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.

  • AAB: Applied Animal Behavior

    AUT: Autism

    CBM: Clinical/Family/Behavioral Medicine

    CSS: Community, Social, and Sustainability Issues

    DDA: Developmental Disabilities

    EAB: Experimental Analysis of Behavior

    EDC: Education

    OBM: Organizational Behavior Management

    PCH: Philosophical, Conceptual, and Historical Issues

    TBA: Teaching Behavior Analysis

    VRB: Verbal Behavior

14th Annual Autism Conference; Miami, FL; 2020

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #18

Putting Social Interaction at the Heart of Autism Interventions: The Importance of Play and Social Communication

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
11:30 AM–12:20 PM
Regency Ballroom
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: M. Alice Shillingsburg, Ph.D.
Chair: Robert K. Ross (Beacon ABA Services)

Dr. Shillingsburg currently serves as Sr. Vice President of Children’s Services and Training at May Institute. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from Auburn University and completed her predoctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the Marcus Institute. She previously served as the Director of the Language and Learning Clinic at the Marcus Autism Center and held an appointment of Associate Professor at Emory University in the Division of Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Shillingsburg is a licensed psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D). Her clinical expertise includes the development of language and behavioral programming to address a variety of behavioral difficulties and social communication deficits associated with autism and other developmental disabilities. She has published over 50 empirical papers and book chapters on interventions for children with autism and related developmental disabilities. She is currently an associate editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Operants, editorial board member of Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, and is past associate editor for The Analysis of Verbal Behavior.


Impairments in social communication and interaction are identified as hallmark characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Depending on the severity of these challenges, some individuals with ASD may experience difficulties in the development of relationships and positive social interactions. Procedures that promote the development of social interest, social initiations, engagement and play are particularly useful for practitioners designing treatment programs for children with ASD. In this presentation I will provide an overview of the social deficits associated with ASD and present a variety of evidence-based procedures to promote social interactions and social communication with adults and peers. Procedures to enhance motivation for social engagement as well as strategies to teach children to initiate and respond to social partners will be presented.

Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe the importance of social motivation during interventions for autism spectrum disorder; (2) describe one way to promote social communication in children with ASD; (3) describe one way to promote peer interactions children with ASD.



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