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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W44
CE Offered: BACB
Assessment and Treatment of Anxiety and Trauma for Those on the Autism Spectrum
Friday, May 22, 2020
8:00 AM–3:00 PM
To Be Determined
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Bobbie J Gallagher, Ph.D.
BOBBIE J GALLAGHER (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology; Autism Center for Educational Services)
Description: Research has shown that people with autism have a higher risk of adverse and potentially traumatic childhood experiences and confirms high rates of anxiety present in individuals with autism, but many times, little is done outside of the search for medication. Children, youth, and adults with ASD may express anxiety very differently from neurotypical individuals, and as a result those around them may inadvertently increase rather than decrease stressors. This workshop will address why anxiety and trauma may manifest differently in individuals with autism. The audience will review tools, such as the Behavior Avoidance Test, to measure behaviors and identify triggers as well as review the use of technology (heart rate monitors) to measure stressful events in those with limited language. Various assessments, such as the Groden Stress Survey, will be discussed as these may be used during a functional behavior assessment in order to design effective behavior intervention plans and skill acquisition programs. Additionally, how training of staff in neuroscience based strategies, ex. David Rock's S.C.A.R.F., and other person-centered approaches can decrease adverse responses to triggers.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1)Describe causes of anxiety and trauma in individuals with ASD (2) Identify various assessment tools for use in developing treatment for those with ASD who have anxiety or experienced trauma (3) Describe interventions that may decrease responses to triggers in those with ASD.
Activities: Workshop activities will include lecture and audience participation through review of assessment tools, and small group practice of person-centered strategies.
Audience: The target audience is BCBAs working with individuals with ASD who experience anxiety that evokes challenging behaviors and resistance to treatment.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Intermediate



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