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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #235

Research Synthesis of Behavioral Interventions for People With Autism: Strategies to Maximize Social Impact

Sunday, May 27, 2018
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Seaport Ballroom DE
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Javier Virues Ortega, Ph.D.
Chair: Nicole Heal (Margaret Murphy Center for Children)
JAVIER VIRUES ORTEGA (The University of Auckland)
Javier Virues-Ortega is a senior lecturer and director of the Applied Behaviour Analysis programme at The University of Auckland (New Zealand). After five years in a leading public health research institution he developed an interest in translating mainstream outcome research methods into applied behavior analysis. He is author of over a hundred specialized publications. His work has been cited thousands of times and summarized in the medical policies of a number of major health insurance providers in the US. For example, UnitedHealthcare group cited and summarized two of Virues-Ortega's meta-analyses in their policy on behavioural services for autism spectrum disorder.

Scientists cite clinical trials hundreds of times while decision makers use clinical trials and meta-analyses as the foundation for policies affecting millions. By contrast, JABA papers live a silent and unassuming life. Historically, applied behavior analysis has disregarded the potential for an "applied behavioral synthesis." The vast majority of our empirical literature is composed of experimental analyses of molecular processes often evaluating the impact of discrete reinforcement-based procedures on few behaviors of interest over a limited period of time. We lack a conceptual framework to translate experimentally sound baby steps into service and treatment models that have to be comprehensive and longitudinal in nature. This talk will explore strategies for synthesizing behavior-analytic evidence that would be compatible with both the single-subject experimental tradition of applied behavior analysis, and the outcome research standards of mainstream clinical sciences. The end goal of this approach is to develop efficient channels to translate applied behavior analysis into service models that policy and health decision-makers could find acceptable.

Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts, licensed psychologists, graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Understand the relative social impact of various forms of evaluating evidence; (2) Understand the key differences in evidence evaluation between behavior analysis and mainstream clinical sciences; (3) Understand the empirical basis (or lack of thereof) of key methodological standards of randomized control trials; (4) Understand the potential for behavior-analytic research to follow them.



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