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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Paper Session #196
The Use of Applied Behavior Analysis and Relational Frame Theory to Improve Health
Sunday, May 26, 2019
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Swissôtel, Event Center Second Floor, Vevey 1/2
Area: CBM
Instruction Level: Basic
Chair: Michelle Ellen Kelly (National College of Ireland )

Playing Nicely in the Sandbox: How BCBAs Can Collaborate Effectively With Other Professionals

Domain: Service Delivery
Euric Guerrero (The COR Behavioral Group; KV Adaptive, LLC), RAY LOIHLE (The COR Behavioral Group)

Behavioral interventions are increasingly used in a wider array of settings. Individuals with complex sets of needs, such as those with disabilities, require a multi-layered team of professionals to collaborate to produce high-quality care. In the current healthcare environment, where there is a constant striving to improve quality of care, ABA is uniquely poised to meet this goal with evidence-based, data-driven treatment. In order for BCBAs to be highly effective, they cannot operate separate and apart from other service providers; they must collaborate with other professionals. The benefits of this are remarkable: it can lead to higher quality care, enhanced safety for the patient and providers, and treatment integrity. Additionally, all involved could increase their knowledge which may positively affect their perspective and practice. Communication, problem-solving, and decision making are three domains in which identification of discrete collaboration skills would be a logical (and integral) first step to improve one’s practice. If BCBAs take steps to enhance their collaboration skills, they increase the likelihood that individuals in their care receive comprehensive, high-quality treatment.


Enhancing Quality of Life through a Behavioral Perspective on Fitness

Domain: Service Delivery
EURIC GUERRERO (The COR Behavioral Group; KV Adaptive, LLC.), Ray Loihle (The COR Behavioral Group)

Provision of a comprehensive fitness program can be strengthened by utilizing the science of ABA to teach different exercises and develop a positive association between the client, the environment, and trainer or coach. Effort put forward to develop a supportive network of individuals, create and/or highlight the importance of personal progress, and communicating competence in a way that is clear to the client are three effective steps in propagating engagement in fitness and will have increased wellness as a result. Individualizing exercise sessions to the client through determining what they will work for, what type or sequence of exercises will be most conducive to their active commitment and providing reinforcement and assistance in a graduated way will lead to efficient and enjoyable workout sessions that the client will want to engage in routinely. This workshop will provide a background knowledge on what motivates individuals to participate regularly in physical exercise, how increasing levels of fitness correlate to a higher quality of life, how to train staff using ABA techniques in the fitness milieu, and specific characteristics to look for in a fitness program.

The Role of Behavior Analysis in Bariatric Behavior Medicine
Domain: Theory
MARTTI T. TUOMISTO (Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University )
Abstract: Bariatrics is a field of medicine encompassing the study of overweight, its causes, prevention, and treatment. The treatment of choice for people with morbid obesity (BMI over 40) is bariatric surgery. Patients seeking bariatric surgery need to change their eating behavior some time before the surgery to be approved for the operation. This behavior change is not possible for all patients in need of surgery for their health and quality of life. Motivating/ abolishing operations affect the target of managing food intake, planning of eating, and eating behavior itself. Behavior analysis (BA) is needed to prepare patients for surgery in combination with low energy diets. After surgery, not all treated individuals improve in their weight and eating behavior: Bariatric surgery leads to forced reduction of food intake and to changes in eating behavior that may be difficult to adapt to with the limited options or instruction or skills available. New eating behavior needs to be developed. This may require changing other behaviors that precede eating behavior or changing behavior occurring in parallel with a chain of eating behavior. Functional diagnosis with the Decimal System (Tuomisto, 2018) could be used in the assessment of problem behavior related to outcome of bariatric surgery. In addition, longitudinal analysis of antecedent conditions for difficulties in adhering to treatment requirements may be useful in bariatric surgery as our preliminary data on self-reported behaviors indicate many difficult conditions in our sample of patients (n = 80). Among other conditions, patients reported physical abuse (36.2%), sexual abuse (26.1%), and alcohol use problems in the family (44.9%), and all three in the same patient (17.4%). These figures are high, and it will be important to study these serious problems or their effects behavior analytically. I will review the potential role of behavior analysis in the context of bariatric surgery, which remains the only commonly effective method for treating morbid obesity.
Extending Relational Frame Theory-Based Interventions to Improve Older Adults' Cognitive Functioning and Prevent Dementia
Domain: Service Delivery
MICHELLE ELLEN KELLY (National College of Ireland, Dublin; Psychological Society of Ireland's Division of Behavior Analysis)
Abstract: The aging population means that greater numbers of older adults are experiencing cognitive decline; a major risk factor for dementia and reduced functional independence. Despite this, research in behavioral gerontology rarely focuses on improving the cognitive function of older adults. Behavioral researchers working in the area of Relational Frame Theory (RFT) might be well-positioned to contribute to this research, as they have shown that complex and flexible relational responding, a type of cognitive flexibility, is positively associated with cognitive performance in children and young adults. This research could be extended to develop cognitive training interventions to delay or prevent cognitive decline in older adults. To-date, the specific nature of the relationship between complex, flexible relational responding and older adults’ cognitive functioning has not been investigated. This paper presents an overview of current research in cognitive interventions and RFT, and presents technical and methodological details to encourage researchers to develop innovative intervention approaches aimed at improving older adults’ cognitive functioning and reducing the risk of cognitive decline.



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