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 Invited Tutorials: Monday, May 29, 2023


Invited Tutorial #301
CE Offered: BACB — 
Culture, Compliance, and Consent
Monday, May 29, 2023
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Convention Center Four Seasons Ballroom 1
Area: PRA; Domain: Service Delivery
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Amoy K Hugh-Pennie, Ph.D.
Chair: Susan Wilczynski (Ball State University)
Presenting Author: AMOY K HUGH-PENNIE ( Infinity Behavior LLC, KNHK, BABA Inc.)

As the field of applied behavior analysis has grown exponentially in the last decade there have been greater accusations of past and present abuse and trauma caused by the interventions, strategies, and practitioners of ABA. How best can we address these concerns with a sense of curiosity rather than a defensive posture? Are these just the acts of some inexperienced newbies or evil eugenic founders of science? In this presentation, you will learn some of the histories of abuse and maltreatment of underrepresented groups (specifically BIPOC and disabled individuals). You will gain an understanding of how these learning histories of groups with a shared cultural identity or multiple shared identities lead to mistrust, non-compliance, and lack of consent to evidence-based strategies. Additionally, you will learn how cultural humility, awareness, and culturally relevant practices can improve the acceptance, consent, assent, and ultimately social significance of instructional objectives and outcomes for clients.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

BCBA, BCaBA, Teachers, Psychologists, School Administrators or Consultants

Learning Objectives: • Participants will gain a historical context for abuse and maltreatment in the medical, behavioral, and psychological sciences • Participants will learn to recognize signs of consent and assent in verbal and non-verbal clients • Participants will learn how culture affects, compliance, and consent to engage in different strategies and interventions • Participants will learn how to engage in culturally humble practices that can improve interpersonal and collaborative relationships leading to increased social significance and client success • Participants will learn to identify culturally significant instruction to improve programming
AMOY K HUGH-PENNIE ( Infinity Behavior LLC, KNHK, BABA Inc.)
Dr. Hugh-Pennie determined her purpose in life was to change the world through the science of behavior and education. In dedicating herself to this purpose, she has spent the last 25+ years disseminating ABA and incorporating evidence-based ABA practices in special education from early intervention to university settings across a diverse range of learners in the United States, Canada, and Hong Kong (SAR), China. Her experience in clinical training, organizational systems management, evidence-based data decision analysis, and program evaluation has led to verifiable positive results for clients and improved parent satisfaction in non-profit, private clinical practice, and school programs for whom she has been in key leadership positions. Amoy is currently an Instructor for the QABA/ QBS program for Knowledge Express Hong Kong (KNHK). She is a past President of the Hong Kong Association for Behavior Analysis, a former ABAI Program Board Member, and the current Clinical Director of Infinity Behavior LLC in Central Florida. She earned her Ph.D. in 2007 from Columbia University where she completed her research under the tutelage of Dr. R. Douglas Greer on the “Effects of Auditory Consequences on Non-Contextual Verbal Behavior: Palilalia." She holds an M.Ed. in Instructional Practice and Curricular Design and BS in Psychology from Florida Atlantic University. She has held the rank of Assistant Professor in the Departments of Education and Educational Psychology: Inclusive Special Education at Mercy College, Brock University, and the University of Western Ontario. She is a certified Special Education Teacher (K-12) in the US, Canada, and Hong Kong. She founded the Verbal Behavior Student Research Competition of the VB-SIG (est. 2002) dedicated to increasing student research in verbal behavior. She has served as an invited reviewer and/or held positions on the editorial review boards of several peer-reviewed journals including The Journal for Early Intensive Behavior Intervention, Speech-Language Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis, The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, and Global Education Review. Dr. Hugh-Pennie is currently on the Advisory Board of the Black Applied Behavior Analysts, Inc. working towards increasing Black students,mentors and professionals in the field of ABA. Her recent publications include topics of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and ABA , Women's Experiences in Academia, Reading Instruction, and Consulting with Schools.
Invited Tutorial #397
CE Offered: BACB — 
Advocating for Compassionate Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Practice in Conversations With Caregivers and Colleagues
Monday, May 29, 2023
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Convention Center Four Seasons Ballroom 1
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Adithyan Rajaraman, Ph.D.
Chair: Meral Koldas (Queen's University of Belfast)
Presenting Author: ADITHYAN RAJARAMAN (Vanderbilt University Medical Center)

In recent years, behavior analysts have increasingly embraced the relevance and importance of the construct of compassion, including but not limited to how it pertains to: (a) building relationships with clients, families, and colleagues (Taylor et al., 2019); (b) engaging in culturally responsive care (Jimenez-Gomez & Beaulieu, 2022); (c) establishing neurodiversity affirming practices (Schuck et al., 2021); and (d) ensuring that the delivery of ABA services are aligned with commitments of trauma-informed care (Rajaraman et al., 2022). These themes have each fostered burgeoning independent lines of scholarly discussion, but their amalgamation as an overall compassionate approach to ABA has not yet been described. This presentation represents my attempt to bring these definitions together to meaningfully infuse compassion into several elements of ABA practice. Through various professional experiences, I have learned to employ a particularly collaborative process—practical functional assessment and skill-based treatment, often embedded within an enhanced choice model—when given the opportunity to address an individual’s dangerous and challenging behavior. Evidence demonstrating the effectiveness, safety, and social validity of the approach is well documented; however, behavior analysts may struggle to gain “buy-in” with caregivers and colleagues due to the counterintuitive nature of certain procedures. In this presentation, while briefly summarizing procedures and expected outcomes based on existing research, I will delineate key areas of collaboration and defend the inclusion of certain procedures (and omission of others) by invoking compassion as a guiding compass. I will also argue that compassion can be found in the methods we use to evaluate our services by describing how the logic of certain single-case experimental designs can foster, rather than inhibit, compassionate ABA. Regardless of your opinions of or prior experiences with this approach, I hope to offer you an evidence-based argument—grounded in compassion—in its favor, while proposing a vocabulary for describing and defending compassionate and trauma-informed processes for addressing dangerous and challenging behaviors exhibited by the individuals you serve.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

ABA Practitioners

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this presentation, attendees should be able to: (1) Define compassion from a behavioral perspective; (2) Delineate procedures and expected outcomes associated with the practical functional assessment and skill-based treatment model for addressing dangerous and challenging behavior; (3) Describe how components of this assessment and treatment approach could be conceptualized as compassionate; (4) Defend the inclusion of compassionate procedures in practice
ADITHYAN RAJARAMAN (Vanderbilt University Medical Center)
dithyan (Dithu) Rajaraman has been blessed to teach, interact with, and learn from children and adolescents with and without disabilities for 14 years. Dithu completed his Doctoral training in Behavior Analysis at Western New England University, under the advisement of Dr. Greg Hanley. In 2019, he joined the faculty at UMBC, where he taught and mentored undergraduate and graduate students of Psychology with an emphasis in behavior analysis. In the fall of 2022, Dithu joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University Medical Center as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, where he serves as Director of Behavior Analysis Research within Vanderbilt Kennedy Center's (VKC) Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD). Dithu has published research in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Behavior Analysis in Practice, the International Journal of Developmental Disabilities, and Autism. Dithu’s research and practice interests include the assessment, treatment, and prevention of dangerous behavior, with an emphasis on investigating compassionate, trauma-informed approaches to behavioral assessment and intervention. This research aim is intimately connected to the goal of being able to provide safe, dignifying, yet highly effective behavior-analytic services to underrepresented individuals in underserved communities.



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Modifed by Eddie Soh