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 #466
CE Offered: BACB
Putting the "ACT" in ACTion: Behavior-Analytic Efforts to Improve Applications of Acceptance and Commitment Training
Monday, May 25, 2020
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 2, Room 207B
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Lindsey Dennis (Missouri State University)
Discussant: Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University)
CE Instructor: Jordan Belisle, Ph.D.

Recent behavior-analytic efforts to the competent dissemination of acceptance and commitment training (ACT) have dramatically increased. The current symposium seeks to add to the ways in which practicing behavior analysts may more confidently-equipped to use ACT within their practices. The first presentation investigates the extent to which coherence between values and self-management strategies may improve treatment outcomes in a college population.We then empirically explore practical applications of ACT within an ASD population. Finally, we introduce evidence of the success of ACT via the AIM curriculum with a rather unique population. Implications to the overall successes and utility of ACT in daily practices, as well as ways to increase positive outcomes, are discussed.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): ACT, AIM, Values
Target Audience:

beginner-intermediate behavior analyst

Learning Objectives: Attendees will be able to describe how to use ACT procedures to help children with autism engage in more adaptive behavior and less challenging behavior Attendees will be able to describe how to incorporate self-management and ACT techniques into interventions to increase values-consistent behavior. Attendees will be able to understand ACT procedures as they relate to basic behavior change interventions and how to incorporate them into regular ABA practice
Promoting Values-Behavior Coherence with Acceptance and Commitment Training and Self-Management Techniques
(Applied Research)
DANA PALILIUNAS (Missouri State University)
Abstract: "Values" have been defined as "verbally construed global desired life consequences," meaning that they describe ways of behaving that increase the meaning, purpose, or overall quality of one's life. For this reason, values are a central component of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy/Training (ACT) (Hayes et al., 1999, p.206). Coherence between a person’s identified values (abstract categories of preferred reinforcers) and daily behavior may increase his or her contact with reinforcement, producing increases in socially important, adaptive behavior in various contexts. Methods that seek to quantify values-behavior coherence may be useful in both the design and evaluation of interventions. The development of a measure of values-behavior coherence will be described as will additional methods to assess such responding. Evaluation of behavior analytic literature suggests interventions that include various ACT and self-management techniques have demonstrated utility in increasing socially-meaningful behavior. A potential synthesis of these approaches could lead to immediately impactful interventions for improving values-consistent outcomes across populations, and the presentation will explore college students as a case example for the measurement and promotion of values-behavior coherence.

Acceptance and Commitment Training for Kids: Developing Practical Approaches to Implementing Acceptance and Commitment Training in Your Daily ABA Practice With Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

(Applied Research)
ERIN SILVERMAN (FirstSteps for Kids), Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Southern California; FirstSteps for Kids)

This presentation describes the development of a custom-made “ACT for Kids” workbook and the initial phases of testing its effectiveness for decreasing challenging behaviors and increasing self-management skills in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The study is still currently in the data collection phase and initial data suggest it is effective. In this presentation, we will describe in a practical manner the steps that were taken to transform the ACT Hexaflex and Matrix into stimuli that children with ASD would be able to consume and respond to independently. Results from the one participant completed thus far showed that the “ACT for Kids Workbook” decreased the participant’s maladaptive behaviors while consequently increasing his use of ACT-based self-management skills in his daily life. Findings from the social validity interview revealed that parents of this participant saw a significant increase in independent self-management skills across settings and environments, when ABA team members were not present.

AIMing to Scale Up: Efforts to Promote Psychological Flexibility and Decrease Maladaptive Behavior in a School Setting Impacts
(Applied Research)
MICHAEL DELAET (Arizona State University Department of Psychology), Adam DeLine Hahs (Arizona State University)
Abstract: The AIM curriculum (Dixon, 2017) was developed to facilitate social-emotional development in children. Given its novelty, little research of any scope has been conducted exploring the efficacy of the curriculum. To that end, the current study sought to explore the efficacy of the AIM program on student performance related to promoting psychological flexibility and increasing overall academic performance, while decreasing experiential avoidance and challenging behavior-related issues. All participants showed increased psychological flexibility, increased academic performance, and exhibited decreased maladaptive behaviors.
An Evaluation of Acceptance and Commitment Training on Changes in Psychological Flexibility and Language for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders
(Applied Research)
JESSICA M HINMAN (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often struggle with language deficits and restricted or repetitive behaviors. Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) can prove to be a helpful intervention for children with ASD as it works to increase psychological and behavioral flexibility by promoting value-driven behaviors while working to reduce the unworkable control of language. The current aims to evaluate changes in measures of psychological flexibility as well as changes in derived relational responding for children with ASD after attending two, one-hour ACT sessions a week for 14-weeks. After 7 weeks of receiving ACT, preliminary data show that participants have reduced levels of self-reported fusion, higher levels of psychological flexibility, and parents of those children are reporting reduced levels of stress. Additionally, caregiver reports of the child’s psychological flexibility showed statistically significant increases from pre- to post-test (t(6) = 3.105, p = 0.0210) which suggests that participants are becoming more psychologically flexible as reported by their parents. Changes in post-treatment measures will provide implications for implementing ACT techniques with children with ASD to increase psychological flexibility.



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