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

CE by Type: NASP


Workshop #W26
Providing Behavioral Sex Education for Persons With Autism and Related Issues: Key Points for Behavior Analysts to Consider
Friday, May 26, 2023
8:00 AM–11:00 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 3A
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Frank R. Cicero, Ph.D.
FRANK R. CICERO (Seton Hall University)
Description: Research indicates that over 75% of individuals on the autism spectrum have a desire to engage in some form of sexual behavior. This percentage is consistent with data from the neurotypical population, meaning that individuals with autism do not differ from neurotypical individuals when it comes to sexual drive. Research has also found that they do not differ from neurotypical persons with regard to sexual development. Why then, is problematic sexual behavior so often reported in adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum? The answer lies more in social skills, communication, and knowledge deficits than in issues with sexual development or interest. Here is where the knowledge and skills of a behavior analyst can be most beneficial when it comes to treating behaviors of a sexual topography. Through this talk, the audience will be introduced to some key points in the assessment and treatment of socially problematic sexual behavior in individuals with autism as well as how to assess and build socially appropriate, yet personally satisfying and pleasurable sexual behavior. Given time constraints, this presentation will focus on a few major treatment areas in order to introduce the audience to how behavior analytic principles and procedures can be helpful in the treatment of sexual behavior. We will focus heavily on behavioral assessment prior to treatment and will also discuss BACB ethical codes that must be considered when treating or teaching behavior of a sexual topography.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) list reasons why sexual expression in people with autism is often socially problematic, (2) list three ways that reinforcement can be used to shape socially appropriate sexual behavior, (3) describe three assessment methods useful for behavior of a sexual topography.
Activities: The workshop will consist of the following activities: 1. Didactic instruction by the presenter, 2. Group discussion, 3. Presentation and review of teaching materials, 4. Role play and practice of presented teaching procedures where applicable, 5. Sharing and discussion of research data
Audience: The current workshop content is geared towards the following audience: 1. Intermediate and advanced behavior analysts who have a desire to learn how to apply behavioral principles and teaching methods to the subject of sexual behavior. 2. Educators and related service professionals who have an advanced behavioral background and work with individuals with developmental issues that have needs in the area of sexual behavior. 3. Students in a behavior analysis program who want to be introduced to the topic.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Autism, Puberty, Sex, Sexuality
Workshop #W35
Diversity submission Verbal Operant Experimental Analyses for Speakers With Autism and Other Language Disorders
Friday, May 26, 2023
8:00 AM–3:00 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 1E/F
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Lee Mason, Ph.D.
LEE MASON (Cook Children's Health Care System), ALONZO ALFREDO ANDREWS (The University of Texas at San Antonio)
Description: Individualized interventions are premised upon the accurate assessment of behavioral deficits and excesses. Forty years of research on functional analysis has shown it to be the most rigorous and precise method of behavioral assessment. Traditionally used to identify the environmental determinants of problem behavior, functional analyses are increasingly being used to assess a variety of different functional and academic skills. This workshop focuses on extending the technology of functional analysis to examining the verbal behavior deficits of individuals with autism. Even with early intensive behavioral intervention, a large number of individuals with autism fail to develop fluent speech. These individuals may require a more systematic approach to language acquisition. We provide an interactive approach to conducting verbal operant experimental (VOX) analyses, and using the results of this assessment for developing individualized treatment plans for individuals with autism and other language disorders. Specifically, we use multiple-exemplar training and guided practice to demonstrate the procedures and interpretation of a VOX analysis. The methodology described in this workshop is empirically supported, and conceptually systematic with a behavior-analytic approach to language assessment and intervention. Special attention will be paid to speakers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe the strength of verbal operants in relation to one another; (2) conduct a VOX analysis; (3) develop individualized treatment objectives; and (4) demonstrate the process for abstracting stimulus control over each of the verbal operants.
Activities: Workshop objectives will be met through a balanced presentation of lecture, video modeling, role-playing, and workbook demonstrations. Core content will be taught through lecture and video demonstrations of strategies will be provided. Guided notes will be provided in order to support participant learning.
Audience: This workshop is geared towards Board Certified Behavior Analysts, Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts, Registered Behavior Technicians, special education teachers, school psychologists, speech language pathologists, and other professionals who provide direct services to strengthen the language of children with autism. Additionally, researchers who study verbal behavior may benefit from this workshop.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): errorless learning, functional analysis, stimulus overselectivity, verbal behavior
Workshop #W44
Diversity submission Trauma: The Invisible Elephant Underlying Challenging Behavior
Friday, May 26, 2023
8:00 AM–3:00 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 4C/D
Area: EDC/CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Jeannie A. Golden, Ph.D.
JEANNIE A. GOLDEN (East Carolina University), PAULA Y FLANDERS (, DANIELLE WEBB (East Carolina University), MELISSA GLENN (East Carolina University)
Description: Behavior analysts are often charged with the responsibility of dealing with challenging behaviors and may be unaware of the impact of underlying trauma on these behaviors. These challenging behaviors are frequently not amenable to traditional functional behavioral assessments (FBAs) and positive behavioral interventions (PBIs). This may be because behavior analysts are reluctant to incorporate distal setting events, discriminative stimuli, and motivating operations into their FBAs, which is essential to the incorporation of trauma into these analyses. Further, it is necessary to acknowledge the impact of verbal behavior in implementing effective interventions, as covert thoughts and feelings often are the establishing operations that motivate challenging behaviors. This workshop will familiarize participants with FBAs that incorporate trauma as well as with strategies that use verbal behavior in conducting interventions. They will see role-play demonstrations of these strategies and have the opportunity to practice these strategies with feedback and correction. They will also be provided with PBIs specific to their own caseloads.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to: 1. Explain why youth who have experienced trauma are more likely to exhibit challenging behaviors. 2. Describe how to incorporate distal setting events, discriminative stimuli, and motivating operations into functional behavioral assessments of youth who have experienced trauma. 3. Describe how covert thoughts and feelings often serve as establishing operations that motivate challenging behaviors. 4. Explain why verbal behavior is important in implementing effective interventions for youth who have experienced trauma. 5. Describe some of the verbal behavior strategies that could be effective interventions for youth who have experienced trauma.
Activities: Participants in this workshop will receive didactic information as well as modeling, role play, feedback and practice of specific trauma-based interventions. Supplemental materials such as written scenarios, fidelity checklists, and sample FBAs and PBIs will also be provided.
Audience: Participants can include BCBAs, teachers, school administrators, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, counselors, therapists, and social workers. Participants should be familiar with terms including verbal behavior, discriminative stimuli, establishing and abolishing operations, and positive and negative reinforcement, and have experience and examples dealing with those terms.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): challenging behavior, racial trauma, trauma, trauma informed
Workshop #W64
The Self & Match System: Self-Monitoring as a Behavioral Intervention
Friday, May 26, 2023
4:00 PM–7:00 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 1C/D
Area: EDC; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Katharine M. Croce, Ed.D.
JAMIE SIDEN SALTER (Self & Match Educational Consultation), KATHARINE M. CROCE (Felician University)
Description: This interactive and hands-on workshop will provide an excellent opportunity for individuals to learn a well-defined, systematic self-monitoring intervention and motivational system. Participants attending this workshop will leave with a comprehensive tool in hand to implement immediately within the school, home, and clinic setting. This workshop explores peer-reviewed research that supports the implementation of self-monitoring systems for students of various ages and developmental levels. A discussion of self-monitoring procedures incorporating a "match"/accountability component will be presented, with specific focus on the Self & Match System, a user-friendly, easy to implement, empirically-supported system. Participants in this training will acquire a systematic guide to planning self-monitoring systems, as well as a Self & Match manual with substantial training materials. Participants will strengthen their knowledge of necessary considerations prior to implementing any self-monitoring or motivational system. Additionally, participants gain an understanding of implementing Self & Match as a classroom management tool in special education and general education settings. The Self & Match System has been used internationally to support individuals with emotional behavior disorders, autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, and unidentified students in general education. Self & Match can be employed as a part of an individualized behavior system and/or a class-wide behavior management procedures and school-wide behavior management procedures as a part of SWPBIS. Self & Match has been applied in a diverse array of settings including special and general education settings, homes, communities, clinics, public and private schools, and recreational programs. Great workshop for individuals and/or teams!
Learning Objectives: Participants will: 1) Identify the research-based benefits of self-monitoring interventions 2) Effectively apply, individualize, and monitor progress of a self-monitoring system 3) Identify the necessary components of an effective motivational system 4) Identify the importance of pre-treatment planning on the effectiveness of intervention 5) Identify the basic components of the Self & Match System 6) Understand the implementation Self & Match System in a variety of settings including a General Education Setting, Home Setting, and Special Education Setting 7) Systematically individualize an intervention based on collaborative and critical thinking 8) Systematically consider function in the development of self-monitoring interventions and reinforcement opportunities
Activities: During the course of this hands-on workshop, participants will strengthen the skills needed to effectively develop self-monitoring interventions incorporating a match/accountability component. This workshop will review the purpose/rationale of self-monitoring, the benefits of self-monitoring, the Self & Match system, and consider the role of technology in enhancing this behavioral intervention. Additionally, participants will interactively consider systematic considerations prior to implementation to lead them on their way to creating their own Self & Match System. The format combines lecture, small group collaboration, data analysis, guided practice, and discussion.
Audience: Participants will engage in active learning to increase their knowledge of implementing self-monitoring as a behavioral intervention. Workshop attendees will acquire a systematic guide to planning self-monitoring systems, Self & Match manual with substantial training materials, and access to an online Self & Match form creator. This workshop is designed for behavior analysts, consultants, school psychologists, autism specialists, special educators, teachers, administrators, and/or others who support individuals from pre-K to 21 in school, home, or clinic settings as well as adults that are interested in increasing appropriate behaviors. Great workshop for individuals and/or teams!
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Behavior intervention, PBIS, Self&Match, Self-monitoring
Symposium #79
Innovative Applications of Telehealth
Saturday, May 27, 2023
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 1A/B
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Kelly M. Schieltz (University of Iowa)
CE Instructor: Kelly M. Schieltz, Ph.D.

Telehealth is a service delivery tool that has been used across healthcare for decades to increase patient access to healthcare. However, the use of telehealth as a mode to increase access takes on many purposes (e.g., increase skills or knowledge) within a variety of formats (e.g., synchronous versus asynchronous; direct patient care versus consultation versus education). As the use of telehealth continues to grow in behavior analysis, the expansion of its focus and format also grows with innovative applications that continue to further our understanding of how it can best be used to fulfill the needs of our clients and workforce. As an example of this expansion, this symposium highlights the work of three different research groups who sought to (a) evaluate the effects of a telehealth model for improving the workplace social skills of adolescents with developmental disabilities, (b) understand the current literature on the use of teleeducation to improve the knowledge and practices of teachers, and (c) qualify the live coaching behaviors of therapists who supported parents via telehealth to implement functional analysis and functional communication training procedures with their children in their homes.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): coaching, teleeducation, telehealth
Target Audience:

Intermediate audience experience with telehealth and coaching providers/caregivers and/or clients

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe how telehealth was utilized to increase workplace social skills of adolescents with developmental disabilities; (2) summarize the techniques used via telehealth to improve the knowledge and skills of teachers; (3) describe the most and least commonly used therapist behaviors during behavioral assessment and treatment phases when providing live coaching to parents via telehealth.

Technician-Delivered Telehealth to Teach Transferable Vocational Skills to Adolescents With Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities

JULIA M HRABAL (Baylor University), MacKenzie Raye Wicker (Baylor University), Tonya Nichole Davis (Baylor University), Renming Liu (Baylor University), Kristina McGinnis (Baylor University), Poorvi Balaji (Baylor University)

Obtaining and maintaining employment is a critical goal for individuals transitioning into adulthood; however, high rates of unemployment continue to be demonstrated among individuals with disabilities. Deficits in transferable skills, also known as “soft skills” or “workplace social skills”, are a barrier that prevents many individuals with autism from acquiring and maintaining employment. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a technician-delivered telehealth model to teach transferable skills to adolescents and adults diagnosed with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Three individuals ages 15 to 18 years with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder participated in the study. Each participant selected three transferable skills in which they wished to improve. During intervention sessions, a BCBA shared written instructions via the screen share function of Zoom. The implementer then instructed the participant to complete the specific vocational skill and delivered least-to-most prompting with vocal instructions and model prompts. Results indicate that technician-delivered telehealth is a viable model for teaching transferable vocational skills. Limitations and areas for future research will be discussed.

Using Virtual Coaching to Increase Teacher Implementation Fidelity: A Systematic and Quality ReviewUsing Virtual Coaching to Increase Teacher Implementation Fidelity: A Systematic and Quality Review
CHARISSA DONN RICHARDS (Purdue University), Amanda M Borosh (Purdue University), Rose A. Mason (Purdue University)
Abstract: Teachers often report feeling that they need more training and support to implement evidence-based practices in the classroom. One way to help teachers feel better equipped in this area is to provide them with professional development and coaching around specific practices. This can be a challenge for some school districts due to budgetary concerns or distance from experts in the field. Recently, there has been a move towards providing coaching and feedback via virtual methods. To assess what research is currently available on this this topic, a systematic review was conducted. Results of the systematic review show that numerous coaching and feedback techniques are being used across different classroom topics including behavior management strategies, social-emotional development, and academic skills. To better understand which of these studies are of high quality, the authors also conducted a quality review using the CEC quality indicators. The results of the review will be discussed along with future implications for the field around virtual coaching methods.

A Retrospective Analysis of Therapists’ Coaching Behavior When Directing Parents to Conduct Behavioral Assessments and Treatments via Telehealth

Alesia Larsen (University of Iowa), KELLY SCHIELTZ (University of Iowa), Amanda Barrett (University of Iowa), Matthew O'Brien (The University of Iowa)

Research on the delivery of behavioral assessment and treatment via telehealth has focused largely on child outcomes and parent procedural fidelity. By contrast, the behavior of the therapists coaching parents to conduct assessment and treatment has garnered little research consideration. In this study, we conducted a retrospective analysis of behavior therapists’ coaching behaviors when directing parents to conduct functional analysis (FA) and functional communication training (FCT) with their young children with autism via telehealth. Coaching behaviors for five experienced behavior therapists across seven parent-child dyads were scored using a combination of standardized and novel behavior codes. Therapists displayed more social engagement behaviors than any other type of behavior throughout the study, and rates of antecedent and consequence behaviors shifted across the FA and FCT phases. Results are discussed in relation to therapists’ goals during behavioral assessment and treatment and the implications for training behavioral therapists to coach parents via telehealth.

Symposium #94
Advances in the Analysis of Behavior-Physiology Relations
Saturday, May 27, 2023
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 1C/D
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Joseph D. Dracobly (University of North Texas)
CE Instructor: Joseph D. Dracobly, Ph.D.

As the science of behavior advances, we seek new ways to understand the dynamic variables that influence behavior. With the advancement of technology, behavior analysts are better able to look "under the skin," and understand how a variety of physiological variables interact with other behavior-environment relations. In this symposium, researchers will present three recent advancements in the investigation of the interaction between physiology and behavior, including a method for identifying trauma-related stimuli in the everyday environment, an investigation of the relationship between heart rate and severe problem behavior, and a demonstration of the utility of measuring heart rate in the treatment of phobias. Each study will present unique insights into these dynamics and include practical strategies for including these measures to enhance more precise, wholistic interventions.

Instruction Level: Advanced
Keyword(s): heart rate, phobia, problem behavior, technology
Target Audience:

Intermediate to advanced; Attendees should have experience in the assessment and treatment of either severe behavior disorders or other psychological conditions (e.g., phobia).

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe a method to identify trauma-related stimuli present in the everyday environment through analysis of heart rate and various parameters of choice during preference assessments; (2) describe how to analyze the relationship between heart rate and problem behavior and functional properties of problem behavior; (3) describe the utility of measuring heart rate in the assessment and treatment of phobias.

An Evaluation of the Effects of Trauma-Related Stimuli on Behavior and Heartrate During Preference Assessments

AARON JOSEPH SANCHEZ (University of North Texas), Elizabeth Joy Houck (University of North Texas), Joseph D. Dracobly (University of North Texas), Melanie Bauer (University of North Texas), Danielle Pelletier (University of North Texas), Richard G. Smith (University of North Texas)

Traumatic events can result in persistent, undesirable behavior changes, detrimental to one’s quality of life. Some "triggers,” stimuli related to traumatic events, may be difficult or impossible to avoid. People with intellectual disabilities (ID) are often unable to tact their “triggers”. Objective procedures to identify “triggers,” not requiring advanced verbal behavior, represent an opportunity for effective and compassionate care. In this study, we evaluated a method to assess the effects of trauma-related stimuli on behavior of adults with ID. We measured heartrate, freezing, scanning, choice latency, and selection order during preference assessments in the presence and absence of trauma-related stimuli. Our results suggest these additional measures used during preference assessments could be useful in identifying “triggers” for people with limited verbal communication skills. Objective procedures that can be used to identify “triggers” could improve compassionate care for people with ID and a history of exposure to traumatic events.

Heart Rate as a Predictive Biomarker for Severe Destructive Behavior
LIAM MCCABE (Rutgers University), Brian D. Greer (Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School)
Abstract: Previous studies have examined the predictive validity of heart rate (HR) on severe destructive behavior, however such research has yet to improve clinical procedures or our understanding of physiology and destructive behavior. The purpose of this study was to examine the predictive validity of HR on varying topographies and functions of destructive behavior while controlling antecedent and consequent events through functional analyses (FA). In Experiment 1, we assessed the reliability of the Polar H10 HR monitor and the feasibility of its use in an analog FA session using a confederate participant and found that the Polar H10 HR monitor was a reliable measure of HR. In Experiment 2, we examined the predictive validity of HR on destructive behavior and the patterns of physiological arousal across within-session intervals of reinforcer presence or absence in four children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Results of Experiment 2 indicated that HR was not a reliable predictor of either automatically or socially reinforced destructive behavior. However, we found that measurement of reinforcer presence or absence was sufficient to predict socially reinforced destructive behavior. Although HR was not predictive of destructive behavior, we have provided a procedural framework for future assessment of other biological measures.
Measuring Heart Rate During Treatment of Needle Phobia
LINDSAY LLOVERAS (University of Florida ), Kerri P. Peters (University of Florida)
Abstract: There are many empirically validated treatments for needle phobia that have been evaluated with both participants with and without autism spectrum disorder, such as differential reinforcement and stimulus fading. These studies typically include problem behavior or questionnaire data as the primary dependent variables to demonstrate treatment effectiveness. However, some of the most socially valid dependent variables are not visible to the casual observer; they occur beneath the skin, but nonetheless can be directly measured. The current study used wearable heart rate monitors during treatment of needle phobia in participants with histories of problem behavior in the context of blood draws and medical procedures involving needles. We present these physiological data along with observable behavior data as dependent measures during treatment. Ethical implications for treatment of problem behavior in aversive contexts are considered. We discuss potential future applications including using heart rate monitors during treatment of phobias and problem behavior during aversive contexts.
Symposium #127
Clinical Evaluations of PEAK Relational Training System and Related Assessments
Sunday, May 28, 2023
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 3C
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Allyssa Minick (Endicott College)
CE Instructor: Amanda N. Chastain, M.A.

The PEAK Relational Training System is a standardized behavior-analytic comprehensive treatment model that has been supported by over 70 published peer-reviewed studies. This symposium will present three papers extending previous work on PEAK by examining the impact of treatment dosage, exploring a play-based assessment for early-childhood learners, and evaluating its assessment tool in classifying autism symptom severity. Specifically, the first paper will present the outcome of a systematic literature review on using play-based unstructured assessment in early-childhood intervention and preliminary results on a new play-based assessment. The second paper will focus on parameters, such as dosage, that predicted the treatment outcome of PEAK-based intervention. The third paper will examine convergent validity on the PEAK Comprehensive Assessment’s (PCA) ability in classifying autism symptom severity. Implication on the assessment and treatment delivery of PEAK will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Assessment, PEAK, Psychometrics, Symptom Severity
Target Audience:

It would be helpful for audience members to have a basic understanding of complex language and cognition from a behavior-analytic perspective (e.g., derived relational responding, equivalence, relational frame theory, PEAK).

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe factors impacting the treatment outcome of PEAK; (2) describe the differences between play-based and structured behavior-analytic skill assessment; (3) describe convergent validity between the PCA and common instruments for autism symptoms.

Play-Based Assessments in Early-Childhood Applied Behavior Analysis Intervention

JENNIFER POSEY (Endicott College), Mark R. Dixon (Endicott College)

This presentation seeks to examine the efficacy of play-based assessments as compared to highly structured skill-based assessments when identifying treatment areas for learners enrolled in early childhood ABA programs. In order to provide the most effective treatment, it is essential that providers accurately identify the skill repertoire of their learners to include foundational skills such as early communication and learner readiness, as well as more advanced social communicative repertoires that include derived relational responding. Young learners enrolled in early intervention programs may lack necessary prerequisite skills to engage in highly structured assessments and may be more appropriately assessed in a play based format. As such, it is essential that an assessment of skills is not only robust, but adequately engages the learner. Through a systematic literature review, the current paper argues that there is a lack of empirically validated play-based assessment tools available to behavior analysts. In addition to reviewing current research surrounding play-based behavior-analytic assessments, this presentation will also provide data supporting the use of play-based assessment according to learner repertoires and provide evidence that a new play-based behavior analytic tool is both effective and utilitarian to practitioners of early childhood behavior analytic programming.

Evaluating the Relationship between Dosage and Outcomes for Children with Autism Receiving PEAK Intervention
LINDSEY NICOLE HOLTSMAN (Emergent Learning STL Center ), Mark R. Dixon (University of Illinois at Chicago), Zhihui Yi (Univeristy of Illinois at Chicago)
Abstract: Applied behavior analysis (ABA) has received wide support in its effectiveness in promoting socially significant changes. The intensity of such intervention is often left to the hands of clinicians. Although it is often assumed that a more intense intervention started at early stages of life would lead to better long-term outcome, very few study examined the relationship between the intensity of ABA treatment and learner outcome. The current study examined the relationship between dosage of ABA services and learner’s progression during standardized behavior-analytic testing. Using a cohort of 26 participants who all received center-based ABA services, the current study presents post-hoc analyses of learner’s data on parameters predicting learner’s progress. Results show that the weekly average of ABA services predicted learner’s improvements in the PEAK Comprehensive Assessment (PCA) through 6-month of PEAK-based intervention. Other parameters were also analyzed for potential predictors of treatment success. Implications for optimizing dosage for PEAK treatment delivery was discussed.
Evaluating Relationships Between the PEAK Comprehensive Assessment and Measures of Autism Symptomology
AMANDA N. CHASTAIN (University of Illinois, Chicago), Zhihui Yi (Univeristy of Illinois at Chicago), Meredith T. Matthews (University of Illinois at Chicago), Mark R. Dixon (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Abstract: The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule Second Edition (ADOS-2) is often used as a diagnostic tool used for evaluating symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The ADOS-2 is used in combination with other, often subjective, measures, such as Child Autism Rating Scale questionnaire for parents and caregivers (CARS-2), to formally diagnose an individual with ASD. The PEAK Comprehensive Assessment (PCA) is a standardized objective measure of language and cognition and includes the PEAK Autism Symptoms and Behavioral Observation Summary (PAS-BOS). The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the relationship between scores on the PAS-BOS, ADOS-2, PCA, and CARS. Results indicate statistically significant correlations between the CARS-2 parent questionnaire and PAS-BOS, as well as between the CARS-2 and total PCA score. Analyses were also conducted evaluating the relationship between the above variables and the ADOS-2 autism classification. Implications and findings in PCA’s ability in classifying autism symptom severity will be discussed.
Symposium #154
Basic and Applied Advances and Digitization of Relational Framing Procedures for Persons With Autism
Sunday, May 28, 2023
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 4E/F
Area: AUT/EAB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Mikayla Campbell (Utah Valley University)
Discussant: Caleb Stanley (Utah Valley University)
CE Instructor: Zhihui Yi, M.S.

This symposium will span multiple novel and innovative areas in the delivery of relational training (RT) procedures. The presentations will include 1) basic research that compares fixed and mixed presentation during relational training and their efficacy in promoting the emergence of derived relational responding (DRR); 2) an applied study comparing traditional table-top RT and computer-assisted RT in learner engagement and robustness in DRR; 3) applied study using alternating treatment design comparing learner outcomes between table-top pen-and-paper RT and computer-assisted RT which involves a custom-built electronic data collection (EDC) system and computer-assisted RT instructions; and finally 4) an exploratory randomized controlled trial evaluating the effect of the same custom-built system on learner and staff outcomes among eight students receiving RT as part of their Individualized Education Programs (IEP) in a public school setting. Implications for improving and optimizing the delivery of RT procedures will be discussed. In sum, presentations 1-3 seek to expand research in parameters optimizing RT procedures through basic and applied research, while presentation 4 seeks to investigate the real-world impact of the above findings.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Electronic Data-Collection, PEAK, Relational Training
Target Audience:

Behavior analysts, students, and faculty

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe differing outcomes between mixed and blocked RT procedures; (2) describe outcomes of computer-assisted RT and EDC; (3) compare the differences between pen-and-paper table-top RT and computer-assisted RT with EDC.
Rates of Learning Under Fixed- and Mixed-Operant Arrangements: Adult Performance on Computer-Based Discrete Trial Tasks
CRAIG A MARRER (Endicott College), Mark R. Dixon (Endicott College)
Abstract: Discrete trial training remains a common intervention procedure within applied behavior analysis. However, a variety of procedural variations have arisen within applied practice, some of which do not appear to be directly related to applied research. The current study investigated the effects of fixed- and mixed-operant instructional arrangements on rates of learning with adult participants. A group design was used in which participants completed matching and listener discrimination training with arbitrary stimuli via a computer program across both operant arrangements. Results indicate that rates of learning were better during fixed-operant training compared to a mixed-operant training. These preliminary results suggest the need for additional examination of procedures commonly used within applied practice, especially those that do not seem to be emergent from the experimental literature.
Comparing the Effectiveness of Traditional and Automated Relational Frame Training on Client Engagement
MEREDITH T. MATTHEWS (University of Illinois at Chicago), Zhihui Yi (Univeristy of Illinois Chicago), Mark R. Dixon (University of Illinois Chicago), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University)
Abstract: Discrete trial training (DTT) is an extremely widely used and highly supported method of teaching skills by breaking them down into smaller, chain-like increments through the use of reinforcement using preferred items. Match to sample training procedures presented in a DTT format have been documented to promote derived relational responding. While traditional DTT is long supported, using physical stimuli can become repetitive and redundant, can reduce the efficiency during trial blocks, and often consumes far more time and resources when compared to similar gamified programs. We utilized an alternating treatment design across three programs to determine if a computerized version of PEAK reaches the same or better outcomes when compared to the traditional DTT delivery mode. The programs selected were novel to the learner to ensure that no previous relationships had been established, and each set contained unique stimuli to ensure that no symbols received reinforcement from the other trials. The present study sought to assess the effects of computer-assisted relational training against the traditional tabletop relational training delivery mode through the robustness of derived relational responding, percentage of independent correct responding, as well as frequency measures of inattention during trial blocks. Implications of applying an automated, computer-assisted form of relational training versus the traditional tabletop relational training delivery mode alone are discussed.
Comparing Traditional and Automated PEAK Programming on Client and Staff Outcomes: PowerPEAK
CLAIRE M ZUCH (Missouri State University), Meredith T. Matthews (University of Illinois at Chicago), Kaylee Liley (Missouri State University), Lindsey Nicole Holtsman (Emergent Learning STL Center ), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University)
Abstract: The long-standing traditional approach to DTT utilizes physical stimuli which can become monotonous for participants and can decrease efficacy in programming when compared to similar programs that has been gamified. While these effects are true for participants, traditional DTT programming can become redundant or repetitive to clinician while consuming more time than programs which have been automated. The first study utilized an alternating design across five participants comparing the robustness of derived relational responding (DRR), percentage of correct responding, as well as frequency of inattention through traditional DTT procedures against an automated form of DTT. Participant’s results demonstrated similar outcomes when using traditional and automated DTT programming. The second study provides an extension off the first by comparing fidelity of treatment implementation by clinicians, duration of individual program, and total programs completed through traditional DTT procedures against automated DTT procedures in an alternating treatment design. Efficiency in automated programming is demonstrated by the decrease of program duration and increase of total programs completed when compared to traditional programming. Both studies demonstrate the potential for automation to advance the field forward in the localized context of a clients programming and in the broader context of efficiency in programming for clinicians.

The Digital Revolution: Comparing Staff and Learner Outcomes of Computer-Assisted Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Relational Frame Training of Children With Autism and Related Disabilities

ZHIHUI YI (Univeristy of Illinois Chicago), Jennifer Koenig (Highland Community Unit School District #5), Mark R. Dixon (University of Illinois Chicago)

There has been an increasing presence using electronic data collection (EDC) among applied behavior analysis (ABA) services. Studies show that both generic and custom-built proprietary software can effectively and accurately collect behavior data similar to traditional pen-and-paper data collection. The current study extended previous findings in evaluating the efficacy of a custom-built EDC during relational frame training based on the PEAK curriculum, given its unique procedures (e.g., scoring, relational training procedures, etc.). Eight participants were randomly assigned to two groups (Experiment VS Control), and over the course of three weeks, participants received PEAK-based relational training as part of their Individualized Education Program (IEP). After week 1, participants in the Experiment Group transitioned to the EDC, where teachers and staff used the custom-built EDC in delivering ABA services. Results show a significant interaction between group assignment and time (p < .006). The total duration needed to complete all assigned programs for participants in the Experiment Group significantly decreased after the transition to EDC (p = .003) and maintained at the reduced level in week 3 (p = .862). No significant changes were observed for participants in the Control Group (p = .676). Implications for using EDC to assist relational training were discussed.

Panel #243
Diversity submission Embracing Virtual Opportunities: Bringing Multidisciplinary School-Based Consultation to Life
Sunday, May 28, 2023
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Convention Center 403/404
Area: EDC/OBM; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Heather Volchko, M.Ed.
Chair: Manuel Huecias Rodriguez (Threshold Learning Consultancy)
HEATHER VOLCHKO (Threshold Learning Consultancy)
MARLA WATTS (Threshold Learning Consultancy; Positive Behavior Supports Corporation)
ALLISON L HALE (Illinois School District U-46)

The world saw a spike in available technology during the global pandemic of 2020 and schools led the charge to provide continued access to education from beyond the classroom walls. Teachers learned new ways of fostering engagement and students learned all kinds of new skills. Professionals found new ways of working together as colleagues who used to be down the hall - and found new colleagues across the country and the globe while battling unfathomable personal and societal adversity. The mantra of lifelong learning was on full display in education! Leveraging this increased openness and comfort with collaborating in virtual spaces, this diverse panel of colleagues and friends continues to work together remotely to serve communities with a wide range of social and ethnic backgrounds. These school-based BCBAs will share their experiences consulting with schools as they answer your questions. Join them to explore how they have met organizational and individual needs by expanding their use of virtual school-based consulting.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

This session is appropriate for professionals who interface directly with the highly applied school setting. Basic understandings of behavior analysis and varied applications of principles will be assumed as part of this conversation.

Learning Objectives: (1) Participants will learn about different forms of education consultation positioned in diverse (e.g., socioeconomic, linguistic, racial) contexts; (2) Participants will learn how behavior analysis is applied individually, class-wide, and at the systems level of school settings based on presented and identified needs; (3) Participants will learn how one group of BCBAs leverage virtual methods to extend and scale their consultation capacity.
Keyword(s): consulting, multidisciplinary, school-based, virtual
Symposium #245
Is There a Future for Behavior Analysis as a Science and a Practice?
Sunday, May 28, 2023
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Hyatt Regency, Centennial Ballroom D
Area: PCH/VRB; Domain: Theory
Chair: Zhihui Yi (Univeristy of Illinois Chicago)
Discussant: RuthAnne Rehfeldt (Emergent Learning Center)
CE Instructor: Mark R. Dixon, Ph.D.

It has been decades since the debut of contextual behavior science. During this time a small proportion of behavior analysts have shifted their world view from a predominate Skinnerian science to a broader definition of what behavior analysis could be. Additionally, many outside the field have also embraced this modified version of behaviorism and by doing so have made significant progress in understanding the human condition. This symposium will describe the various similarities and differences in contextual and radical behaviorism and suggest that our path to a more successful future of saving the world will require movement from our past traditions.

Instruction Level: Advanced
Keyword(s): Contextual Behaviorism
Target Audience:

Behavior analysts, students, and faculty

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe contextual behaviorism; (2) describe the differing views on human language and cognition from a Skinnerian and contextual behaviorism perspective; (3) describe arguments for the field to evolve and embrace contextual behaviorism.

Why Contextual Behaviorism is Needed for Behavior Analysis to Assume Its Rightful Role

STEVEN C. HAYES (University of Nevada, Reno)

Skinnerian Behavior Analysis has had a major and positive impact on the world. Skinner's Radical Behaviorism got many things right, including a naturalistic approach, a focus on the importance of the individual organism, a focus on processes, the contingency as an integrated unit of analysis, insistence that behavioral development was an evolutionary process and thus that behavior analysis belonged as a part of evolutionary science, a pragmatic truth criterion, and the willingness to apply behavioral principles to scientists themselves. These positive steps were undermined, however, by a failure to appreciate what was truly new about verbal behavior, and a resulting excessive reliance on principles derived solely from non-human animals. These mistakes were amplified by a lack of clarity about the role of theory, an excessive reliance on interpretation, methodological rigidity, disconnections with evolutionary science and mainstream psychological science, and professionalization driven by principles and methods that fail to respond in a timely way to advancements within the field. The result has been increasing intellectual isolation, the practical narrowing applied behavior analysis, and a crisis of sustainability within the field. This paper will argue that these problems are self-inflicted and are unnecessary given the state of the evidence. Contextual behaviorism is a proven and robust offshoot of classical radical behaviorism and BA / ABA with a body of empirical and practical products that prove that a bright future awaits behavior analysis if it can overcome the limitation of Skinner's approach to verbal behavior, and return to its rightful role as a driving force in the development of principles that help in modification of human behavior, including with those who are highly verbally competent, and doing so with high precision, scope, and depth.


Why I Am Not a Radical Behaviorist

MARK R. DIXON (University of Illinois Chicago)

After 25 years in the field of behavior analysis, it is now time to redefine what I believe is a successful and acceptable form of behaviorism. Movement beyond the ideas of “radical” behaviorism towards a contextual world view of “contextual“ behaviorism will be necessary in order to expand the impact of this approach to human behavior in any meaningful way. All sciences progress, adapt, or die. Our field is currently at a crossroads of holding onto antiquated traditions that risk the very elimination of our field. New discoveries and robust outcomes are occurring in contextual behavior science, and it is time for the current and future generations of behaviorists to adopt a contextual behaviorism, and leave behind radical behaviorism just as we have done before with methodological behaviorism.

Panel #322
PDS: Conflict of Interest (COI) in Scientific Publication: What it is and How to Avoid It
Monday, May 29, 2023
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Hyatt Regency, Centennial Ballroom H
Area: PCH/EDC; Domain: Theory
CE Instructor: Stephanie M. Peterson, Ph.D.
Chair: Donald A. Hantula (Temple University)
DONALD A. HANTULA (Temple University)
STEPHANIE M. PETERSON (Western Michigan University)
MITCH FRYLING (California State University, Los Angeles)

The legitimacy of science is based on an unbiased, disinterested research and peer review system. Scientists are expected to pursue their research and publish their findings without regard to personal gain. Journal reviewers and editors are expected to perform their duties without bias due to personal gain and relationships. Conflicts of Interest (COI) arise in situations in which a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in their official capacity. COI is a critical ethical issue in scientific publications. This PDS introduces and defines COI, the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines regarding COI, provides some general guidelines for identifying and avoiding COI in scientific publication, and delves further into the complexities of COI for reviewers and COI for practitioners who seek to publish their work. Calling ABAI members, and especially student members, to a thoughtful conversation about COI in scientific publications, especially ABAI publications is a central theme of this PDS. Ample time for questions and answers is provided.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Students, and professionals

Learning Objectives: (1) identify conflicts of interest (2) state the procedures for reporting conflicts of interest in publication (3) describe ways to avoid conflicts of interest as an author, editor, or reviewer
Keyword(s): Conflict interest, Ethics, Journal publication
Symposium #354
Partnering to Empower Staff Dealing With Trauma Underlying Challenging Behavior: What Are the Outcomes?
Monday, May 29, 2023
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 2B
Area: CSS/EDC; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Jeannie A. Golden (East Carolina University)
Discussant: Gabrielle Morgan (Bay Path University)
CE Instructor: Jeannie A. Golden, Ph.D.

Behavior analysts frequently encounter staff such as teachers, administrators, and youth counselors who deal with youth exhibiting challenging behaviors that may be related to the trauma these youth are experiencing. Moreover, the youth who are experiencing this trauma are often youth of color who may be retraumatized by the traditional means of dealing with challenging behavior. Unfortunately, behavior analysts may lack the skills for dealing with these challenging behaviors and the related trauma and thus are unable to assist staff in their efforts. A partnership developed among the leadership of Together Helping Reduce Youth Violence for Equity (ThrYve), a program for youth at the University of Kansas, a private provider of services to youth in schools, and a university professor and doctoral student at East Carolina University. The goal of this partnership was to provide information, training, and support to staff working with youth in the ThrYve program as well as other community programs. One year later we have measures of staff attitudes and mindsets as well as behavioral observations of staff role-play and naturalistic interactions with youth.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Challenging Behavior, Staff Training, Trauma Informed, Youth Violence
Target Audience:

Participants can include BCBAs, teachers, school administrators, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, counselors, therapists, and social workers. Participants should be familiar with terms including verbal behavior, discriminative stimuli, establishing and abolishing operations, and positive and negative reinforcement, and have experience and examples dealing with those terms.

Learning Objectives: At the completion of this symposium, participants will be able to: 1. Describe the structure and goals of ThrYve, a community-based intervention to address youth violence; 2. Describe the structure and goals of START ANU Behavior, a training program for staff who work with traumatized youth exhibiting challenging behaviors; 3. Describe several trauma-based strategies that consist of changing staff verbal behavior when dealing with challenging behavior of traumatized youth; 4. Describe the outcomes of qualitative and quantitative measures of staff mindsets and attitudes; 5. Describe the outcomes of measuring staff exhibiting trauma-informed strategies using a behavioral observation system.
ThrYve: Using a Trauma-Informed Approach to Address Youth Violence
LAURATU BAH (University of Kansas), Jomella Watson-Thompson (University of Kansas), Malika N. Pritchett (University of Kansas), Valerie Thompson (University of Kansas)
Abstract: In the United States, youth violence is a significant public health concern. Black and Hispanic/Latinx youth experience disparities in violence nationally and in the Kansas City metropolitan area. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Centers of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention (YVPCs) are academic-community collaborations that advance youth violence prevention research and practice. The YVPC- Kansas City is designed to expand the evidence base for participatory strategies to prevent and reduce youth violence, particularly among Black and Latinx youth. Together Helping Reduce Youth Violence for Equity (ThrYve), is a multi-level, behavioral- community approach to youth violence prevention that supports both universal and targeted strategies for youth and families. At the individual-level, ThrYve provides educational supports including academic enrichment activities; curriculum programming for leadership and life skills development; and youth engagement and navigation. In supporting the ThrYve approach, it is important for staff and volunteers to practice cultural humility in service delivery by identifying and addressing the individual and community-level trauma and related risk factors experienced by those served. This presentation provides trauma-informed strategies that can be implemented across socioecological levels to provide safe and supportive communities through youth violence prevention efforts.
START ANU Behavior: Providing Staff with Trauma-Based Responses to Challenging Behavior of Traumatized Youth
PAULA Y FLANDERS (27703), Danielle Webb (East Carolina University), Jeannie A. Golden (East Carolina University)
Abstract: Sensitive to Trauma Assessment and Relationship Training to Alter Negativity Underlying Behavior (START ANU Behavior) is a training program especially designed to provide staff with the skills to support youth, many of whom are youth of color, who have experienced trauma and are exhibiting violent, aggressive, and other challenging behaviors. The START ANU Behavior program was provided online by three facilitators who conducted workshops over the course of four mornings. The first two mornings consisted of content and information sharing and the second two mornings involved modeling, role-play, feedback, and practice of specific strategies. These training days were followed by five online consultation sessions over several weeks. These consultation sessions were used to assist staff who were trying to implement new strategies with youth that they worked with. When strong emotional reactions and physiological responses are brought about by underlying trauma, techniques such as reflective listening, reframing, empathy, paradoxical intention, reinforcement, validating, and debriefing can serve as abolishing operations for these challenging behaviors. However, when staff are constantly the target of many of these behaviors, it is very difficult to respond using these strategies. The presenter will describe and demonstrate skills for responding to challenging behaviors in trauma-sensitive ways.
STARTANU Behavior: Qualitative & Quantitative Measures of Staff Mindsets & Attitudes
DANIELLE WEBB (East Carolina University), Jeannie A. Golden (East Carolina University)
Abstract: Adolescents who have experienced trauma often show signs of difficulties academically, socially, mentally, and behaviorally. The presenter will describe an evaluation of the START ANU (Sensitive to Trauma Assessment and Relationship Training to Alter Negativity Underlying Behavior) training and its influence on the utilization of trauma-informed strategies among staff members of the University of Kansas ThrYve program. Educators are not always equipped with adequate training to support adolescents who benefit from trauma-informed strategies. Consequently, many educators utilize counterproductive strategies that result in poor outcomes for students and create an unpleasant work environment for themselves. During the START ANU training, staff of the University of Kansas’ ThrYve program were provided with two days of didactic information and two days of modeling, role-play, and practice of the techniques. Follow-up was provided where staff received further practice and support of these techniques two hours a week for six weeks. A mixed method design was used for this research. The quantitative approach provided researchers with data about ThrYve staff member’s mindsets and attitudes. These data informed researchers about the START ANU training program’s effectiveness. The qualitative approach focused on the frequency in which trauma-informed strategies occurred within incident and observation reports. These data informed researchers about important components to be included in future START ANU Behavior trainings.
STARTANU Behavior: Measuring Staff Exhibiting Trauma-Informed Strategies Using a Behavioral Observation System
LAUREN CUTLER (East Carolina University), Daniel Stickel (East Carolina University), George Cherry Jr (East Carolina University), Taylor Smith (East Carolina University)
Abstract: Staff participants in the STARTANU Behavior Training were videotaped in interactions with youth in the natural settings where these interactions occurred (such as classrooms and after school programs) as well as in role-plays with other staff (one would interact as the staff person, the other would interact as the youth) prior to and following the training. A behavioral observation system was developed to measure staff use of trauma-informed strategies. Undergraduate students were trained to identify trauma-informed strategies on a checklist using a series of role-playing sessions to practice observing and test reliability. Inter-observer reliability was calculated on a series of observations by two students. Comparisons of the use of trauma-informed strategies before and after training were made to determine any behavior changes in staff. Presenters will report on inter-observer reliability as well as changes in staff behavior.



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