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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #440
CE Offered: BACB
Current Issues in Autism Spectrum Disorder Intervention: Assent and Social Validity
Monday, May 30, 2022
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Meeting Level 2; Room 203
Area: TBA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Peter F. Gerhardt (The EPIC School)
CE Instructor: Peter F. Gerhardt, Ed.D.

Meaningful skill development is one overarching purpose for applied work in behavior analysis. During this symposium, a literature review highlighting the tools for meaningful goal setting, a progressive approach to rapport building with clients, and a survey about safety experiences of professionals working directly with clients will be presented. The themes of assent, social validity, and meaningful curriculum are exemplified by the data reported in each project. A focus of this symposium is the guidance for future research in practice in these areas in addition to the findings in each area.

Instruction Level: Advanced
Keyword(s): assent, rapport, safety, Social validity
Target Audience:

This symposium is intended for behavior analysts with more than five years of experience working with individuals with different disability labels across a variety of environments and situations. The goal is to provide background training on three of the more complex issues facing practitioners today.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Discuss the difference between developmental and functional curricula, examples of each type, and how to objectively make decisions on which type to choose for a given client; (2) Identify the important need to use curricula and/or assessments as guides and not roadmaps to select meaningful goals; (3) Offer definitions of rapport, and identify why a need for a definition based on observable behavior is important, and how rapport is related to assent; (4) Describe a progressive approach to rapport building, and how this can be taught to staff working with clients with autism; (5) Discuss the importance of assessing social validity to indirect consumers; (6) Identify 2-3 key considerations for the balance of safety and habilitation in residential settings.

Examining Ways to Improve Outcomes for Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Review of the Literature and Available Assessments and Curricula

SHANNA BAHRY (Endicott College)

In order to promote best outcomes across the lifespan and thereby improve overall quality of life for individuals on the autism spectrum, it is critical that goals written and interventions prescribed prior to the transition to adulthood are meaningful and highly socially valid. This presentation will provide an overview of available assessment and curriculum tools commonly used in the field of applied behavior analysis to guide goal development. An analysis of skills contained within each tool across various important skill domains will be reviewed. Implications and recommendations will be discussed.


A Progressive Approach to Staff Training to Increase Rapport With Clients With Autism

JESSICA J. CAUCHI (Endicott College; Atlas Behaviour Consultation)

Rapport is an important component of ABA programs, but has historically been defined with great subjectivity and variability. The presenter will discuss rapport as a measure of assent, why this is especially important for practitioners today, and present preliminary findings of a study training staff to build rapport with children with autism using a progressive approach to rapport-building. Future directions for studies of assent, rapport, and training will be discussed.


Reports of Safety Experiences From Direct Support Comparison: A Social Validity Survey

NATALIE M. DRISCOLL (Seven Hills Foundation & Endicott College)

The direct support professionals (DSP) working in group homes in adult services are important consumers of behavior analytic services. They often have the opportunity to express their acceptance and adherence to interventions during team meetings and their experience guides decision making for important support strategies around the balance of safety and dignity of the individuals they support. A survey was conducted across multiple group homes in adult services in Massachusetts to gain an understanding of the past experiences of safety concerns by DSPs. The data show varying levels of experience with concerns such as opinions around pedestrian safety, carrying cash, and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Analysis and discussion of these data will be presented. The findings of this survey are relevant to seeking information to better inform interventions and for ongoing consideration of the least restrictive environment.




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