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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Program by : Sunday, May 24, 2020


Symposium #205
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Discrimination in Behavior Analysis and Beyond: False Dichotomies, Disparagement Humor, Implicit Bias, and #MeToo Cusp
Sunday, May 24, 2020
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Level M4, Liberty N-P
Area: CSS/PCH; Domain: Theory
Chair: Diana J. Walker (Visions, LLC; The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Discussant: Christine E. Hughes (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
CE Instructor: Diana J. Walker, Ph.D.

This symposium will address diversity, inclusion, and social justice issues within the field of behavior analysis and in society at large. Some of the topics addressed are controversial and may be uncomfortable for some behavior analysts to hear and discuss. Topics include the differential treatment of applied practitioners vs. basic researchers/academicians and the negative effects on individuals, the field, and society. A second topic is the apparent acceptability of disparaging group members online, even by social media groups who pride themselves on being inclusive and respectful. A third presentation will discuss the role of implicit bias in issues of social justice, specifically, attitudes toward racial issues and gun violence and whether a focus on implicit bias is the answer. The final presenter will describe how the #MeToo movement has changed contingencies for accusers and the accused, in both adaptive and maladaptive ways; it will argue that this movement is a cultural cusp that behavior scientists should be ready to help steer in the right direction. Dr. Christine Hughes, a basic and translational researcher and radical behaviorist, will serve as our discussant.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): discrimination, diversity, inclusion, social issues
Target Audience:

Anyone in behavior analysis in included in the target audience for this symposium. Behavior analysts in graduate school, professional practice, academia, experimental and applied research, and all other aspects of behavior analysis, from beginning levels to seasoned professors and professionals, would benefit from this symposium.

Learning Objectives: 1. Attendees will be able to describe various ways in which behavior analysts exclude those they consider to be "others" and how that exclusion is harmful. 2. Attendees will be able to describe ways to remedy exclusive practices to benefit individuals, behavior analysis, and society. 3. Attendees will be able to state the definition of implicit bias and how it might influence attitudes and behavior regarding social injustice. 4. Attendees will be able to state the definition of cultural cusp and describe how behavior analysts might contribute to positive influences of the #MeToo movement.
Diversity submission False Dichotomies in Behavior Analysis: How They Hurt Us and What to Do About It
DIANA J. WALKER (Visions, LLC; The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: Categorizing phenomena helps us to respond to our world in effective ways. It also can create false dichotomies that limit our experience and hurt people and society. The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) has recently intensified efforts to promote inclusion and discourage social inequality in behavior analysis and in society in general. Within the organization, though, there are false dichotomies that result in segregation of people and differential treatment, some of which is harmful to individual members and to the field of behavior analysis and society as a whole. Potentially harmful dichotomies include basic vs. applied, academician vs. practitioner, behavior analysis vs. other psychological/social sciences, etc. This presentation will focus on the harmful effects of segregating basic from applied behavior analysts and other false dichotomies, from the perspective of a basic researcher turned applied practitioner. The presentation will also provide suggestions for how better to integrate members of various communities within and outside behavior analysis and the benefits of doing so for the field, for individual behavior analysts, and for society in general.
Diversity submission 

Just Keep Scrolling: The Persistence of Prejudice and Discrimination in Politically CorrectSocial Media Groups

JENNIFER KLAPATCH TOTSCH (National Louis University)

For better or worse, social media has fostered interpersonal connections in previously unimaginable ways. In recent years, there has been an increasing number of social media groups comprised of behavior analysts committed to fostering a community of humility, inclusion, and respect. Many of these groups have stipulated rules of conduct (e.g., requiring civil discourse, prohibiting discriminatory content) and group administrators who leverage consequences for violating those rules (e.g., reprimands, removing violators from the group). However, even within these social justice-oriented groups, it seems that not all populations are valued equally, as evidenced by the persistent use of posts containing disparaging humor about specific groups of people. Even with explicit consequences outlined for posting discriminatory content, for posts containing disparaging humor, there is often either an explicit or implicit rule to “keep scrolling.” (In other words, ignore the content instead of posting a negative reaction.) So, what jokes will get you banned versus ignored? It depends on who you’re targeting… This presentation will analyze the variables that contribute to the persistence of discriminatory, disparaging humor in otherwise “politically correct” social media groups and the detrimental effects it has on the individual members of the group and the group as a whole.

Diversity submission Explicit and Implicit Attitudes and Their Relation to Social Issues
MARIE-MICHELE TRUCHON (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: Recently, explicit and implicit attitudes on various social issues (e.g., racism, gun violence) have increasingly been subjects of conversation within and outside of behavior analysis. For example, reporters from various newspaper and broadcasting companies such as The Washington Post and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) news have penned editorials on the topic. Additionally, scholars in our field and related disciplines have researched and published many articles concerning the subject. Nonetheless, there seem to be many questions regarding explicit and implicit attitudes and social issues that remain without definite responses and clear explanations. This presentation will operationally define key words and review measures commonly employed to assess explicit and implicit attitudes, including self-report questionnaires, the Implicit Association Test (IAT), and the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP). Then, these concepts will be discussed in the context of social issues, and the relationship between explicit attitudes, implicit attitudes/bias, and overt discriminatory behavior will be considered.
Diversity submission 

The Endurance and Power of Women: Making it Matter through #MeToo

GABRIELA ARIAS (University of North Texas), Michaela Smith (University of North Texas), Traci Cihon (University of North Texas), Kyosuke Kazaoka (University of North Texas), Aecio De Borba Vasconcelos Neto (Universidade Federal do Para; University of North Texas)

The #MeToo Movement (initially coined by Tarana Burke in 2006) achieved notoriety in 2017 following Alyssa Milano’s call to women who have been victims of sexual harassment or assault to tweet back or change their social media status to #MeToo. Since Milano’s blog, numerous women have come forward, sharing their experiences with assault and harassment; some have even named their attackers. In many cases, these reports have garnered societal support, and actions were taken against those accused and convicted. Many of the accused and/or convicted have suffered tremendous losses concerning their careers and/or reputation. The #MeToo Movement has, in some cases, altered the contingencies in effect and the available response options for the victims and offenders. From a behavioral standpoint, this may suggest a Cultural Cusp, with changes in the contingencies that may lead to significant social changes. This presentation discusses the role behavior scientists could have in increasing the longevity and significance of the movement’s impact through applications of culturo-behavior science. These options include educational programs and measures of societal, cultural, and organizational change that help to further, sustain, and assure such change.

Panel #236
Diversity submission Barriers to Career Growth for Women in Behavior Analysis
Sunday, May 24, 2020
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Level M1, University of D.C. / Catholic University
Area: PCH/CSS; Domain: Theory
Chair: Anika Costa (Brett Dinovi and Associates)
SOPHIA KATZ (BlueSprig Pediatrics)
JENNY LEANN PAGAN (BlueSprig Pediatrics)
AMANDA RALSTON (BlueSprig Pediatrics)

In her 2003 publication, the late Maria R. Ruiz wrote, “Historically cultural practices associated with the feminine and the masculine have developed within different and separate contextual spheres. Traditionally, the masculine has been associated with the public sphere of work while the feminine has been associated with the private sphere of the home and family.” While behavior analysts have long been known for working toward social change, women in behavior analysis are not immune to the overt gender discrimination that exists in the other Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math fields. Gender biases in behavior analysis are evidenced by the same inequitable discrepancies in pay, lack of female mentors, and barriers to career growth for women in all sciences. Three female panelists will unpack these issues in a conversation about their experiences in the field of behavior analysis and research from other disciplines which supports the urgent need for radical change.

Instruction Level: Basic
Paper Session #261
Diversity submission Behavior and Medical Issues in Behavior Analysis
Sunday, May 24, 2020
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Level M1, Georgetown
Area: PCH
Instruction Level: Basic
Chair: Sarah Campau (The May Institute)
Diversity submission Behavior Analysis and Conversion Therapy: A Historical Review
Domain: Theory
SARAH CAMPAU (The May Institute)
Abstract: Conversion therapy is the practice of attempting to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender presentation. While it is now widely considered a practice routed in religion and pseudoscience, this practice first received legitimacy in the US through the psychological and scientific communities. Conversion therapy has recently been in the media, with a number of states introducing legislation to criminalize the practice for individuals under 18. Behavior Analysis had a historical role in the development, implementation, and publication of information on conversion therapy and have been used to attempt to change the sexual orientation and/or gender identity of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning) individuals. Understanding our history helps us to better speak about our efforts as a scientific practice for cultural competency and service to the LGBTQ community. This presentation will discuss the history and role behavior analysis historically played in conversion therapy, long term results and effects, and how that legacy effects our image and practice in a modern era.
Diversity submission Sharing the Care: Bridging Pediatrics and Behavior Analysis
Domain: Service Delivery
STEVEN MERAHN (Union In Action, Inc.)
Abstract: The growth of the ABA-based Autism Care System has forced a the pediatric and behavior analytic communities into collaborative relationships where they 'share the care" of children with ASD and their families, but do not have clear relationship practices, common principles of conduct or mutual accountability. At the same time, the behavior analytic community is increasingly subject to working under principles and practices of the healthcare system, such as medical necessity. This paper will explore research on the "ABA-literacy" of general pediatricians and will explore the risks of this knowledge/practice gap, and the opportunities inherent in the transformative integration of behavior analysis more broadly into healthcare (and the value of such integration to the behavior analytic community). The presentation will use real-world examples to further explore the cultural, disciplinary, regulatory and sustainability issues in such integration, and make specific programmatic recommendations to build mutually valuable bridges between the two professional disciplines. Further, the presenter will make the care for behavior analysis to be considered as a ‘new’ basic science for medicine, similar to genetics, microbiology and biochemistry, to serve as a foundation for the development of a rational approach to behavioral examination, diagnostics and therapeutics across a wide range of mental health and health-related behaviors.
Symposium #326
CE Offered: BACB — 
Diversity submission Treatment of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Sunday, May 24, 2020
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 2, Room 202A
Area: AUT; Domain: Translational
Chair: Catherine Lugar (Claremont Graduate University)
Discussant: Ruth M. DeBar (Caldwell University)
CE Instructor: Jenna Gilder, M.A.

Little research has been done with culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Indeed researchers and practioner's have only recently began to identify participants and cases with their ethnicity and few have taken diversity into account when designing and delivering treatment. Yet recent research has found that inclusion of variables or a child’s culture or heritage language may be advantageous in their treatment (e.g. Lim & Charlop, 2018). The present symposium focuses on four studies that include CLD children with ASD and also choose CLD variables when designing and implementing treatment. In Study 1, CLD children with ASD are taught a labeling task through an echoic procedure that uses both English and Heritage language. In Study 2, CLD children with ASD participate in a parent implemented comparison study of an imitation protocol in both English and Heritage languages. In Study 3, CLD children with ASD are taught to verbally initiate play bids to their CLD peers and to their siblings, and finally, in Study 4, CLD children with ASD are assessed to determine their preference for English or Heritage language. The symposium is wrapped up by the Discussant who relates the current findings of these studies to the treatment of CLD children with ASD and the direction the field is going.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): bilingual, communication, culture, diversity
Target Audience:

practitioners and researchers

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) be sensitive and aware of the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); (2) use evidence based research to inform treatment options for CLD children with ASD; (3) consider and apply socially significant targets of intervention for CLD individuals with ASD and their families.
Diversity submission 

Linguistically Diverse Echo Prompting With Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

(Applied Research)
ALANNA DANTONA (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College), Caitlyn Gumaer (Claremont Graduate University)

Few studies have examined how the use of heritage language impacts receptive language skills of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD; Charlop & Lim, 2016; Lang et al., 2011). Charlop’s (1983) echo procedure is one method by which receptive language skills have been taught to echolalic CLD children in both English and heritage language (Leung & Wu,1997). Toward this end, incorporating both echolalia and heritage language in treatment may provide a natural and contextually relevant strategy to address receptive language skills of echolalic CLD children with ASD. Therefore, using Charlop’s (1983) echo prompting procedure, the present study used a multi-elemental design to assess the differential effects of language (English versus heritage language) on receptive labeling performance of four echolalic CLD children with ASD. Following baseline measurement of receptive labeling skills involving known and unknown items, Charlop’s (1983) echo prompting procedure was implemented in both English and heritage language. Preliminary results suggest that receptive labeling performance increased during treatment in both language conditions. Findings may yield implications for future language interventions for echolalic CLD children with ASD.

Diversity submission 

Assessing Language in Linguistically Diverse Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

(Applied Research)
CAITLYN GUMAER (Claremont Graduate University), Alanna Dantona (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College), Nataly Lim (University of Texas at Austin)

Little research has been done with culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in their heritage language. Practioners and parents fear that exposing a child with ASD to more than one language will cause further delays in language development and other core deficit areas (Kremer-Sadlik, 2005). Yet recent research has found that exposure to and the use of heritage languages can be advantageous (Lim & Charlop, 2018). However, research has yet to explore how exposure to both one’s heritage language and English can impact a child with ASD’s language abilities and verbal behavior. The present study used a multiple baseline design across four parent-child dyads to assess language acquisition using the Natural Language Paradigm (NLP; Laski, Charlop & Schreibman, 1987; Spector & Charlop, 2018). Following free-play baseline sessions, four caregivers were taught to implement NLP in both their heritage language (i.e., Spanish, Korean) and English. To control for treatment effects, NLP was counter-balanced across the four dyads. Upon the implementation of NLP, regardless of language condition, each child’s appropriate verbalizations increased during NLP treatment sessions and in free-play probe sessions. Findings from the current study may yield implications for language interventions for CLD children with ASD.

Diversity submission 

Diversity of Participants With Autism Spectrum Disorder in a Verbal Social Initiation Teaching Program

(Applied Research)
JENNA GILDER (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College)

Ethnicity of participants’ is an important variable when designing interventions in evidence based research (Fannin, 2017). Specifically, when including culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in research it is important to consider community values, practices, and culture. For example, a strong familial unit, especially in terms of sibling relationships, is an important value held by both Hispanic (Updegraff, McHale, Whiteman, Thayer & Delgado, 2005) and Asian cultures (Ho, 1994). In the current study, social verbal initiations were taught to six CLD children and adolescents with ASD (67% Korean-American and 33% Mexican-American). In baseline, all six children did not consistently verbally initiate to their siblings and peers of mixed ethnicities. During intervention, using a verbal social initiation program, all of the children learned quickly to initiate. Five of the six children also generalized the skill to a new setting and across play partners. Maintenance of this skill was also seen at 6-months. Future research can expand on this study by also teaching the initiation in the child’s heritage language.

Diversity submission 

The Effects of Language Preference Among Bilingual Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorderor Other Developmental Disorders

(Applied Research)
KARLA ZABALA (University of Georgia), Kara L. Wunderlich (Rollins College), Lauren Best (University of Georgia), Joel Eric Ringdahl (University of Georgia)

Previous research has demonstrated that individuals with ASD who have been exposed to more than one language do not experience any additional language delays compared to their monolingual peers (Hambly and Fombonne, 2011). In addition, research has not noted any indication of negative outcomes associated with language abilities among bilingual/multilingual children with ASD (Drysdale et al., 2015). The majority of the research surrounding bilingual or multilingual individuals diagnosed with autism or other developmental disabilities has focused on conducting communication assessments to assess participants’ psychometric performance. Research related to language preferences exhibited by these individuals is scarce. The purpose of the current study was to assess language preference among individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or other developmental disorders who have been exposed to more than one language. The research study consisted of two parts: Study 1 evaluated language preference during play contexts and Study 2 evaluated language preference and compliance with instructions within instructional contexts.

Panel #378
CE Offered: BACB — 
Diversity submission May We Offer Another Perspective? Ethics and Cultural Considerations
Sunday, May 24, 2020
6:00 PM–6:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Level M4, Liberty M
Area: CSS; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Amanda N. Kelly, Ph.D.
Chair: Amanda N. Kelly (BEHAVIORBABE (Hawai'i); Distinguished Organization of Behavior Enterprises, Hawai'i Association of Behavior Analysis)
NICOLE M. DAVIS (Northeastern University)
ANTONIO M. HARRISON (Renaissance Behavior, LLC)
AMOY HUGH-PENNIE (Understanding Behavior, Inc.; TCI-VCS Program)

“The scientist may appeal to his own culture or history only when it resembles that of the subject he is studying. Even then he may be wrong, just as the layman's quick practical reaction may be wrong…” (B.F. Skinner, p. 302). Our attitudes, beliefs, values, and experiences shape how we perceive and respond to the world around us. As behavior analysts, often in consultative capacities, we find ourselves interacting with numerous individuals who have histories and behavioral repertoires that differ from our own. This panel aims to discuss ethics for analysts and to offer perspectives from behavior analysts whose backgrounds; both personal and professional have likely differed from yours, and perhaps from the majority of other analysts. Through our stories, we hope to create a conversation where we can begin to become comfortable with the discomfort, particularly when cultural differences arise. We invite you to join us and to hear varying perspectives about the roles behavior analysts play and the role behavior analysis plays in each of our lives.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Our target audience are newly credentialed and seasoned behavior analysts and any other mental health professionals.

Learning Objectives: 1. List two ethical code elements which were referenced by the panelists. 2. Name an ethical code that is commonly used when discussing difference in culture. 3. List two strategies for becoming more culturally competent/sensitive.
Keyword(s): culture, dissemination, diversity, ethics



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Modifed by Eddie Soh