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.


11th International Conference; Dublin, Ireland; 2022

CE by Content: Ethics


Invited Paper Session #36
CE Offered: BACB/QABA — 
On the Ethics of Treating Automatically Reinforced Behavior: Self-Injurious Behavior and Stereotypy
Friday, September 2, 2022
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Carol Pilgrim (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
CE Instructor: William Ahearn, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: WILLIAM AHEARN (New England Center for Children)

Automatically reinforced behavior presents substantial challenges to clinicians when developing behavioral interventions. This presentation will examine that questions of how, when, and whether automatically reinforced behavior should be treated. Self-injury is problem behavior that is sometimes maintained by automatic reinforcement and can pose the risk of significant and, in some cases, life threatening harm. On the other hand, stereotypy is nearly always automatically maintained but rarely leads to injury. Ethical considerations for clinicians will be discussed and the risks and benefits of both treating and not treating self-injury and stereotypy be explored. Some applied research on evaluating and treating stereotypic behavior will be reviewed with a focus on effective interventions for building core adaptive living and social skills.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Applied Behavior Analysts

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Attendees will be able to discuss why automatically reinforced behavior is difficult to treat; (2) Attendees will be able to discuss why it is sometimes necessary and sometimes not necessary to treatment automatically reinforced behavior; (3) Attendees will be able to discuss why self-injury is a more pressing concern for intervention and which treatment strategies are likely to be effective; (4) Attendees will be able to discuss why stereotypy is a less pressing concern for intervention and why treatment strategies should first attempt to foster appropriate behavior.
WILLIAM AHEARN (New England Center for Children)
Bill Ahearn, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA, is Director of Research at the New England Center for Children. Dr. Ahearn is currently the chair of the board that licenses behavior analysts in Massachusetts and serves as Editor-in-Chief for Behavioral Interventions. He also serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and previously served on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis for about 20 years. Bill has published extensively, including on the treatment of repetitive behavior, treating pediatric feeding disorders, and examining predictions of the Behavioral Momentum metaphor. He was named the 2009 American Psychological Association - Division 25 awardee for Enduring Contributions to Applied Behavioral Research (Nate Azrin award) and as CalABA’s 2020 Outstanding Contributor. Bill is also a past-President of APBA and BABAT.
Panel #91
CE Offered: BACB — 
Applications of Diversity and Inclusion Strategies to Decrease the Disparities in Access to Autism Services
Saturday, September 3, 2022
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Meeting Level 1: Liffey B
Area: CSS/AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Alyssa Kavner, M.A.
Chair: Paula Pompa-Craven (Easterseals Southern California)
NAA GARRIDO (Galena Autism and Behavioral Services)
FATOU NJIE-JALLOW (New England Center for Children)
ALYSSA KAVNER (Easterseals Southern California)

Autism is prevalent in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, with 1 in 44 children aged 8 years or older receiving an autism diagnosis, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC)’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. However, minority groups are less likely than their white counterparts to be diagnosed with autism or as having speech delays. There are also disparities in the age that some minority children are diagnosed with autism, as well as the reported quality of care received. Studies found inequalities specific to autism diagnosis and treatment due to race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status that limit accessibility of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) interventions for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and low-income families (Lauer, 2013; Magaña, et al. 2012; Smith et al., 2020). The panel discussion will start with an overview of disparities in access to healthcare, funding, and access to services and three organizations will discuss initiatives aimed at reducing disparities in service access. The panelists will then answer questions discussing organizational resources for building a DEI department, staff and client resources aimed at increasing service access, and recruitment strategies aimed at increasing the diversity of service providers.

Instruction Level: Advanced
Target Audience:

BCBAs, BCBA-Ds, and Professional Psychologists should have experience in implementing programs in their own organizations, engaging with their communities, and using measurement tools to indicate organizational outcomes.

Learning Objectives: 1. Understand the disparities in accessing treatment for autism services in BIPOC and low-income families and discover specific resources aimed at reducing those inequalities. 2. Learn strategies and resources needed to implement a Diversity and Inclusion program within their own organization. 3. Identify goals related to training, recruitment, outreach and partnerships aimed at reducing the inequalities for accessing and increasing the quality of treatment.
Keyword(s): Access, Autism, Diversity, Inclusion
Panel #114
CE Offered: BACB — 
Applied Behavior Analysis and Speech Language Pathology: Intercollaboration for Enhanced Outcomes
Saturday, September 3, 2022
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
Meeting Level 1; Liffey Hall 2
Area: AUT/PCH; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Lina M. Slim, Ph.D.
Chair: Joanne Gerenser (Eden II Programs)
REBECCA L GIAMMATTI (Prism Autism Centers)

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and professionals in applied behavior analysis (ABA) participate as members of support teams for children with autism. Collaboration between these professionals can enhance the team’s work, since each professional brings valuable resources to the table. However, overlapping areas of expertise, different terms used for similar instructional elements, and variations in addressing the same problems may complicate the collaborative process. This gap between ABA professionals and SLPs appears to be growing even wider and if not addressed, can begin to have negative consequences for individuals on the spectrum. This panel will discuss the differences and issues that complicate collaboration. Examples of the widening gap will be provided from the field. Potential strategies to overcome these challenges and foster collaboration will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

BCBAs, SLPs, and clinical disciplines who have provided direct support to autistic children or adults.

Learning Objectives: 1. Identify areas of overlapping expertise and roles for the SLPs and behavior analysts 2. Describe at least 3 common misconceptions of applied behavior analysis 3. Describe at least 3 common misconceptions of speech pathology 4. Identify potential strategies to enhance collaboration between the speech pathologist and the behavior analyst
Symposium #120
CE Offered: BACB — 
Ethical Behavior Analysis: A Guide to Being an Evidence-Based Practitioner
Saturday, September 3, 2022
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
Meeting Level 2; Wicklow Hall 2A
Area: PCH/TBA; Domain: Theory
Chair: Bethany P. Contreras Young (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Jennifer Ledford (Vanderbilt University)
CE Instructor: Audrey N. Hoffmann, Ph.D.

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a commonly used term in the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA); however, disagreement or misunderstanding regarding what EBP is and how to engage in evidence-based decision making persist. In this symposium, we will attempt to clarify the definition of EBP in ABA and we will discuss the role that EBP plays in different domains of ABA. First, Dr. Bethany Contreras will discuss the definition of EBP and will offer specific suggestions on how practitioners can use EBP to guide ethical decision making. Next, Dr. Audrey Hoffmann will discuss how EBP provides a framework for embedding evidence-based decision-making in coursework and supervision in order to improve ethical decision-making in novice behavior analysts. Finally, Dr. Jennifer Ledford will discuss and expand upon the two presentations, identifying limitations and areas for future work.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Decision-Making, Ethics, Evidence-Based Practice
Target Audience:

Practicing behavior analysts, behavior analytic higher education professionals, supervising behavior analysts

Learning Objectives: 1. Define Evidence Based Practice (EBP) of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and describe the three components comprising EBP of ABA. 2. Identify ethical codes aligned with the EBP of ABA 3. Identify general strategies for engaging in EBP as part of ethical behavior analytic practice 4. Identify strategies for including EBP in teaching and training of novice behavior analysts
An Introduction to Engaging in Evidence-Based Practice
BETHANY P. CONTRERAS YOUNG (University of Nevada, Reno), Audrey N. Hoffmann (Utah State University), Timothy A. Slocum (Utah State University)
Abstract: Evidence-based practice of ABA has been defined as “…a decision-making process that integrates (a) the best available evidence with (b) clinical expertise and (c) client values and context” (Slocum et al, 2014; p. 44). While several articles and books discuss the importance of EBP for ABA, there is limited information on how a practicing behavior analyst can purposefully engage in EBP. In this presentation, we will discuss the definition of EBP for ABA and will offer suggestions as to behaviors practitioners can engage in to ensure that they are engaging in EBP. We will present specific suggestions for how behavior analysts can ensure that they are using the best available evidence to guide decisions, how to build and maintain clinical expertise, and how to incorporate client values and context into the decision-making process that is EBP.

Evidence-Based Practice as a Framework for Training Novice Behavior Analysts

AUDREY N. HOFFMANN (Utah State University)

Evidence Based Practice (EBP) provides a useful framework for teaching decision-making skills and ethical practice to novice behavior analysts. This presentation will provide a brief introduction to EBP and go over the importance of including EBP within training programs for behavior analysts (both in higher education and in supervised practice). Suggestions for embedding EBP into course sequences and supervision practices will be provided as well as discussing potential barriers to training a complex behavioral repertoire such as evidence-based decision-making. The presentation will highlight the importance of novice behavior analysts basing decisions on the best available research evidence, considering the client values and context, and improving and appropriately utilizing their clinical expertise as ethical behavior analysts.




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Modifed by Eddie Soh