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.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Program by Invited Tutorials: Sunday, May 30, 2021


Invited Tutorial #214
CE Offered: BACB
Managing Distress During Medical/Dental Appointments is Like... Well, It’s Like Pulling Teeth!
Sunday, May 30, 2021
10:00 AM–10:50 AM EDT
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Susan Wilczynski, Ph.D.
Chair: Susan Wilczynski (Ball State University)
Presenting Author: KEITH ALLEN (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)

Noncompliance with basic health care can have profound effects on long term health and well-being for everyone, but especially for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Perhaps the factor most responsible for noncompliance is the fear associated with medical and dental procedures. This presentation will review both the respondent and operant conditioning features responsible for the disruptive behaviors that result and then briefly review the empirical literature to identify the most well supported approaches for preventing and managing distress and noncompliance during medical and dental appointments in the IDD population. Promising alternative and supplemental treatments will be discussed, and then step-by-step practice recommendations will be provided for preventing, managing and resolving noncompliance.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Applied behavior analysts, behavior therapists, behavioral technicians and caregivers who are responsible for direct care or overseeing programs designed to help those with IDD access health care.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) identify both respondent and operant learning components in medical/dental noncompliance; (2) describe the core components of empirically supported treatments for medical/dental noncompliance; (3) describe the step-by-step components of a good preventive and intervention program for addressing medical/dental noncompliance and distress in individuals with developmental disabilities.
KEITH ALLEN (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)

Keith D Allen, Ph.D., BCBA-D, is the Director of Psychology and Professor in Pediatrics and Psychology at the Munroe-Meyer Institute and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  He completed his training in ABA at Western Michigan University and in clinical psychology at West Virginia University.  His clinical and research interests include parent training, pain and stress-related disorders in children, and management of noncompliance with medical/dental routines. He has published over 100 scientific papers and chapters on interventions to address behavioral health problems in children and adolescents and he has published a book on the science and practice of parent training.  He is a Fellow of ABAI, has been awarded research grants from NIH and the US Department of Education and has been recognized as both a Distinguished Researcher and as an Outstanding Teacher of the Year at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. 

Invited Tutorial #248
CE Offered: BACB
Using Modern Technology to Incorporate the Principles of Behavior Analysis Into Remote Training and Supervision
Sunday, May 30, 2021
12:00 PM–12:50 PM EDT
Area: PRA; Domain: Service Delivery
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Michael F. Dorsey, Ph.D.
Chair: Michael F. Dorsey (Amego Inc.)
Presenting Author: BRYAN BLAIR (Long Island University-Brooklyn), JESSLYN FARROS (Center for Applied Behavior Analysis; Pepperdine University; Building Connections Behavioral Health), CHERYL DAVIS (Russell Sage College; SupervisorABA)

Instructors, trainers, tutors, and supervisors have been designing and delivering remote learning experiences for a range of learners for many years. However, some of the common methodologies and modalities, and available resources may appear to be high-quality but many of these technologies often do not incorporate best practices of instruction based on the principles of behavior analysis. In addition, some of these technologies and systems that use best practices of behavioral education and training as demonstrated by recently published publications are not often widely known or implemented across a range of instructional and training settings. This tutorial will present attendees with common practical problems and hurdles related to remote training, and will also provide attendees with easily implemented solutions based on the principles of behavior analysis and that use free or low-cost and widely available technologies and applications. The tutorial will also include detailed demonstrations of some of these solutions directly related to practical skills of interest to a range of behavior analytic practitioners and supervisors across a variety of settings.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Faculty, supervisors, and trainers

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) identify basic behavior analytic principles associated with several new remote learning modalities and technologies; (2) identify challenges and barriers to remote instruction, learning, and supervision; (3) identify and develop at least one real-world behavioral solution to a challenge/barrier to remote instruction, learning, and supervision.
BRYAN BLAIR (Long Island University-Brooklyn), JESSLYN FARROS (Center for Applied Behavior Analysis; Pepperdine University; Building Connections Behavioral Health), CHERYL DAVIS (Russell Sage College; SupervisorABA)

Dr. Bryan J. Blair is currently an Assistant Professor at Long Island University - Brooklyn where he is also the coordinator of the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) graduate certificate and supervised fieldwork programs. He is a licensed behavior analyst and doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D) and has worked with children and adults with developmental disabilities and clinical disorders for over 15 years in a variety of settings. He received an M.S. in ABA from Northeastern University in 2007 and a Ph.D. in ABA from Endicott College in 2017. Dr. Blair also provides digital technology consultation related to the practice of ABA. He has presented on topics in ABA and autism spectrum disorder at state, regional, and national conferences and has published research in peer-reviewed journals. His research and professional areas of interest include complex human behavior, improving learning outcomes, verbal behavior, staff training, parent consultation, instructional design, digital learning, and BCBA/Clinical supervision.

Jesslyn N. Farros, Ph.D., BCBA-D, has had the privilege of working in the field of behavior analysis for more than 10 years. She earned her Doctorate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) from Endicott College. She currently supervises programs for adults with severe challenging behaviors at the Center for Applied Behavior Analysis, consults in the area of performance management at Building Connections Behavioral Health, and is adjunct faculty in the ABA Master’s program at Pepperdine University. Her favorite course to teach is verbal behavior, which she developed for the Endicott College Master’s program. Dr. Farros is an active participant at several conferences including ABAI and CalABA, and she has recently published papers in the areas of verbal behavior and online learning. Her research interests focus on evidence-based learning and verbal behavior.
Cheryl Davis is a licensed and certified behavior analyst as well as a special education teacher who received her doctoral degree from Endicott College in Applied Behavior Analysis. Cheryl is an Assistant Professor at The Sage Colleges, as well as owner of 7 Dimensions Consulting, LLC, and co-owner of SupervisorABA. She received a Master’s of Science Degree in Intensive Special Education from Simmons College in Boston, MA, after attending The University of Connecticut where she received a bachelor’s degree in Human Development. Cheryl then pursued her BCBA, while working in a world-renowned ABA school. With almost 30 years of experience working with children and families with autism, developmental disabilities, and related disorders, Cheryl specializes in effective supervision for upcoming BCBA/BCaBA candidates. She has a passion for supervision, in both providing it to people who are in locations with limited access to behavior analysis and working with other supervisors to develop best practices.
Invited Tutorial #283
Building Independence and Complex Social Play in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders Using Photographic Activity Schedules and Social Scripts
Sunday, May 30, 2021
3:00 PM–4:50 PM EDT
Area: PRA; Domain: Service Delivery
PSY/BACB/QABA/NASP CE Offered. CE Instructor: Thomas Higbee, Ph.D.
Chair: Sarah Frampton (May Institute, Inc. )
Presenting Author: THOMAS HIGBEE (Utah State University)

Many students with autism and other developmental disabilities have difficulty sequencing their own behavior during free-choice situations. Rather, they rely on adults to prompt them to engage in particular activities. Many do not interact appropriately with play materials or may select one activity and engage in it for an extended period of time. Photographic activity schedules have been shown to be an effective tool to teach children to sequence their own behavior and transition smoothly between multiple activities. Children learn to follow the visual cues in the activity schedule to make transitions instead of relying on adult-provided prompts. Activity schedules also provide a context for teaching basic and complex choice-making behavior. As children develop verbal behavior, social scripts can also be added and then later faded to promote social interaction. Activity schedules have been used successfully in a variety of settings with both children and adults with various disabilities. They are easy to use and can be adapted to most environments. In the present tutorial, participants will learn how to use activity schedules with clients/students as well as learn about recent research on using these techniques to promote complex social play.

Target Audience:

Practitioners and applied researchers.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe the prerequisite skills for using photographic activity schedules; (2) describe how to use photographic activity schedules to promote independent behavior; (3) describe how to use photographic activity schedules to promote choice making; (4) describe how to use social scripting and script fading to promote spontaneous language; (5) describe how to use photographic activity schedules and script fading to promote complex social play.
THOMAS HIGBEE (Utah State University)
Dr. Thomas S. Higbee is a Professor and Interim Department Head in the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation at Utah State University and Executive Director of the Autism Support Services: Education, Research, and Training (ASSERT) program, an early intensive behavioral intervention program for children with autism that he founded in 2003. He is a doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D) and a Licensed Behavior Analyst in the state of Utah. He is also chair of the Disability Disciplines doctoral program at Utah State University. His research focuses on the development of effective educational and behavioral interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders and related disabilities as well as the development of effective training strategies for teaching parents and professionals to implement effective interventions. He is a former associate editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA) and the European Journal of Behavior Analysis. Dr. Higbee is committed to the dissemination of effective behavioral interventions and has helped to create intensive behavior analytic preschool and school programs for children with autism and related disorders in Brazil, Russia, Portugal, and throughout his home state of Utah. He is the past president of the Utah Association for Behavior Analysis (UtABA) and has served as a member of the Practice Board of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and the Psychologist Licensing Board of the state of Utah.
Invited Tutorial #293
CE Offered: BACB — 
A Call for Discussion About Scope of Competence in Behavior Analysis
Sunday, May 30, 2021
4:00 PM–4:50 PM EDT
Area: PRA; Domain: Applied Research
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Thomas J. Waltz, Ph.D.
Chair: Thomas J. Waltz (Eastern Michigan University)
Presenting Author: MATTHEW BRODHEAD (Michigan State University)

The field of behavior analysis has defined its scope of practice through credentialing and licensure efforts. However, scope of competence in behavior analysis has received little discussion. Scope of competence refers to activities that the individual practitioner can perform at a certain criterion level (e.g., the functional analysis is conducted accurately and safely, a skill acquisition program includes critical program components and establishes accurate stimulus control). Given the successful efforts of behavior analysts in growth and recognition of the field, it is time for a robust conversation about scope of competence for the field of behavior analysis. This discussion can clarify how behavior analysts self-evaluate their own scope of competence and how they might expand their scope of competence if the needs of consumers requires practitioners to expand into new areas.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe risks associated with practicing outside one’s scope of competence; (2) describe elements that improve their own scope of competence; (3) identify systematic ways to identify their own scope of competence.
MATTHEW BRODHEAD (Michigan State University)
Matthew T. Brodhead is an assistant professor at Michigan State University. He is the Director of Spartan Caregiver Support, a service that provides free and evidence-based support to caregivers of people with autism within the State of Michigan. He is also the Research Director of the Early Learning Institute. Dr. Brodhead’s research examines focused social skill interventions for children with autism. He also writes about conceptual issues relating to the ethical and professional behavior of practicing behavior analysts. Through workshops and consultation, he has established multiple school-based programs for children with autism, and he has provided training to teachers, related service providers, and behavior analysts both nationally and internationally. Finally, he specializes in program evaluation for both applied behavior analysis and public school placements for individuals with autism.



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