is rare for Association for Behavior Analysis International or Behavior Analyst Certification Board accredited training programs to produce graduates eligible to legally and ethically use these therapies. These training limitations reflect the failure of early leaders in our field to track professional practice metacontingencies, and it will take a substantial and coordinated effort by the behavior analysis community to realign our training programs with the demands of the regulatory environment. An overview of the regulatory landscape for broad scope of practice service provision will be provided and the essential elements of training programs for behavior analysts to be qualified to work in diverse settings and diverse clients as clinical psychologists will be described. Changing training programs will come at great cost, but will be necessary for behavior analysis to thrive beyond ASD and IDD.


Increasing Behavior Analysts' Sensitivity to the Impact of Social Contingencies

(Service Delivery)
LILLIAN ELLIS (Eastern Michigan University), Claudia Drossel (Eastern Michigan University)

In 1967, the year of the Detroit riots, Martin Luther King Jr. emphasized that behavioral science plays a role in social movements. He challenged attendees of the American Psychological Association's annual conference to examine their assumptions about what constitutes "maladjustment" in social conditions that demand change rather than complacency. He asked whether a failure to adjust might not be the contextually appropriate response. More than half a century later, we propose it is time for behavior analysts to heed MLK's call and investigate how social contingencies might influence and skew our views of "inappropriate" or "maladaptive" behavior and inadvertently perpetuate assumptions or practices that are inconsistent with the science and the philosophy of behavior analysis. Unexamined assumptions might affect how we treat people with marginalized identities, among them older adults and people with disabilities, people with persistent mental health diagnoses, women, ethnic and racial minorities, members of the LGBT community, and people with lower socioeconomic status. We suggest that broad training in behavior analysis is required to safeguard the field's humanism, and we will give clinical/applied examples to support our argument.




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Modifed by Eddie Soh