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.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #183
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Beyond Intervention: How Behaviour Analysis Can Contribute to an Understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Sunday, May 30, 2021
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Area: AUT; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Tiffany Kodak (Marquette University)
CE Instructor: Francesca Degli Espinosa, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: FRANCESCA DEGLI ESPINOSA (ABA Clinic)

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one of the most researched conditions within the field of psychology and education. While ABA-based early intervention is considered the most effective evidence-based comprehensive approach to increase skills and reduce problem behaviour in young children affected by ASD, behaviour analysis has yet to provide an analysis of the unique repertoires of children with autism. Instead, the most widely accepted explanations of learning deficits associated with ASD are almost exclusively non-behavioural. In this talk I will discuss the importance of a behavioural account for understanding the unique challenges associated with ASD. At minimum, such an account must be able to address three areas of cognition, widely understood to be compromised in ASD: joint attention, theory of mind, and executive functioning. Developing a comprehensive behavioural conceptual framework that addresses these areas would give behaviour analysis a seat at a table traditionally occupied by other disciplines. Behaviour analysis may then be seen not merely as a collection of techniques to decrease problem behavior or to produce isolated skills.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

behaviour analysts, speech and language therapists, education professionals

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) discuss mainstream autism theories; (2) discuss syndrome-specific ASD deficits; (3) analyze impairments characteristic of ASD.
Francesca Degli Espinosa, Ph.D, BCBA-D, is director and consultant at ABA Clinic Ltd., adjunct professor at the University of Salerno, and a guest lecturer at Queen's College, Belfast, and Pennsylvania State University. 



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