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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Paper Session #261
Diversity submission Behavior and Medical Issues in Behavior Analysis
Sunday, May 24, 2020
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Level M1, Georgetown
Area: PCH
Instruction Level: Basic
Chair: Sarah Campau (The May Institute)
Diversity submission Behavior Analysis and Conversion Therapy: A Historical Review
Domain: Theory
SARAH CAMPAU (The May Institute)
Abstract: Conversion therapy is the practice of attempting to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender presentation. While it is now widely considered a practice routed in religion and pseudoscience, this practice first received legitimacy in the US through the psychological and scientific communities. Conversion therapy has recently been in the media, with a number of states introducing legislation to criminalize the practice for individuals under 18. Behavior Analysis had a historical role in the development, implementation, and publication of information on conversion therapy and have been used to attempt to change the sexual orientation and/or gender identity of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning) individuals. Understanding our history helps us to better speak about our efforts as a scientific practice for cultural competency and service to the LGBTQ community. This presentation will discuss the history and role behavior analysis historically played in conversion therapy, long term results and effects, and how that legacy effects our image and practice in a modern era.
Diversity submission Sharing the Care: Bridging Pediatrics and Behavior Analysis
Domain: Service Delivery
STEVEN MERAHN (Union In Action, Inc.)
Abstract: The growth of the ABA-based Autism Care System has forced a the pediatric and behavior analytic communities into collaborative relationships where they 'share the care" of children with ASD and their families, but do not have clear relationship practices, common principles of conduct or mutual accountability. At the same time, the behavior analytic community is increasingly subject to working under principles and practices of the healthcare system, such as medical necessity. This paper will explore research on the "ABA-literacy" of general pediatricians and will explore the risks of this knowledge/practice gap, and the opportunities inherent in the transformative integration of behavior analysis more broadly into healthcare (and the value of such integration to the behavior analytic community). The presentation will use real-world examples to further explore the cultural, disciplinary, regulatory and sustainability issues in such integration, and make specific programmatic recommendations to build mutually valuable bridges between the two professional disciplines. Further, the presenter will make the care for behavior analysis to be considered as a ‘new’ basic science for medicine, similar to genetics, microbiology and biochemistry, to serve as a foundation for the development of a rational approach to behavioral examination, diagnostics and therapeutics across a wide range of mental health and health-related behaviors.



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Modifed by Eddie Soh