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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #41
CE Offered: BACB
Become an Ambassador for Applied Behavior Analysis: Dissemination Efforts Beyond America and Autism
Saturday, May 23, 2020
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Level M4, Liberty N-P
Area: CSS; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Sharon Trew (Clinical Behavior Analysis)
Discussant: Megan Miller (#dobetter Pod)
CE Instructor: Michelle P. Kelly, Ph.D.

The current symposium outlines dissemination efforts in countries beyond the United States of America and in fields beyond autism, with the aim of inspiring the audience to become better ambassadors for applied behavior analysis (ABA). Our first paper reviews the power of social media and the challenges that can be faced when becoming a social behavioral influencer. The second paper examines the current status of the dissemination of ABA in the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East, including an overview of efforts related to the translation of behavior analytic works and collaborations with non-behavior analytic professional peers. The third paper brings us into the field of health and fitness, and specifically football, with an evaluation of the antecedent and consequent components of the standard Behavioral Skills Training procedure. Our final paper will discuss current growth rates of certified behavior analysts, barriers to dissemination, and avenues for support in Africa. The discussant will highlight and integrate the contributions of all presenters in relation to and under the framework of her #dobetter professional development movement.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): BST, interdisciplinary collaboration, international dissemination
Target Audience:

Basic level event designed for: BCaBAs, BCBAs, BCBA-Ds and anyone interested in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and its dissemination.

Learning Objectives: i. Attendees will be able to briefly describe the responsibility that behavior analysts have to disseminate the science. ii. Attendees will be able to list a variety of ways to disseminate the science and to become an ambassador for behavior analysis. iii. Attendees will be able to provide an example of how behavioral skills training can be used in sports, and specifically football. iv. Attendees will be able to briefly describe the current status of behavior analysis in Africa and the United Arab Emirates. v. Attendees will be able to describe the current #dobetter campaign.

Behaviorbabe: A Decade of Dissemination


The world has changed significantly over time, however many of our problems remain the same. Luckily, our tools for accessing and sharing information with others have drastically improved. One of the most powerful tools available to us today, for communicating with others, is social media. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook were among the first social media platforms to become available for the everyday user. For me, they emerged while I was deep in my “dissertation-writing-avoidance-phase” of my life. What originally started as a website for parents and teachers, which housed a few resources, turned into a Twitter handle, and then a public “persona” on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Due to social media, we are now able to reach millions of people without leaving the comfort of our homes. Ironically, as a result of my efforts, I have been invited to travel and speak at events throughout the world. As Behaviorbabe, I have experienced many successes, however, there have also been many missteps and some outright failures. I invite you to take a journey with me, to learn the history of Behaviorbabe, and to use these experiences to help you become an ambassador for behavior analysis.


Do Doctors Really Know Best? Examining Dissemination Efforts in the United Arab Emirates

MICHELLE P. KELLY (Emirates College for Advanced Education (ECAE))

“Behavior analysts are responsible for disseminating behavior analysis by making information about the science available to the public, professional peers, and government officials” (Kelly, Martin, Dillenburger, Kelly & Miller, 2019; p. 440). This presentation examines the current status of the dissemination of applied behavior analysis (ABA) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), one of six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council in the Middle East (Kelly et al., 2016). Dissemination efforts will be shared including: the initiation of the first graduate Verified Course Sequence in the country; presentations at non-behavior analytic conferences; translation of behavior analytic works; and collaborations with non-behavior analytic professional peers including experts in educational technology, and members of the Ministry of Education. Finally, an overview will be provided of results from an online survey that investigated levels of awareness of autism and ABA amongst 232 pediatricians in the UAE. The results indicated suboptimal awareness of the causes and characteristics of autism as well as alarming support for unestablished interventions for individuals. Dissemination efforts with pediatricians will be shared.


Evaluating Antecedent and Consequent Components of Behavioral Skills Training When Teaching Football Tackling Form

MERRITT SCHENK (University of South Florida), Raymond G. Miltenberger (University of South Florida)

Behavioral Skills Training (BST) has been a common procedure to help teach or improve various behaviors for some time, and it involves instruction, modeling, rehearsal, and feedback. However, there might be instances in which some components of BST are not necessary. For example, common coaching techniques in American rules Football involve a coach providing antecedent instruction without detailed feedback immediately after a rehearsal, and the players appear to often learn the desired skill. This means that there might be times when antecedent instruction might be sufficient when attempting to change behavior, and consequent feedback could be an unnecessary laborious task. Thus, we evaluated antecedent and consequent components of the standard BST procedure to teach proper tackling form to 3 football players. Overall we found that instruction and modeling helped all players improve their behavior. However, the immediate feedback following rehearsal proved to help all participants improve their behavior to desired levels. Procedures, results, and implications will be discussed.

Growth and Barriers to Dissemination of Applied Behavior Analysis in Africa
WHITNEY HAMMEL (Autism Compassion Africa)
Abstract: There are 1.2 billion individuals living in Africa. Limited data is currently available on the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) on the continent, which leads to sparse funding and programs for those with disabilities. Lack of awareness and acceptance of those with ASD, combined with limited resources, leads to decreased quality of life. The Human Rights Watch (2012) has documented severe abuse against those with disabilities, including shackling and unsanitary conditions, in Ghanaian prayer camps and psychiatric institutions. The BBC also released a documentary titled “The World’s Worst Place to Be Disabled?” (2015) outlining abuse, neglect and even termination of life for those with disabilities in Ghana. Dissemination of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in Africa is greatly needed. ABA is relatively unknown and mostly concentrated to English speaking countries. According to the BACB portal, as of October 2019 there were only 16 BCBAs and 5 BCaBAs listed as serving the entirety of Africa. There is an urgent need to ethically and sustainably increase the number of trained ABA professionals to impact the lives of those with disabilities on the continent. This presentation will discuss current growth rates of BACB certified individuals, barriers to dissemination, and avenues for support.



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