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.

14th Annual Autism Conference; Miami, FL; 2020

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #3

Behavior Analysis in Autism History

Monday, February 24, 2020
8:10 AM–9:00 AM
Regency Ballroom
Area: AUT; Domain: Theory
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Travis Thompson, Ph.D.
Chair: Ruth Anne Rehfeldt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
TRAVIS THOMPSON (University of Minnesota)
Travis I. Thompson earned his BA, MA & PhDs in the Psychology Dept. at the University of Minnesota where he studied with Kenneth MacCorquodale and Gordon Heistad.  MacCorquodale was one of the first students to study with B.F. Skinner. Thompson did post-doctoral research with J.V. Brady, a JEAB founder. He co-authored the first article on an operant analysis of addictive behavior with C.R. Schuster, with whom they wrote the first textbook of Behavioral Pharmacology.  He and his students established the first large scale behavioral intervention program for people with intellectual disabilities, ultimately leading to closure of most Minnesota State hospitals. Over many years he conducted training, directed research and administered a large scale university research and service program at the J.F. Kennedy Centering, Nashville.  Later he directed a home based early autism behavioral intervention program in Minneapolis (Making Sense if Autism and 3 more autism books). He has given invited addresses in 47 US states and 17 other countries, and published 30 books and 250 articles. Thompson was the Coordinator of the ABAI annual Autism conferences for three years, and led the early steps of establishing CPT autism insurance billing . Travis Thompson has been a licensed psychologist in Minnesota since 1975. 

For three decades after Leo Kanner’s first clinical description, research progress in understanding and treating autism was minimal. Since the late 1960s autism discoveries have been exponential. The impetus for this explosion of empirical research was the discovery that something could be done to prevent the inevitable downward spiral of autism using Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention. Two other important factors were widely accepted as clinical tests for autism: the Autism Diagnostic Observational Schedule and the proliferation of magnetic tesonant imaging technologies (especially functional brain imaging) leading to localizing brain areas most involved in autism deficits overcome by EIBI. Naturalistic and discrete trial methods are now integrated, with emphasis depending on degree of disability. As we approach 2020, autism has begun to be an eminently treatable condition for many affected children.

Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) discuss the roots of Intensive Early Behavioral Intervention in Seattle Washington, and how they evolved into several branches of intervention; (2) describe Lovaas’s early work at Camarillo State Hospital and how his approach differed from the developmental strategies of Piaget and Vygotsky; (3) explain the dimensions across which Early Behavioral Interventions differ including hybrids, and their relevance (consider: DTI, Pivotal Response Training, Picture Exchange System, Blended intervention, Positive Behavioral Support); and (4) explain how the term “cure” does not appropriately apply to the outcomes of most Intensive Early Behavioral Interventions, and suggest a more appropriate vocabulary for outcomes of IEBI.



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Modifed by Eddie Soh