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 #W74
CE Offered: PSY/BACB — 
Behavior Analysis of Seizures
Friday, May 22, 2020
4:00 PM–7:00 PM
To Be Determined
Area: BPN/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: John C. Neill, Ph.D.
JOHN C. NEILL (Long Island University)
Description: Up to 50% of individuals with severe developmental disabilities have epilepsy. Remarkably, behavior analysts are often unaware how epilepsy impairs their client's ability to learn and remember contingencies of reinforcement. Individuals with epilepsy often have behavior disorders which can be exacerbated by seizures. These seizures could be better controlled, and important new skills could be acquired, if the behavior analyst understands epilepsy. A brief review of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and molecular events responsible for seizures and seizure-induced impairments in learning and behavior will be provided. The etiology, genetics and classification of common seizure disorders will be briefly reviewed. Behavioral research on several animal models of seizures will be covered. Developmentally disabled clients are often improperly monitored and over-medicated for seizures. These issues can be avoided with EEG (electroencephalography), which is a crucial test for accurate diagnosis of epilepsy. Workshop participants will learn how to prepare a client for cooperating with the EEG, without sedation or anesthesia. Participants will learn how epileptic seizures change an individual's ability to operate on their environment. Conversely, the environment often modulates seizures. Behavior analysts will benefit their clients who have epilepsy by learning about how to describe, measure and control these relationships in an ethical manner.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the workshop, each participant will be able to: 1. Define an epileptic seizure. 2. Describe some of the developmental and neurological events responsible for epileptic seizures. 3. Recognize the importance of measuring the effects of seizures on learning and behavior. 4. Objectively describe, count and time seizures in relation to environmental conditions. 5. Recognize the importance of reviewing a client's history to determine etiology, and its particular impact on behavioral progress. 6. Recognize the effects of the environment on epileptic seizures. 7. Know how to prepare a client for cooperating with EEG tests, without sedation or anesthesia. 8. Discriminate pseudoepileptic versus epileptic seizures. 8. Manage learning and behavior disorders effectively in clients with epilepsy. 9. Explain some recent research on epilepsy and behavior analysis. 10. Explain how the environment can decrease abnormal brain activity and seizures.
Activities: The workshop activities will include lecture, group discussion, video observation, and interactive activities to test knowledge (using Kahoot). Students will have access to videos, peer reviewed articles and chapters on Research Gate before the conference. Research Gate link:
Audience: Clinical behavior analysts and experimental analysts with an interest in learning effective methods for analyzing seizures and their immediate and long term effects on intellectual functioning, everyday behavior and behavior disorders.
Content Area: Methodology
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): animal models, electroencephalography, epileptic seizures, pseudoepileptic seizures



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