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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Symposium #207
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Evaluation of Culturally Responsive Assessments and Treatments
Sunday, May 30, 2021
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Daniel Kwak (University of South Florida)
CE Instructor: Daniel Kwak, M.S.
Abstract: Consideration of cultural variables such as language may be an integral part of assessment and treatment because incorporation of these variables may be more appropriate for serving individuals from diverse backgrounds and result in enhanced outcomes. Even when implementing evidence-based practices, such as functional analysis and functional communication training (FCT), it is still important to consider the relevance of culture with the individuals and families we serve. This symposium consists of three presentations related to culturally responsive assessment and treatment. The first two studies examined language as a potential variable to evaluate assessment and treatment in English and Spanish for individuals whose home language was reported to be Spanish. Specifically, the first study compared the results of functional analyses when they were conducted in both Spanish and English. The second study examined the emergence of functional communication responses in the untrained language. The final study evaluated empirical studies that have used culturally responsive practices to serve diverse populations.
Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): culturally responsive, functional analysis, functional communication, language
Target Audience: The target audience members for this symposium are practitioners and researchers.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) State the evidence supporting the impact of language on assessment results; (2) Consider how the language spoken by local verbal communities can influence the effectiveness of functional communication taught to children from bilingual homes; (3) Identify several cultural adaptations that have been made within assessment, treatment, and training
Diversity submission Impact of Language on Behavior Assessment Outcomes
KATHERINE CANTRELL (University of Texas at San Antonio), Leslie Neely (The University of Texas at San Antonio), Amarie Carnett (Victoria University of Wellington), S. Shanun Kunnavatana (Easterseals UCP North Carolina & Virginia ), Jordan Wimberley (Autism Treatment Center )
Abstract: Functional analyses have been well established as a valid way to identify the maintaining variables for behavior (Iwata & Dozier, 2008). Conducting a functional analysis is the “gold standard” of behavior assessment with best practices recommending identification of idiosyncratic variables as essential to valid results. One potential variable that might impact assessment results is language of assessment. For individuals who operate in environments with multiple languages (e.g., English and Spanish), the language of assessment might differentially impact assessment results. Therefore, there is a need to evaluate if language of assessment affects identified function. The current study presents the results of 10 cases in which the experimenters conducted assessments (i.e., functional analysis) in both the Spanish and English language. Participants were nine children with autism who engaged in problem behavior and whose parents reported Spanish as the primary home language. Result indicate correspondence of function for eight of the ten cases. Discussion of results and recommendations for practice and future research are presented.
Diversity submission 

Mitigating the Effects of Resurgence of Problem Behavior in Bilingual Children Using a Bilingual Functional Communication Training Treatment Package

IPSHITA BANERJEE (Peabody College, Vanderbilt University), Joseph Michael Lambert (Vanderbilt University), Bailey Copeland (Vanderbilt University), Jessica Lee Paranczak (Vanderbilt University), Kathryn Madesta Bailey (Vanderbilt University), Cassandra Standish (Vanderbilt University)

Little research has highlighted how evidence-based practices (e.g., functional communication training) might be adapted to meet the needs of children with disabilities from bilingual families. In our study, we served two children with disabilities and challenging behavior whose parents primarily spoke Spanish at home, and whose teachers primarily spoke English at school. Following traditional functional communication training (i.e., one language only), we systematically replicated the findings of Neely et al. (2019) by demonstrating that functional communication responses in the untrained language (i.e., English) did not emerge when trained functional communication responses (i.e., Spanish) contacted extinction in alternative-language contexts. Simultaneously, challenging behavior consistently resurged. After children received explicit training with both languages and were taught to change the language of request when initial attempts were unsuccessful (i.e., “repair the message” training), these same children successfully obtained near optimal rates of reinforcement in both language contexts and challenging behavior did not resurge.

Diversity submission Culturally Responsive Service Provision in Behavior Analysis and Related Fields: A Systematic Review
DANIEL KWAK (University of South Florida), Marlesha Bell (University of the Pacific), Kwang-Sun Cho Blair (University of South Florida), Sarah E. Bloom (University of South Florida)
Abstract: Identifying and utilizing culturally responsive assessment, treatment, and training is important to meet the needs of culturally diverse individuals. Overall, limited research exists that addresses culture as a critical component of service provision, especially, when considering the number of empirical studies published to date. These empirical studies have been published across fields and may not easily be accessible to behavior analysts. The purpose of the study was to conduct a systematic review of literature to identify empirical studies that have incorporated culturally responsive services for individuals from diverse backgrounds. We searched for articles that considered a multitude of cultural variables including language, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sex, gender identity, religion or spirituality, age, dis/ability, and geographical areas, among other variables. The identified articles were evaluated using cultural adaptation frameworks. We will present the adaptations that were made within the included empirical studies and discuss gaps in the literature and future directions for cultural adaptation research.



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