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 #438
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Why You Are Still Biased, Prejudiced, and Culturally Incompetent: Behavioral Conceptualizations to Possible Solutions
Monday, May 27, 2019
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
Swissôtel, Lucerne Ballroom Level, Lucerne 1/2
Area: PCH/EDC; Domain: Translational
Chair: Robyn M. Catagnus (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Discussant: Susan Wilczynski (Ball State University)
CE Instructor: Susan Wilczynski, Ed.D.

Every attendee at this conference, including you, is impacted by social and clinical effects of bias, racism, and cultural incompetency; it’s critical to further conceptual and theoretical study of, and practical approaches to, mitigating those effects. This is a local, global, and personal problem. Personal because of our direct experiences of discrimination. Personal, too, because you suffer bias’s negative effects as a clinician, related to client outcomes and career burnout. Locally, communities and schools continue to experience the devastating effects of bigotry and racism. Globally, we are disseminating our science and practice into new cultures but creating extraordinary ethical risk when we replicate ‘what has worked’ without culturally adapting and researching carefully. You are not immune from these concerns if you don’t work internationally. In a global world, diversity is so much more than visible differences, and your assessments, interventions, and interactions require nuanced and practiced cultural competencies: in higher education, in clinical practice, in training and supervision. Behavior science can help ameliorate these clinical and social effects in career, education, community, and international settings. We will share some of what we’ve found to work. Join us as we continue the fight to mitigate bias and increase multi-cultural competencies.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Bias mitigation, Burnout, Cultural competency, Diversity
Target Audience:

This topic of diversity, bias, burnout, and multicultural competency applies to every person living, working, and learning in the field of ABA. The topic is growing in importance, and everyone from students through seasoned doctoral level experts will benefit from exploring how all of us are affected by implicit cognition - and to learn how to culturally adapt our effective behavior analytic practices to cross-cultural, non-Western, and diverse populations of clients and students.

Learning Objectives: Explain racism and prejudice from the perspective of radical behaviorism. Describe two ways RFT and ACT can be utilized to ameliorate the effects of racism, prejudice and discrimination in school settings. Define a behavioral conceptualization of implicit cognition. Specify how to assess bias with a behavior analytic, computer based tool. Discuss two methods to intervene on patterns of behavior related to the construct of burnout. Utilize culturally adapted behavior analytic procedures to enhance outcomes of cross-cultural interventions. List three key methods for teaching multicultural competencies to graduate students while simultaneously accommodating students from different cultural backgrounds.
Diversity submission A Brief Behavior-Analytic Conceptual and Applied Review of Racism, Prejudice, and Discrimination
KOZUE MATSUDA (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Children Center Inc), Yors A. Garcia (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Robyn M. Catagnus (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Julie A. Ackerlund Brandt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology )
Abstract: Despite ongoing efforts to eradicate racism, it persists globally, affecting education, health, and employment. The science of behavior analysis aids in understanding human behavior but requires constant evaluation to improve its methods. Recent research on relational frame theory (RFT) and acceptance and commitment theory (ACT), both based on contextual behavioral science (CBS), has helped this evolution. CBS provides new tools for dealing with racism issues in basic and applied studies. The purpose of this paper is to provide a brief conceptual and applied behavior-analytic review of racism, prejudice and discrimination. First, we present an analysis of racism, prejudice and discrimination from the traditional behavior-analytic perspective. Second, we describe the role of CBS in racism research. Third, we explain the roles RFT and ACT can play in ameliorating the clinical and social effects of racism, prejudice and discrimination, and briefly discuss applications in school settings.
Diversity submission 

Culturally Focused Caregiver Training to Increase Praise for Ghanaian Students With Autism

(Applied Research)
ASHLEY ELIZABETH KNOCHEL (University of South Florida ), Kwang-Sun Cho Blair (University of South Florida)

The effectiveness of behavior-analytic interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is well- documented. However, little is known about the contextual appropriateness or translational capacity of those interventions in non-western cultures. ASD treatment centers in majority world countries lack funding for teacher or staff training. Thus, those programs rely heavily on the western community for training supports. Therefore, research on how to best culturally adapt training methods is crucial for increasing training effectiveness and sustainable dissemination of behavior-analytic services around the world. This study examined the impact of self-monitoring with performance feedback on caregivers’ use of culturally adapted praise. We also measured collateral effects on student academic engagement. Four caregivers and four students with autism in Accra, Ghana participated. Results indicated that self-monitoring and performance feedback effectively increased caregivers’ use of praise across phases. Additionally, adaptations to the topography of praise were critical for establishing desired student outcomes. This experiment provides an impetus for further examination of behavior-analytic interventions for children with autism in non-western contexts.

Diversity submission Assessing Implicit Cognition Related to Burnout and its Relevance for Behavior Analysts
(Applied Research)
GREGORY SCOTT SMITH (CARD; University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine), Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno), Nicole Jacobs (University of Nevada School of Medicine), Timothy Baker (University of Nevada School of Medicine), Mary Froehlich (University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine), Alison Szarko (University of Nevada, Reno), Carolyn Brayko (University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine), Melissa Patricia Piasecki (University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine)
Abstract: Although the construct of implicit bias was formulated by researchers of a social-cognitive orientation, contemporary advancements in behavior analysis have allowed for a functional-behavioral conceptualization of implicit cognition and a corresponding computer-based assessment tool. While much of the research on implicit bias has focused on areas traditionally associated with diversity, such as race, ethnicity, and gender, research of implicit cognition is by no means limited to these topics. This paper will present ongoing interdisciplinary research at the University of Nevada School of Medicine which focuses on the assessment of implicit cognition across a broad range of domains, including but not limited to burnout among medical students. Burnout, its sources, its impact on well-being and behavior, and efforts to mitigate its effects are currently top priorities within the field of medical training, but behavior analysts would be remiss if we did not consider the relevance of burnout in our own field, from behavior technicians to BCBAs, administrators, and academicians. Relational Frame Theory and Contextual Behavioral Science provide a useful framework to conceptualize, assess, and ultimately intervene on patterns of behavior related to the construct of burnout, which is of social significance to people in virtually all areas of professional life.
Diversity submission 

Sensitivity in Teaching Multicultural Competencies: Developing Frameworks for Teaching Graduate Students From Diverse Cultural Backgrounds

(Service Delivery)
VANESSA PATRONE (Daemen College), Vicki Madaus Knapp (Daemen College)

As the demand for behavior analytic services grow, we can expect to see increased diversity among both people seeking behavior analytic services and people seeking licensure or certification as behavior analysts. We must consider the best methods for teaching multicultural competencies to graduate students while simultaneously accommodating students from different cultural backgrounds. This case study describes a potential framework for a parallel process of remaining culturally sensitive as instructors while teaching students how to maintain their ethical responsibility of cultural sensitivity when practicing as a behavior analyst.




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