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.


49th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2023

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #384
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts in Action
Monday, May 29, 2023
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Convention Center Four Seasons Ballroom 4
Area: AUT/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Meghan Deshais (Rutgers University)
Discussant: Corina Jimenez-Gomez (University of Florida)
CE Instructor: Meghan Deshais, Ph.D.
Abstract: The field of applied behavior analysis is making actionable efforts to improve our incorporation of diversity, equity, and inclusion into training, organizations, and practice. This symposium focuses on those efforts across a variety of domains. The first study reports findings from a survey on cultural competence in graduate training sent to Association for Behavior Analysis International verified course sequence coordinators. The second study evaluated the number of Association for Behavior Analysis International affiliated chapters that have diversity statements. The third study evaluated two approaches for establishing language skills in children with ASD from bilingual households. The fourth study compared the acquisition of language skills by children with ASD using inclusive and non-inclusive teaching materials. Implications for graduate training, organizations, and clinical practice will be discussed.
Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): bilingual, cultural competence, diversity, inclusive
Target Audience: Practitioners and graduate faculty
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Describe the extent to which graduate training programs in ABA address the standards for cultural competence in behavior analysis (Fong & Tanaka, 2013) and ABAI-affiliated chapters communicate their commitment to diversity. (2) Describe the effects of sequential vs. simultaneous training when teaching in two languages on the acquisition of tacts by children with ASD. (3) Provide a definition of inclusive teaching materials and identify potential advantages of using inclusive teaching materials when establishing new skills in children with ASD. Given a diversity and inclusion statement, listeners will be able to identify the categories of inclusion within the statement.
Diversity submission Culture in Applied Behavior Analysis Graduate Training
STEPHANIE ORTIZ (Rutgers University)
Abstract: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) graduate training programs have lagged woefully behind similar disciplines with respect to acknowledging the importance of culture and cultural competence in the clinical practice of ABA. We distributed a web-based survey to ABAI verified course sequence (VCS) coordinators and asked them to rate the importance of and the extent to which their course sequences addressed eight proposed standards for cultural competence in behavior analysis (Fong & Tanaka, 2013). In total, 37 surveys were returned, and respondents coordinated online, hybrid, and in-person graduate programs in ABA. Results suggested that more than half of respondents (67%-83%) strongly agreed that all the proposed standards were important. Across all respondents, five standards were consistently rated as being incorporated (i.e., agree and strongly agree) within their course sequence. Possible explanations for our findings and implications for graduate training in ABA will be discussed.
Diversity submission 

An Analysis of Diversity and Inclusion Statements in ABAI-Affiliated Organizations

MADISON DUKE (Florida Institute of Technology ), Jonathan K Fernand (Florida Institute of Technology), Karen Baron (North Shore Pediatric Therapy ), Leannah Lynn Sheahan (Endicott College)

Organizations can use diversity and inclusion statements to declare their values about diversity, equity, and inclusion. These statements can outline the expectations the organization has for those associated with it. The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) has a diversity and inclusion statement that defines diversity and sets their expectations for inclusive and respectful behavior at ABAI events. We examined the websites and bylaws of ABAI-affiliated chapters in the United States to determine which organizations include their own diversity and inclusion statements and what specific groups were mentioned in those statements. Results indicate that overall, very few ABAI-affiliated chapters explicitly state their own diversity and inclusion statements. Recommendations for diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and statements will be discussed.

Diversity submission 

An Evaluation of Simultaneous and Sequential Bilingualism in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

TIANJIAO LI (University of Maryland, Baltimore County ), Mirela Cengher (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Mariele Cortez (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos), Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento)

This talk will discuss the optimal procedures to teach two languages to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) from bilingual households. We compared the acquisition of tacts when (a) teaching two languages simultaneously, (b) teaching two languages sequentially, and (c) teaching one language only (control). We also evaluated the effects of the aforementioned teaching conditions on the maintenance of tacts. Finally, we evaluated the emergence of bidirectional intraverbals following the acquisition of tacts. Based on the existing data, children learned tacts in the two languages sequentially better than simultaneously. Further, sequential learning led to poorer maintenance, compared to the control condition. Finally, one participant demonstrated better bidirectional intraverbals when she was asked to fill in the blank. These findings have direct implications for clinical practice.

Diversity submission 

Evaluating the Use of Inclusive Teaching Materials for Learners With Autism

JULIANA AGUILAR (Purdue University ), Thomas S. Higbee (Utah State University), Beverly Nichols (Utah State University), Nick Alexander Lindgren (Utah State University), Jessica Anna Osos (Utah State University), Vincent E. Campbell (Utah State University), Kassidy Reinert (Utah State University), Sara Nicole Jeppson (Utah State University)

In the last decade, the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has committed to working on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The work began with call-to-action papers, empirical work on cultural accommodations, and most recently, the certifying board has changed the professional standards for board-certified behavior analysts (BCBAs). An objective and measurable step that BCBAs can take to adhere to the new ethical and professional standards is to use inclusive teaching materials. Inclusive teaching materials are teaching materials that reflect the diversity of society. This study used an adapted alternating treatment design embedded into a non-concurrent multiple baseline to evaluate the effects of an inclusive versus a noninclusive set of teaching materials on skill acquisition and generalization during a listener responding tasks in an occupations program (e.g., “Touch Scientist”). We attempted to teach six preschool-aged children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to identify occupations using an inclusive set of 2-D stimuli and a non-inclusive set of 2-D stimuli. The purpose of this study was to begin empirically evaluating inclusion within the field of ABA and attempting to apply behavioral principles, such as concept formation, multiple exemplars training, and stimulus disparity, to DEI by comparing differentiation in the acquisition and generalization rates between the two teaching materials. Acquisition of this task was difficult for all participants except one, two participants mastered only the occupations associated with the inclusive materials, and three participants were withdrawn from the study. While there were many limitations to participant learning in this study, based on an occupation by condition analysis, it did not seem that the type of teaching materials was a variable. The potential limitations and future research related to inclusive teaching materials, stimulus feature manipulation, and instructional procedures for children with ASD are discussed.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh