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

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Panel #49
CE Offered: BACB
Responding to Recent Critiques of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): Behavior Analyst and an Autistic Adult’s Perspectives
Saturday, May 27, 2023
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 4A/B
Area: AUT/DEV; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Joseph H. Cihon, Ph.D.
Chair: Joseph H. Cihon (Autism Partnership Foundation; Endicott College)
JUSTIN B. LEAF (Autism Partnership Foundation; Endicott College)
MELISSA SAUNDERS (Creative Interventions)
NOAH RUSSELL (Autism Partnership Foundation)

For over 50 years, intervention methods informed by the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) have been empirically researched and clinically implemented with autistics/individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Despite the plethora of evidence for the effectiveness of ABA-based interventions, some autism rights and neurodiversity activists have expressed concerns with ABA-based interventions. Concerns have included discontent with historical events, issues with assent, issues with behavior analytic procedures, issues with what we are teaching, ableism, masking, and possible harm that we are causing. These concerns are continually raised and discussed in various platforms (e.g., social media, conferences, in peer-reviewed papers). The purpose of this panel is to examine some of the expressed concerns about ABA-based interventions and suggest productive ways of moving forward to help provide the best outcomes for autistics/individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The panelist members will provide a variety of different perspectives (e.g., behavior analysts, clinicians, autistic adults).

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

This panel would be beneficial to any behavior analyst currently in the practice wing of the field providing behavioral intervention for autistics/individuals diagnosed with ASD (e.g., RBTs, BCaBAs, BCBAs, paraprofessionals).

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1) describe the risks of ABA critics; 2) At the end of the presentation participants will identify strategies for appropriately responding to ABA critiques; 3) At the end of the presentation participants will describe strategies for continuous improvement and innovation in research and clinical practice
Keyword(s): ABA-based intervention, ableism, masking, neurodiversity



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Modifed by Eddie Soh