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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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #110
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Assessment Beyond Diagnosis: Meaningful Measurement of Behavior to Advance Clinical Practice and Research in Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Saturday, May 29, 2021
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Area: TBA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Lin Du (Teachers College, Columbia University)
CE Instructor: Lin Du, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: SOMER BISHOP (University of California, San Francisco)

Researchers in the field of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have made significant progress in assessment of social-communication and other ASD-related impairments. However, there is still a great deal to be learned about profiles of ability and disability characteristic of individuals with different neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), and about the ways in which particular abnormalities manifest at different points in development. Dr. Bishop will present information about behavioral dimensions that are most relevant to assessment and differential diagnosis of ASD and other NDDs. She will also discuss the importance of considering individual factors such as age, sex, IQ, and language level when interpreting scores from standardized measures for diagnostic or other purposes. Integrated assessment across multiple behavioral domains is not only needed to ensure valid diagnostic practices, but more importantly, to generate individualized and meaningful treatment plans. Improved coordination between diagnostic and treatment providers is essential for increasing efficiency and utility of current assessment practices. Additionally, there is a need for increased coordination of measurement strategies across disciplines, in order to ensure appropriate selection of short-and long-term goals and corresponding measures of change. Ultimately, we must toward more coordinated and goal-directed assessment practices that do not place such a premium on diagnostic labels, but instead focus on generating information that directly facilitates treatment for a given individual at a particular moment in time.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience: Clinicians and researchers.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) discuss individual-level factors that affect manifestation and measurement of social-communication deficits and restricted and repetitive behaviors; (2) identify subtypes of social-communication deficits; (3) identify range of domains relevant for assessment and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders across the lifespan; (4) discuss how to apply assessment results across domains to develop individualized treatment plans and optimize strategies for measuring change in response to treatment.
SOMER BISHOP (University of California, San Francisco)
Somer Bishop is a clinical psychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health and the Weill Institute for Neurosciences at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Bishop’s research and clinical interests focus on the assessment of social-communication and restricted and repetitive behaviors characteristic of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and how these symptom dimensions are affected by individual and contextual factors across the lifespan. At UCSF, Dr. Bishop’s lab is focused on identifying and refining dimensional measures of ASD-related behavior that can be used to delineate phenotypic and etiologic similarities and differences between ASD and other developmental disorders, taking into account individual factors such as age, sex, IQ, and language level. She is interested in developing trans-diagnostic tools that can be used in both clinical and research settings to assess profiles of social-communicative and other behavioral strengths and challenges across development in varied clinical populations (e.g., ASD, intellectual disability, ADHD). Her work has been funded by NICHD, HRSA, DoD, and the Autism Science Foundation. She has co-authored more than 70 peer-reviewed publications and serves on multiple journal editorial boards. At the UCSF Center for ASDs and NDDs, Dr. Bishop participates in comprehensive, multi-disciplinary assessment and treatment of children and adults with ASD and related disorders. She directs the diagnostic training program, conducting multiple-day trainings on widely used autism diagnostic tools and best diagnostic practices for professionals from all over the world.



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