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 #416
CE Offered: BACB
The Power of Telehealth for Continuing ABA-Based Interventions: An Indian Organization’s Responseto COVID-19
Monday, May 31, 2021
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Area: CSS/AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Sridhar Aravamudhan (Behavior Momentum India)
Discussant: Smita Awasthi (Behavior Momentum India)
CE Instructor: Smita Awasthi, Ph.D.

Over 200 nations around the world have been affected by the coronavirus Covid-19. At the beginning of November 2020, the number of cases was 510 Mn with 1.2 Mn deaths ('Coronavirus update Live: 24,963,515 cases and 842,336 COVID-19 virus pandemic deaths, 2020). There are over 990 million students affected by school closures in over 130 countries at the time of this submission (Https:/, 2020). India with a population of 1.3 billion is the second most populous nation in the world with approximately 4 Mn children with special needs. The Covid crisis presented a new challenge for service delivery. This two-paper symposium presents an Indian organization’s transition of its interventions for 89 children with autism and learning disabilities. The first paper presents the decision-making model on logistics, equipment determination, service delivery, data collection and adaption of organizational systems. The collaborative effort between therapists behavior supervisors, a clinical director, and parents for efficient and ethical services. The second paper presents quantitative data on the improvements in duration of sessions and the number of skills mastered by the cohort of 89 students, month wise over the 6 months period. The effects of Behavior Skills Training for parents are also presented. The findings on efficacy, social validity, enablers, and barriers to effective implementation of interventions using Telehealth are discussed.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

BCaBA, BCBA, Service providers, International participants from developing countries

Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to: (1) Learn a decision making model for Tele-Health in the absence of high end technology (2) Plan for the provision of Tele-Health on smart phone (3) Conduct outreach programs for services in developing countries while utilizing resources most effectively

Telehealth With Smartphones: A Discussion on the India Experience During COVID-19 Pandemic

Smita Awasthi (Behavior Momentum India), Sridhar Aravamudhan (Behavior Momentum India), RAZIA ALI (Behavior Momentum India), Anupama Jagdish (Behavior Momentum India), Bhavana Joshi (Behavior Momentum India), Rajeshwari K (Behavior Momentum India), Sreemon E M (Behavior Momentum India)

The first case of Covid-19 in India was identified on January 30, 2020, the day on which the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency. On March 16, 2020, the government of India ordered closure of all educational institutions in India for a fortnight. On March 24, 2020, the government declared a nationwide lockdown with shelter-in-place orders. The in-clinic services that children with learning disabilities received in special education centers and centers providing ABA based interventions was abruptly halted. This study details how our organization in India collaborated with parents of children with autism and transitioned services from in-clinic to telehealth and scaled up to transition services to more than 80 students within two weeks. This discussion paper details the decision-making model to transition the services, adapted staff training and supervision model, and the actual teaching procedures with video examples of how teaching different skills was accomplished in video meetings using only smartphones in 85% of the sessions.

The Efficacy of Telehealth in Delivering ABA Interventions: A Test-Retest Design Study With 89 Children on the Autism Spectrum
Smita Awasthi (Behavior Momentum India), Sridhar Aravamudhan (Behavior Momentum India), SHUSHMITA K.S (Behavior Momentum India), Papiya Mukherjee (Behavior Momentum India)

An organization in India had to transition its services from in-clinic to Telehealth when a lock down was implemented in March 2020 in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Eighty-nine students with diagnoses of autism or other learning disabilities participated in this study. Fifty-one therapists, 9 behavior supervisors and a Doctoral level Board Certified Behavior Analyst collaborated with parents. Devices such as smartphones, and in a few cases, iPads and laptops were used by both student and therapist. The modes of instruction included direct therapist training, parent facilitated training and parent implemented training. The efficacy of intervention can be estimated by increased duration of session time and number of trials during six months of study for the cohort of 89 students. Acquisition of targets during and pre-Covid are discussed. Response from 32 parents through an online survey suggested high parent satisfaction, improved understanding of behavior analytic services, importance of data taking, role of supervision by BCBA confirming social validity of the methods and the outcomes. The model can be useful for providing services in rural or remote areas with low concentration of behavioral intervention service providers.




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