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 #444
CE Offered: BACB
Don't Dis Kids: Embracing Normal Variation in Educational Systems
Monday, May 30, 2022
9:30 AM–9:55 AM
Meeting Level 1; Room 156B
Area: PCH
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Criss Wilhite, M.A.

Don’t Dis Kids: Embracing Normal Variation in Educational Systems Variation is a feature of all life forms and the source of change at the five levels of selection by consequences. Limiting or branding variation as abnormal leads to problems of adaptation. This paper will cover the inadequacies found in most educational systems in the United States relative to variations in what are called ‘learning styles’ of children. The rates of these variations are about the same across cultures, indicating they have been preciously selected at the genetic and epigenetic levels, but cultural environments can steer children’s lives in widely differing ways. Some variations may not work well for a child in any environment, but branding all variants as disorders (dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADD, sensory processing disorders, etc.) can result in focusing on medical conditions instead of behavior- environment interactions. This may lead to a lifetime of failure for some children, and many unnecessary costs to society. We are a social species and these variations allow for multiple skill sets within groups. Group survival can be enhanced by them. Mediation through teaching methodologies and changing the culture of colleges of education will be a main focus.

Target Audience:

Attendees should have a basic understanding of selection by consequences and the application of theoretical issues to societal problems.

Learning Objectives: 1. Use principles of selection to analyze a cultural-level problem. 2. Understand the harm and costs due to making common and widespread variations in learning ("dyslexia", "dysgraphia", "ADD," etc.) disorders. 3. Solutions to the these educational approaches in terms of methodologies of teaching and of changing the cultures of some colleges of education.



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