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

Event Details

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Symposium #123
CE Offered: BACB — 
Diversity submission Beyond Politically Correct: Practical Steps Toward a More Equitable and Culturally Diverse Behavior Analysis
Saturday, May 23, 2020
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Level M4, Liberty M
Area: CSS/PCH; Domain: Translational
Chair: Elizabeth Hughes Fong (Saint Joseph's University)
Discussant: Denisha Gingles (Signature Behavior Analytic Services)
CE Instructor: Elizabeth Hughes Fong, Ph.D.

In the last two years, diversity, social justice, and cultural humility have received a surge of interest in the applied behavior analytic (ABA) community, likely largely bolstered by social movements such as MeToo and BlackLivesMatter. This symposium brings together four presentations that provide practical action items for research and practice. The first presentation, by Elizabeth Fong, will bring a broader historical perspective to the conversation surrounding diversity in ABA and will engage the audience in some brief self-reflective and group activities. The second presentation, by Jacqueline Ramirez, reviews research on cultural humility training and provides specific actionable recommendations that the audience can put into practice today. The third presentation, by Robyn Catagnus, presents results of a review of research published in six behavior analytic journals and assesses the presence of cross-cultural research published in these journals. The fourth presentation, by Zoey Ulrey, presents a conceptual functional analysis of leadership behaviors relevant to preventing harassment in organizations. The symposium concludes with a discussion by Denisha Gingles.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): culture, diversity, harassment, social justice
Target Audience:

Any behavior analysts

Learning Objectives: Attendees will be able to provide a behavior analytic definition of culture. Attendees will be able to summarize the results of previous research on the effectiveness of cultural humility training programs. Attendees will be able to summarize the results of previous research on cross-cultural provision of ABA services. Attendees will be able to discuss the function of leader behaviors relevant to harassment prevention.
Diversity submission Examining Diversity and Culture in Behavior Analysis
(Service Delivery)
ELIZABETH HUGHES FONG (Saint Joseph's University)
Abstract: This discussion with begin with a brief history of ABA in regards to diversity and culture.  From there, ethics, supervision, interventions, as well as challenges and potential solutions will be examined. Participants will be asked to participate in a few self-reflective and group activities to challenge their views on diversity and multiculturalism. Finally, discussion around increasing culturally aware behavior analytic skills in practice as a practitioner and supervisors will be explored, as well as a discussion on some of the barriers that perpetuate the lack of diversity and equity in our field.
Diversity submission 

The Big Elephant in the Room: Culture

(Service Delivery)
JACQUELINE RAMIREZ (University of Southern California ), Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Southern California; FirstSteps for Kids)

The topics of cultural competence and cultural humility have received increasing attention in the behavior analytic profession. Although the terms are often taken as synonymous, they are not the same. The concept of cultural competence assumes that, after sufficient training, one might become competent in another’s culture. The concept of cultural humility asserts that one can never become fully competent in another’s culture, so a more realistic and productive goal is to become humble and open with respect to culture. The field of applied behavior analysis has done very little research addressing the topic. In fact, few training programs in behavior analysis include training in cultural humility as a requirement. A best practice for teaching these frameworks has not been identified and there is a critical need to outline the relevance of cultural humility and to expand on studies from similar disciplines that have a head start in identifying what works. Identifying best practices will enable practitioners to provide ethical, socially significant, and socially validated interventions to our consumers and families, thus remaining true to our ethical code and dimensions of applied behavior analysis.This presentation will make specific, testable recommendations for how behavior analytic training and research may be brought to bear on establishing culturally humble clinician repertoires of behavior.

Diversity submission Working in a Cross-Cultural Context? You Can’t Rely on the Research (Yet)
(Service Delivery)
Stacee Leatherman (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), ROBYN M. CATAGNUS (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Thomas Wade Brown (Ball State University)
Abstract: If you are working in a cross-cultural context, you may not find many empirical studies to guide you… yet. Many US practitioners are providing cross-cultural behavior analytic supervision and services, often driven by the growing global demand for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) intervention. These practitioners should rely on empirical research regarding how to best serve a wide variety of cultures, especially when working with a new population. Yet, there are very few studies in US behavior-analytic journals of cross-cultural research with participants from minority groups, immigrant communities, or cultures outside of North America and Europe. A systematic review of 6 behavior-analytic journals (2009-2019), using various search terms related to diversity and culture, yielded just 20 studies reporting participants were from cultural groups such as these, and only two of these included participants with disabilities. This deficit in the literature is exacerbated by key term inconsistency and a (well-established) lack reporting of race and ethnicity in research. Still, there are risks associated with international dissemination and cross-cultural services with a lack of sufficient evidence to guide practitioners. We call for more reports with specific recommendations for diverse populations and suggest inclusive research and practice strategies.
Diversity submission Behavioral Conceptual Analysis of Leadership Behaviors for Harassment Prevention
ZOEY ISABELLA ULREY (University of Southern California), Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Southern California; FirstSteps for Kids)
Abstract: This presentation consists of a conceptual functional analysis of leadership behaviors. Under what conditions do leaders intervene in instances requiring someone to take a stand or act as a bystander and what are the maintaining consequences of those behaviors? Accordingly, what are the maintaining contingencies for less optimal behaviors, such as actively avoiding intervening in instances of potential harassment? Furthermore, how do leader behaviors relevant to harassment influence subordinates’ behavior, both in the presence and absence of the leader? This presentation will review literature on leadership behavior and analyze the contingencies maintaining leadership behaviors relevant to harassment prevention. We will then identify where interventions should target change for the improvement of leader behavior at the individual level and how this has the potential to affect organizational culture at a larger level, with the goal of bringing about more equitable organizational cultures that prevent harassment.



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