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 #126
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Consideration of Demographic and Cultural Variables in Behavioral Research and Practice
Saturday, May 25, 2019
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Hyatt Regency West, Lobby Level, Crystal Ballroom B
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Tara A. Fahmie (California State University, Northridge)
Discussant: Elizabeth Hughes Fong (Saint Joseph's University)
CE Instructor: Tara A. Fahmie, Ph.D.

Demographic and cultural variables undoubtedly influence the global adoption and success of behavioral services, but limited research exists in this area. The authors of Study 1 identified reasons for the appointment cancellations of 43 children in an outpatient ABA program. Common barriers included those related to socio-economic status (e.g., work conflicts, instability in living situation), emphasizing the importance of considering stakeholder characteristics in service delivery. The authors of Study 2 conducted a review of articles recently published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and found that demographic variables were generally underreported. The authors will describe obstacles to and rationale for fully reporting demographic variables in future publications. The authors of Study 3 analyzed the efficacy and social validity of a training program to teach function-based approaches to parents and practitioners in Chennai, India. The authors will discuss the cultural variables relevant to this region that were considered during the development phase of their study. The authors of Study 4 successfully extended tele-health services to families located in South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Both efficacy and social validity data will highlight the outcomes of the authors’ global outreach efforts. Finally, Elizabeth Fong will discuss these four studies in relation to our need for a more effective science of cultural and demographic influences.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): culture, demographics, telehealth, treatment acceptability
Target Audience:

Practicing behavior analysts

Learning Objectives: 1. Participants will identify a minimum of three demographic variables that may influence treatment adoption or adherence. 2. Participants will describe the manner in which training can be tailored to cultures outside of the US 3. Participants will acknowledge the importance of social validity measures in the dissemination of behavioral services to diverse populations.
Diversity submission 

Barriers to Appointment Attendance Among Families Receiving Applied Behavior Analysis Services for Problem Behavior

STEPHANIE LIOLLIO (Marcus Autism Center), Mindy Christine Scheithauer (Marcus Autism Center)

Research has shown that children diagnosed with developmental disabilities exhibiting severe problem behavior benefit from Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. Because ABA therapy often places a heavy emphasis on caregiver involvement and consistency of treatment practice, the effectiveness of therapy may be compromised if excessive cancellations occur. The current study identified common reasons for appointment cancellations. This allowed us to examine potential barriers that may be intervened on to increase the likelihood of treatment success. Attendance records of 43 children being seen in a weekly outpatient ABA program that focused on parent training for problem behavior were reviewed. Frequency of cancellations were measured, grouped into categories, and ranked from highest to lowest. Preliminary data collected over twelve weeks indicated that scheduling conflicts, illness, and scheduling miscommunications were the most frequent reasons that cancellations occurred. These variables were discussed in terms of possible interventions that could be used to decrease cancellations and subsequently increase success of intervention for parents at high-risk of experiencing barriers to appointment attendance.

Diversity submission 

On the Reporting of Demographic Variables in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis

STEPHANIE JONES (West Virginia University), Claire C. St. Peter (West Virginia University)

Describing participants’ demographic variables (ethnicity/race, socioeconomic status (SES), gender/sex, age, etc.) may be important for identifying how such variables may impact behavioral interventions and for identifying patterns across research articles. We evaluated the extent to which studies published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis for the last five years included demographic variables of participants. Any mention of information regarding age, gender or sex, ethnicity or race, SES, diagnosis, functioning level, scores on standardized tests or assessments, educational levels, and culture for any participant in the study was coded. The data were analyzed as the percentage of experiments mentioning a broad demographic variable (e.g., SES), and number of individuals mentioned in an experiment with a specific characteristic within the broader demographic category (e.g., low income). Generally, demographic variables were underreported, which may limit the broader impact of those publications. Obstacles to and rationale for fully reporting demographic variables are explored.

Diversity submission Investigation of a Training Manual for Teaching Behavioral Skills to Parents and Professionals in India
TARA A. FAHMIE (California State University, Northridge), Maithri Sivaraman (Tendrils Centre for Autism)
Abstract: In regions such as India, where one-to-one behavior analytic intervention is not easily accessible, parents and service providers may advocate for children with disabilities better if they have foundational training in the behavior analytic approach to problem behavior. The purpose of the present study was to develop and test the effectiveness of a manualized training in increasing behavior analytic perspectives and skills used to manage problem behavior. We noted several cultural adaptations used in both the manual and the training. Forty-six parents and service providers from Chennai, India participated in the study, and were assigned to either an immediate training (n=22) or a waitlist control (n=24) group. The training produced overall increases in participants’ knowledge and approach to the assessment and treatment of problem behavior. Moreover, all participants rated the acceptability of training highly in our measure of social validity. Guidelines for international dissemination are discussed.
Diversity submission Outcomes of a Global Telehealth Parent-Training Project
LOUKIA TSAMI (University of Houston, Clear Lake), Ozlem Toper Korkmaz (Uludağ Üniversitesi), Dorothea C. Lerman (University of Houston-Clear Lake)
Abstract: Teaching parents to conduct functional analyses (FAs) and to implement functional communication training (FCT) is a highly effective approach for treating problem behavior maintained by social consequences (Derby et al., 1997). Studies have found that delivering this assessment and intervention package via telehealth technologies is effective and acceptable to parents in the United States (Wacker et al., 2013b). In the presentation, we will discuss the outcomes of families located in South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East who we coached via telehealth to implement FAs and FCT with their children with autism. Two behavior therapists located at a U.S. university conducted weekly 1-hour appointments with the use of interpreters for the non-English speaking families. The majority of the parents used smart phones to communicate with the clinicians. The parent-implemented FAs successfully identified the function(s) of problem behavior, and FCT reduced problem behavior and increased communication responses for all children. Moreover, the caregivers rated the procedures and use of telehealth as very acceptable. Overall, these results suggest that behavior analysts located in the United States can offer behavioral services via telehealth to individuals with autism around the world.



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