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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #197
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Focusing on Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Behavior Analysis
Sunday, May 26, 2019
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Hyatt Regency West, Lobby Level, Crystal Ballroom A
Area: DDA/PCH; Domain: Translational
Chair: Leslie Neely (The University of Texas at San Antonio)
Discussant: Jeannie M. Aguilar (Blue Sprig Pediatrics)
CE Instructor: Leslie Neely, Ph.D.

Behavior analysts are increasingly called to serve culturally and linguistically diverse populations. However, it is unclear the extent to which race, gender, and linguistic diversity are addressed in ABA practice (Talk 1). In addition, it is unclear the extent to which language of instruction affects skill acquisition for individuals from dual language households (Talk 2). After focusing on the role of diversity and language in practice, we will present the results of two studies. The first study evaluates the effect of interventionist’s language on speech generating device language output and challenging behavior for a child with Down syndrome. The second study presents the results of a culturally adapted behavioral consultation framework for the Latino population. Finally, as a leader in this area of Behavior Analysis, Dr. Jeannie Aguilar, will discuss the studies, findings, and implications for research and practice.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): bilingual, culture, developmental disabilities, diversity
Target Audience:

Researchers in Applied Research (graduate students, doctoral students, post-doctoral and professors) and practioners working with culturally and linguistically diverse populations.

Diversity submission 

Racial, Gender, and Linguistic Diversity in Applied Behavior Analysis: An Analysis and Implications for Training and Practice

(Applied Research)
Christopher A. Tullis (Georgia State University), AMARIE CARNETT (University of Texas at San Antonio), Sarah Grace Hansen (Georgia State University), Karen A. Toussaint (University of North Texas)

Diversity may be defined along a number of dimensions including, but not limited to the presence of a variety of genders, races, ethnicities, languages, and socio-economic statuses (Silverman, 2010). As a field, ABA has made great strides in some areas of diversity. This study investigates the results of survey polling individuals in the field of ABA related to racial and gender identity, linguistic diversity (e.g., primary language), and presence of diversity related coursework in training programs either in progress or completed. Results related to formal training on diversity training within programs (e.g., BACB Verified Course Sequences), recruitment of traditionally underrepresented populations, and continuing education will be discussed, as well as recommendations to address areas of need.

Diversity submission 

Impact of Language on Skill Acquisition

(Applied Research)
JORDAN WIMBERLEY (University of Texas at San Antonio), Leslie Neely (The University of Texas at San Antonio)

Recent research has suggested language of instruction may have an effect of the behavior of children with autism spectrum disorder during instructional sessions. This study aims to add to the literature base by evaluating effects of instructional language on skill acquisition during instructional settings. There were two participants for this study. Both of the children were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Both of the participants came from a Spanish speaking family but received instruction primarily in English. Skill acquisition was evaluated using novel responses in both English and Spanish with the schedule of reinforcement held constant. Results indicate that language of instruction did not have an impact for the participating students. Potential moderating factors will be discussed

Diversity submission 

A Systematic Examination of the Influences of Interventionist Language on Mands Using a Speech Generating Device

(Applied Research)
MEGAN G. KUNZE (University of Oregon), Christine Drew (University of Oregon), Wendy A. Machalicek (University of Oregon), Rebecca Crowe (University of Oregon)

Individuals with disabilities whose family members speak a language other than English and communicate using speech generating devices (SGDs) require assessment of instructional language and programmed language output of the SGD. In this study, an alternating treatment design was used to examine the effect of interventionist language as a putative motivating operation (English or Spanish) on the (a) choice of SGD language output, (b) frequency of mands, and (c) frequency of challenging behavior for a 10-year old non-verbal child with Down syndrome. Results indicated a slight increase in manding when the interventionist spoke Spanish compared to the English or control conditions. The participant also manded most frequently in Spanish on the SGD, suggesting a preference for Spanish output. These results indicate a potential preference for instructional language and expressive language using an SGD. Challenging behavior was observed more frequently in the English and control conditions. The implications of this research were discussed in the context of potential motivating operations for communication. The ethical practices and standards of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and educators were also addressed.

Diversity submission A Behavior Analytic Case Example of Culturally Responsive Consultation in Schools
(Applied Research)
ALYSSA LANSFORD (University of Texas at San Antonio), Leslie Neely (The University of Texas at San Antonio)
Abstract: Behavior analysts are increasingly called to serve culturally and linguistically diverse populations. The culture of a population can provide context in which to identify behaviors likely to be reinforced by the client’s social environment, client stimuli established as reinforcers through a learned history, and client behavioral repertories shaped by the client’s social environment. One of the largest and fastest growing minority groups in the United States is the Latino/Latina population. This paper offers a case example of an incorporating cultural adaptations of behavioral supports within the context of behavioral consultation for the Latinx population. Cultural adaptation of behavioral consultation can lead to improved outcomes for both educators and students. Five educators were served via behavioral consultation and provided training using behavioral skills training to implement culturally responsive classwide behavior management procedures. All five educators improved their treatment fidelity of the culturally responsive behavior management practices. Implications for practitioners and future research are discussed.



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