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 #343
CE Offered: BACB — 
Diversity submission Organizational Cultural Change Begins With Partnership: Lessons Learned in Building Diverse, Inclusive, and Equitable Higher Education Programs
Sunday, May 29, 2022
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Meeting Level 2; Room 205B
Area: EDC/CSS; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Elizabeth Hughes Fong (Pepperdine University)
CE Instructor: Noor Younus Syed, Ph.D.

Much discussion has occurred over the last few years regarding the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in behavior analytic research and practice, particularly surrounding the need to engage in sustainable organizational change towards these initiatives. It has become apparent that listening, learning, and responding in partnership are critical tenets in this work and that, to build inclusive organizational environments, we must begin to shape major cultural changes. These presentations will focus on actions taken by higher education programs for equitable cultural shift within their institutions. The first talk will center on DEI initiatives undertaken in an applied behavior analysis (ABA) graduate program, including climate survey dissemination and analysis, required DEI training for faculty, and revising curricula to promote an increased worldview. The second presentation will describe actions taken in shifting higher education climate culture towards the creation of a nuerodiversive inclusive college, and on forming an autistic and behavior analytic partnership to lead this work. Attendees will engage in discussion surrounding actions taken to promote cultural evolution and sustainable DEI movement at organizational levels.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): cultural evolution, DEI, higher education, partnership
Target Audience:

N/A, basic level

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe actions towards building sustainable organizational environments towards DEI in higher education. (2) discuss the importance of partnership and collaboration in addressing challenging behavior analytic issues, such as anti-ABA controversy (3) identify methods to increase DEI through individual and group contingencies, leading to broader cultural change
Diversity submission 

Initiatives to Address Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Within a Higher Education Applied Behavior Analysis Department

JENNIFER LYNN HILTON (Endicott College), Noor Younus Syed (SUNY Empire State College; Anderson Center International; Endicott College), Mary Jane Weiss (Endicott College), Lisa Tereshko (Endicott College), Videsha Marya (Endicott College), Kimberly Marshall (University of Oregon; Endicott College), Ksenia Gatzunis (Endicott College), Christen Russell (Endicott College)

Recent events have highlighted the need for behavior analysis to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in service provision and in higher education. There has been a call to action issued, noting the need for cultural humility and cultural responsiveness. An opportunity exists within training programs to ensure that students of behavior analysis are instructed in ways that promote cultural responsiveness and that equip them to serve diverse populations. Additionally, more needs to be done to engineer environments where students of behavior analysis are treated with respect and compassion, and that educational environments promote the comfort and success of all students. This manuscript outlines the initiatives of an ABA department to gather information about DEI on the local level, identify goals, implement change, and evaluate progress toward these goals.

Diversity submission Building a Neurodiverse Inclusive College: An Autistic and Behavior Analytic Partnership
NOOR YOUNUS SYED (SUNY Empire State College; Anderson Center International; Endicott College), Lauren Lestremau Allen (SUNY Empire State)
Abstract: The need for diversification within higher education institutions is paramount, and neurodiversity, including autism, is no exception. Most higher education institutions within the United States have traditionally served primarily neurotypical students, with only 84 colleges and universities in the contiguous United States reporting specific supports for autistic students (McDermott et al., 2021). To increase inclusivity and accessibility of resources, SUNY Empire State College is holistically implementing universal and tiered behavioral supports across its 80 campuses and robust online learning platforms through multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) frameworks (Benner et al., 2013). While research has demonstrated that these frameworks (Benner et al., 2013), such as schoolwide positive behavior interventions and supports (SWPBIS) (Sugai & Horner, 2006,) can be successful in improving behavioral and academic outcomes for primary and secondary school students, it has not yet been implemented or investigated in a higher education setting to support students with a variety of needs, including autistic students. Our goal in this initiative is to increase equitability and inclusivity throughout the College by modifying our practices as a whole to be supportive of students with any support needs, and by obtaining continuous stakeholder feedback. Of strongest importance, creation and implementation of this project is guided by an implementation team of behavior analysts working alongside autistic advocates and caregivers in the autism community. This presentation will describe actions taken to date in sustainable organizational development towards diversity, equity, and inclusion through the building of an inclusive college via behavior analytic and autistic partnership. We will share data collected on these initiatives, and describe next steps.



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