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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #105
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission The Way Forward: Behavior Analysis and the Contingencies of Inclusion
Saturday, May 25, 2019
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Fairmont, B2, Imperial Ballroom
Area: CSS/PCH; Domain: Translational
Chair: Vivian Mach (Morningside Academy)
Discussant: Adam Hockman (The Mechner Foundation)
CE Instructor: Joanne K. Robbins, Ph.D.

Behavior analysts are in the unique position to build bridges that cross cultures and to respect diversity in meaningful measurable ways. We can reach across professions, across disciplines, and across age groups to address patterns that harm any population. We can translate procedures from other fields, and design and sequence measurable objectives without relying on psychological constructs. This symposium will share an analysis and solutions for challenges that arise from exclusionary cultural diversity practices and the great need to provide diversity training. Behavior analysts can contribute to policy and practices that affect the LGBTQ community. We discuss the need to develop culturally competent assessment and treatment interventions for those diagnosed on the autism spectrum. We examine the current and historical make up of the leadership in our own international organization. The constructional approach is presented to help define and facilitate how behavior analysis can move us forward in addressing these issues.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): bias, constructional approach, cultural diversity, discrimination
Target Audience:

College professors BCBA practitioners

Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to name three free or low cost resources that are available for teaching adults and youth about LGBTQ needs. Participants will be able to state two examples of differences between the etiology of autism in different cultures. Participants will be able to state which emotion is a by-product of the distancing contingency.
Diversity submission 

Cross-Cultural Implementation of Applied Behavior Analysis for Treating Individuals Diagnosed With Autism Spectrum Disorder

(Service Delivery)
STACEE LEATHERMAN (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), James C. Moore (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Ileana Torres (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Robyn M. Catagnus (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

The worldwide impact of autism creates a need to develop culturally competent assessment and treatment interventions that can be implemented in a variety of cultures. The literature on interventions for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has identified behavioral interventions as being very effective in Western cultures. However, there is little research about behavioral interventions in non-Western cultures. Culture can affect a person’s beliefs about the cause or origin of ASD, which types of treatment the person seeks, and the goals/outcomes the person expects. Western ABA providers working with individuals with ASD from diverse cultures need to develop and maintain multicultural competencies to better understand the needs of the people with whom they work and to be able to modify interventions to be more effective in non-Western cultures. This paper discusses the impact of culture on the diagnosis and treatment of ASD, barriers to accessing ASD treatment services in non-Western cultures, the existing research gap regarding the cross-cultural implementation of ABA, current ABA efforts to address diversity issues in the field, and recommendations for future research.

Diversity submission 

Free and Appropriate Education for All: LGBTQ Youth and Inclusive Schools

(Service Delivery)
SEAN MICHAEL WILL (PEER International; Denton ISD)

Inclusive practices for students, teachers, and families help create an inviting school culture. All families need to experience a safe and welcoming environment. Stereotypes of gender may limit life experiences, limit access to meaningful consequences, and limit available alternatives. In 2016, the first-ever national survey was administered to parse high school students by sexuality. The two new questions added to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control survey asked students about (1) their sexual orientation and (2) the gender of their partners. These data show that 1.3 million teens, about 8% of all high school students in America, report being lesbian, gay, or bisexual. This presentation will present a behavior analytic approach to define bullying and other social interactions that lead to exclusion. We will share resources that promote inclusion and teach students to create allies, and to recognize the undesirable role of the bystander. Behavior analysis provides us with the framework to design and arrange these complex social contingencies.

Diversity submission 

Diversity and Representation Within the Field of Behavior Analysis

ALFRED TUMINELLO (Touchstone), Dominique Michellee Rougeau (Mental Health Connections of SWLA/Crossing Roads ABA)

As a field, Applied Behavior Analysis is expected to be able to produce socially significant changes in the lives of individuals from diverse social, cultural, and economic backgrounds. While behavior analysts strive to provide the best care to their clients, only minimal support may be available to help behavior analysts develop the skills needed for effectively bridging gaps that exist when providers and clients share little in terms of cultural understanding. This challenge is particularly well illustrated when reviewing the sociocultural backgrounds of those comprising major leadership groups, such as the Behavior Analysis Certification Board and Association for Professional Behavior Analysts, as well as when accounting for the frequency of related presentations at major conferences. Without a concentrated effort to both develop field-wide leaders from diverse communities and promote appropriate diversity and sensitivity training for practitioners, consumers of ABA services may find it difficult to find behavior analysts with whom they can effectively communicate. As our field naturally results in contact with people from all walks of life, it is important for practitioners at every level to have a solid understanding of the issues surrounding diversity within the Association for Behavior Analysis International.

Diversity submission Contingencies of Inclusion and Exclusion: A Constructional Approach to Cultural Diversity
JOANNE K. ROBBINS (Morningside Academy; PEER International)
Abstract: Concepts of freedom and equality have been at the core of the debate on how we should live and treat one another since the inception of this country. Skinner (1971) thought the concepts important enough to devote an entire book to the subject. In that book he argued that radical behaviorism could make a contribution to understanding the key issues framing debates concerning freedom, and could offer ways to help achieve the often elusive goals of equality and the "good" life. The purpose of this paper is to consider an analysis of an issue currently described as cultural diversity; an analysis derived from the principles of contingency analysis. Presented here is the constructional approach as formulated by Goldiamond in an attempt to treat these problems such as bias, prejudice, and discrimination as disturbing patterns that are maintained by their consequences, and viewed as patterns of social or societal behavior that can be rationalized given the available alternatives.



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