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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Paper Session #42
CE Offered: BACB
From Faculty to the Front Lines: Living the Research to Practice Gap
Saturday, May 28, 2022
11:00 AM–11:25 AM
Meeting Level 2; Room 205C
Area: EDC
Instruction Level: Advanced
Chair: Ginger Kelso (Northwestern State University of Louisiana)
CE Instructor: Ginger Kelso, Ph.D.

From Faculty to the Front Lines: Living the Research to Practice Gap

Domain: Service Delivery
GINGER KELSO (Northwestern State University of Louisiana)

This presentation will detail my personal experience of how the research to practice gap is affecting schools, teachers, and students. I will explain my journey from higher education to the front lines of special education as an elementary school teacher and back to higher education. As a behavior analyst and former professor, I became a teacher. However, I encountered barriers to providing research-based practices in special education classrooms. These barriers include confusion by school and district administrators about what constitutes evidence and how this resulted in selection of curricula that were ineffective. A lack of understanding of basic principles of behavior also led to Positive Behavior Support programs that required young children to wait too long to earn a reward for their behavior. Amidst these struggles, the teachers and administrators were motivated to improve the academic and behavioral outcomes of children. However, the gap between research and practice is so wide that small steps are needed to slowly change the knowledge and skills of school administrators and teachers in order to produce meaningful effects for children. Recommendations for ways to begin this journey will be provided.

Target Audience:

The target audience are individuals working in higher education, teacher training, and in supervision of BCBAs or BCaBAs in school settings. Prerequisite skills include an understanding of public school systems including curricula development and selection, evidence-based practices, and legal/ethical issues in K-12 education.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1) evaluate a minimum of three processes within the K-12 school system that prevent behavior analytic practices from being implemented with fidelity, 2) identify key professionals in a school setting who could benefit from training in principles of behavior, and 3) produce a minimum of three reasonable steps to begin improving behavior analytic practices in schools.



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