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 #362
CE Offered: BACB
45 Years Later: In Pursuit of Achieving Generalized Outcomes Within Treatment of Severe Challenging Behavior
Monday, May 29, 2023
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 1E/F
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Lesley A. Shawler, Ph.D.
Chair: Lesley A. Shawler (Southern Illinois University)
BRITTANY TOMASI (Endicott College)
JILL HARPER (Melmark New England)

As one of the seven dimensions of applied behavior analysis, generality is a crucial component to achieving durable, long-lasting change beyond the initial therapeutic environment. Although our field has robust literature on producing efficacious outcomes when treating challenging behavior, we argue that little focus has been placed on promoting effective outcomes. Effectiveness includes the durability of treatment effects under natural contingencies, whereas efficacy is the immediate effects in the original training contexts (Ghaemmaghami et al., 2021). Forty-five years ago, Stokes and Baer (1977) astutely informed us that generalization is not a passive process in which we simply wait for generalization to occur, but rather, is an active process that must be programmed and planned. Consequently, Stokes and Osnes (1989) later proposed a technology to program and facilitate generalized outcomes. Despite their recommendations, empirically supported methods to achieve generality within the assessment and treatment of challenging behavior are limited. The purpose of this panel is to discuss the status of and pursuit of generalization when treating severe challenging behavior. We will highlight current strengths and limitations of our field while also providing recommendations on how we might better systematically evaluate generalization strategies to contribute toward achieving more ecologically valid outcomes.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Some understanding of functions of behavior and function-based intervention Some familiarity with the generalization strategies as defined by Stokes and Baer (1977) and Stokes and Osnes (1989) Prior experience with designing, developing, and implementing interventions to reduce challenging behavior

Learning Objectives: 1. State and provide examples of different generalization strategies within the literature and practice. 2. Differentiate between passive and active generalization strategies 3. Understand the differences between effective treatment outcomes and efficacious treatment outcomes. 4. Learn how to program for generalization of interventions across different settings such as inpatient, outpatient, residential settings, schools, and in-home.
Keyword(s): generalization programming, severe behavior, stokes baer, treatment development



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