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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #183
Evidence-Based Practice and Applied Behavior Analysis: Current Issues and Future Directions
Sunday, May 24, 2015
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
213AB (CC)
Area: PRA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Peter Sturmey (The Graduate Center and Queens College, City University of New York)

Evidence-Based Practice is a movement in many fields of human services. Although influential in areas such as medicine and clinical psychology, its impact in applied behavior analysis has been relatively limited. This symposium examines the current status of evidence-based practice in applied behavior analysis through three papers. In the first, Fuqua and Sanburg report the results of a survey of practitioner understanding and training need relating to evidence based practice. In the second paper, Smith and Iadarola report the results of applying criteria for evidence-based practice to ABA and non-aba therapies for autism. They highlight some of the issues that arise as AAB interacts with methodologies in which randomized controlled trials predominate. Finally, Sturmey, Madharova and Maffei-Almadovar report the results of two systematic reviews and meta-analyses of caregiver training procedures. The implications of these studies for are discussed related to the use of randomized controlled trials, small N experimental designs, treatment integrity and the meaning of effect size metrics.

Keyword(s): early intervention, evidence-based practice, staff training

Evidence-Based Practice and Resource Needs in Behavior Analysis: A Survey of BACB Credentialed Practitioners

R. WAYNE FUQUA (Western Michigan University), Sela Ann Sanberg (Western Michigan University; UNMC; MMI)

Evidence-based practice (EBP) in behavior analysis involves a multi-component process that includes: a) identification of evidence-based behavioral interventions (EBBIs); b) selecting or modifying EBBIs based on the unique features of the client, context or therapist skills; c) implementing the EBBIs, often as modified to match unique client or context features, with high fidelity; d) continuous evaluation of clinical progress and e) modifying EBBIs based on continuous evaluation of treatment success and failure. Although the evidence-based practice model is compatible with behavior analysis training and BACB ethical guidelines, little is know about the degree to which behavior analysis practitioners implement all steps of the EBP process. We report the results of a survey of three groups of behavior analysis practitioners, Board Certified Behavior Analysts, Board Certified Associate Behavior Analysts and Registered Behavioral Technicians, regarding their understanding and implementation of the essential components of EBP in Behavior Analysis. We also report on the training and resource needs for survey respondents who aspire to adopt the EBP model in their behavior analysis practice.


Evidence Base Update for Autism Spectrum Disorder: Case Study in Applying American Psychological Association Review Criteria

SUZANNAH J. IADAROLA (University of Rochester Medical Center), Tristram Smith (University of Rochester Medical Center)

Using criteria established by a journal of the American Psychological Association (Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology), we (Smith & Iadarola, submitted) reviewed the literature on early intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We designated one applied behavior analytic (ABA) intervention as well-established (early intensive behavioral intervention such as the UCLA/Lovaas Model), one as probably efficacious (augmentative and alternative communication such as the Picture Exchange Communication System), and two as possibly efficacious (ABA classrooms such as Learning Experiences . . . An Alternative Program and incidental teaching models such as Pivotal Response Treatment). We also found empirical support for several interventions that originated outside of ABA. However, two of the journal’s requirements for classifying an intervention as “well established” or “probably efficacious” are controversial in ABA research: (1) studies with group designs and (2) standardized manuals for the intervention. Alternative review systems that allow single-subject research to support a “well established” classification may depict the evidence base for some ABA interventions as stronger than it appears in our review, but requirements for group studies and manuals have some merit: Group studies test interventions on a large scale, and manuals enable replication by independent researchers and providers.

Designing Effective Protocols For Training Caregivers To Implement Behavior Analytic Techniques: Results of Several meta-analyses
PETER STURMEY (The Graduate Center and Queens College, City University of New York), Maya Madharova (The Graduate Center, City University of New York), Lindsay Maffei-Almadovar (The Graduate Center, City University of New York)
Abstract: One meta-analysis evaluated the effectiveness of video modeling for training staff and caregivers of individuals with developmental disabilities to implement behavior analytic techniques. We calculated effect sizes indicated that effectiveness varied depending on the type of video model, trainees, and target skills. Three additional meta-analyses evaluated procedures to train caregivers in discrete trial teaching, preference assessment and mand training procedures.Training was less effective for parents than for staff and university students. Included studies also met criteria for quality single-subject research according to the Horner (2005) quality indicators. Combined these meta-analyses provide information for designing effective staff and parent training protocols.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh