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

Program by : Friday, May 26, 2023


Workshop #W28
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission How to Be an Advocate: Understanding and Managing Cognitive Decline in Adulthood
Friday, May 26, 2023
8:00 AM–11:00 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 2B
Area: CBM/CSS; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Jacqueline Pachis, M.A.
JACQUELINE PACHIS (Eastern Michigan University ), KAYLA RINNA (Eastern Michigan University), SAMANTHA JO ZOHR (Eastern Michigan University), CLAUDIA DROSSEL (Eastern Michigan University)
Description: The loss of acquired repertoires or skill sets in adulthood, including difficulties thinking, remembering, reasoning, or problem-solving that present a change from baseline, are the topic of this workshop. In our culture, these difficulties intersect with assumptions about aging and unquestioned pseudoscience. As a result, taking appropriate action and mitigating the difficulties are less likely, and many people with cognitive loss live in social and physical conditions that hasten decline. This workshop will address cognitive decline as a social justice issue and teach attendees to become effective advocates by (1) drawing attention to the intersection of ageism and ableism; (2) understanding cognitive decline in adulthood from an evidence-based perspective and detecting pseudoscience; and (3) giving guidelines for action and advocacy, including preventing and managing behavioral or emotional changes. Content also applies to cognitive decline with pre-existing disorders (e.g., neurodevelopmental, such as autism spectrum disorder or trisomy 21, or persistent behavioral disorders, such as schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders). Attendees will engage in didactics, discussions, and targeted exercises. Videos will illustrate theoretical concepts.
Learning Objectives: The workshop will introduce attendees to ethical standards and practice guidelines related to cognitive decline. At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will (1) apply a behavior analytic framework to ageism and ableism; (2) identify common etiologies of cognitive decline; (3) list the best-practice steps for assessing cognitive decline and preventing or managing associated behavioral changes.
Activities: Workshop objectives will be met through lecture, videos, exercises, and group discussion. Access to a digital workbook will be provided to support participant learning.
Audience: The workshop is open to people of all instruction levels including basic, intermediate, and advanced.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): ableism, ageism, dementia, repertoire decline
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 #W53
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Taking the Science of Behavior to High School: Culturally Responsive/Sustaining Transition Practices
Friday, May 26, 2023
12:00 PM–3:00 PM
Hyatt Regency, Centennial Ballroom A
Area: EDC; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Tracy Eileen Sinclair, Ph.D.
TRACY EILEEN SINCLAIR (The University of Connecticut)
Description: For behavior analysts working in school settings there is an additional layer of knowledge critical to support students with disabilities effectively—special education policy and law. Too often graduate preparation programs are focused on clinical applications of behavior analysis, particularly with young children with autism. Services in schools extend into the middle school, high school, and young adult age ranges—up until the 22nd birthday in most states. As more behavior analysts are working in school settings, and may not have had adequate graduate training in special education law, it is our ethical obligation to seek opportunities to learn and apply new knowledge to support our students. Building capacity as school-based BCBAs can directly support and inform practices to promote more positive postsecondary outcomes for students. Transition planning in special education is mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004) focusing on three primary areas of: (a) postsecondary education/training, (b) postsecondary employment, and (c) independent living. Skills of self-determination can be directly taught and promoted through the science of behavior (i.e., self-management, self-regulation, goal setting, etc.). Furthermore, this must all be done through a lens of culturally responsive/sustaining practices.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will be able to: (1) identify and understand relevant special education law related to transition services and planning; (2) learn culturally responsive/sustaining transition practices and how to apply in their work as a BCBA in schools; (3) be able to articulate the connection between the science of behavior and transition planning, particularly related to skills of self-determination.
Activities: Workshop activities will be interactive--a mix of information sharing via lecture, self-reflection, small group discussions, whole group share-outs, and application activities based on case studies.
Audience: This is appropriate for anyone who works as a school-based consultant or is interested in consulting in schools; particularly in secondary settings.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Culturally Responsive/Sustaining, School-based Consultation, Secondary-age Students, Transition Planning
Workshop #W56
CE Offered: BACB — 
Diversity submission Unintended Triggers
Friday, May 26, 2023
12:00 PM–3:00 PM
Hyatt Regency, Centennial Ballroom D
Area: TBA/CSS; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Natalie A. Parks, Ph.D.
NATALIE A. PARKS (Saint Louis University), BEVERLY KIRBY (Team ABA LLC)
Description: The Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts specifies that behavior analysts must treat others with dignity, compassion, and respect and to be fluent in speaking about and addressing issues concerning diversity, discrimination and bias (1.07, 1.10, 4.07). Unfortunately most behavior analysts have not had any training in the meaning and historical context of these concepts or in how to talk about these subjects with others, especially supervisees. Lack of fluency in these areas leads to avoidance of the subjects and conversations or attempts to discuss laced with comments that negatively trigger others. In order for behavior analysts to comply with the Ethics Code and provide high quality supervision and services, they must first learn to identify potential triggers and develop the skill of working through triggers rather than attempting to silence or avoid them. This workshop will discuss the conceptual framework of how triggers develop, provide strategies to recognize them before they are voiced, and the steps to follow to work through times when you unintentionally trigger someone.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1. Conceptually systematically describe how triggers develop and how they are related to bias. 2. Identify potential triggers or triggering statements and words prior to voicing them. 3. How to work through difficult conversations that result from the unintentional triggering of someone.
Activities: Instructional strategies include: lecture, discussion, small group breakout, individual activities, and role plays.
Audience: Those attending this workshop should be fluent in the principles and concepts of behavior analysis including equivalence and non-equivalence relations and verbal behavior.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): cultural humility, diversity, humble behaviorism, interlocking contingencies



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh