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.


15th Annual Autism Conference; Online; 2021

Event Details

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Invited Panel #12
Leadership in Applied Behavior Analysis: Perspectives from Women
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
9:40 AM–10:30 AM
Area: AUT; Domain: Translational
Chair: Shahla Ala'i (University of North Texas)
CE Instructor: Erin Rasmussen, Ph.D.
Panelists: DENISHA GINGLES (Signature ABA Therapy), DENISE ROSS (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee), DOREEN GRANPEESHEH (Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD)), EZIAFAKAKU NWOKOLO (Shades of Life Care Limited), ERIN RASMUSSEN (Idaho State University)

This interactive panel discussion will focus upon leadership challenges facing women in applied behavior analysis in general and autism service delivery in particular. The panel members will share reflections from their own lives and career and offer strategies for how other scientist practitioners can behave with cultural humility and combat systemic biases facing women professionals.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
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 common challenges facing female leaders in our field; (2) implement strategies for combating gender biases that they may encounter in their professional endeavors; (3) discuss ideas for promoting cultural humility in their own work and lives as well as those of colleagues.
DENISHA GINGLES (Signature ABA Therapy)
Denisha Gingles is a passionate behavior scientist and master-level trained mental health therapist. Denisha is the Clinical Director and CEO of Signature ABA Therapy, a group practice in Baltimore. Ms.Gingles is a futuristic thought leader and liberation-centered clinician dedicated to collective social change and the creation of sacred spaces that promote wellness and awareness of self. She is a pioneer, integrating behavior analysis and social justice by unapologetically shining a light on inequities of the world, while simultaneously making it infinitely better, exuding integrity and authenticity. With the ability to be adaptable and flexible, Denisha stays true to her values and works to encourage all humans to bring attention to their own private self-defeating and community-hindering thoughts and overt behaviors, in the service of evoking committed action oftentimes outside of their immediate comfort zone.
Denisha Gingles is a leading researcher and practitioner synthesizing social justice work with contemporary behavioral science. Ms. Gingles brings a rich experience in community organizing and activism to bear on evidence-based approaches to behavior change in the science of behavior analysis, incorporating innovative approaches to complex human behavior, such as relational frame theory and acceptance and commitment training. Ms. Gingles’ work takes a radically compassionate approach to igniting the behavior change needed to produce systemic social change in support of justice and equity. Ms. Gingles works tirelessly for social justice on multiple fronts, including community organizing, co-founding and producing the Beautiful Humans platform, providing professional workshops and trainings, scholarly writing, professional conference presentations at both the national and international level, and leadership in scholarly journals, including serving as Guest Editor for the Emergency Series on Police Brutality and Systemic Racism at the peer-reviewed journal Behavior Analysis in Practice.
DENISE ROSS (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee)
Denise E. Ross, Ph.D., BCBA-D is Chair of the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Urban Education. In this role, she develops partnerships between urban school districts and schools of education to prepare PK-12 educators to teach in diverse school districts – a focus of her career for more than 20 years. Her scholarly work translates research in applied behavior analysis to language and literacy instruction in schools, and it has been published in both education and psychology journals. Dr. Ross is the co-author of Verbal Behavior Analysis: Inducing and Expanding New Verbal Capabilities in Children with Language Delays (Pearson, 2008). She received her Ph.D. in special education from Columbia University in 1998 and her B.A. in English from Spelman College in 1993.
DOREEN GRANPEESHEH (Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD))
Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh is the Founder and CEO of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) and the Founder and President of the Board of Autism Care and Treatment Today (ACT Today). Dr. Granpeesheh received her Ph.D. in Psychology from UCLA under the mentorship of Professor Ivar Lovaas. She is licensed by the Medical Board of California and the Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Virginia, Michigan and Oregon State Boards of Psychologists. Dr. Granpeesheh holds a Certificate of Professional Qualification in Psychology from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, doctoral level, and has been providing behavioral therapy for individuals with autism since 1979. She has been a member of numerous scientific and advisory boards including the US Autism and Asperger's Association, the Autism File journal, Autism 360/medigenesis, the 4-A Healing Foundation, and the Defeat Autism Now coalition. In addition, Dr. Granpeesheh has served on the National Board of Directors of the Autism Society of America, the practice board of ABAI, as well as the Autism Human Rights and Discrimination Initiative Steering Committee, the Early Intervention Taskforce of the Senate Select Committee on Autism and Related Disorders, and the Oversight Committee of the Department of Developmental Disabilities.     Dr. Granpeesheh has co-authored the book Evidence-Based Treatment for Children with Autism and numerous peer reviewed publications on issues concerning the diagnosis and treatment of Autism. She was awarded the George Winoker Clinical Research Award from the American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists for her publication titled: Retrospective analysis of clinical records in 38 cases of recovery from autism. Together with her colleagues at CARD, Dr. Granpeesheh created Skills® for Autism, a web-based software tool that creates comprehensive treatment plans for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder, and founded the Institute for Behavioral Training, an online platform for training professionals and families on the principles of ABA.    
EZIAFAKAKU NWOKOLO (Shades of Life Care Limited)

With over 20-years’ experience in the Oil and Gas industry, Eziafakaku Nwokolo retired from her full-time job with Chevron Nigeria Limited in 2014 to pursue a new interest in the field of developmental disabilities. She has an MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis-Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and is currently the only resident Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®) in Nigeria. She is also a Qualified Behavior Analyst (QBA). 


Eziafakaku is the Founder/CEO of Shades of Life Care Limited; a company that provides services to individuals with developmental disabilities. She sits as a member of the International Standards Committee of the Qualified Applied Behavior Analysis (QABA) Credentialing Board and is the Secretary of the Association for Behaviour Analysis in Nigeria (ABAN).


She has given presentations of her work at different conferences – the Association of Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) 44th International Conference in San Francisco and the 5th European International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IASSIDD) Conference in Athens, at the inaugural International School for Disability Studies (ISDS) conference for IDD in Abuja, Nigeria and the first-ever Pan African Congress on Autism (PACA) conference in Nairobi, Kenya.


Currently, she is a PhD researcher whose interest lies in validating screening tools for Intellectual Disability (ID) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Nigeria. Her research focuses on screening for ID and ASD in Nigerian adolescents.


She is a mother of three whose middle child has autism.


ERIN RASMUSSEN (Idaho State University)
Dr. Erin B. Rasmussen received her Ph.D. in the Experimental Analysis of Behavior with a minor in behavioral pharmacology and toxicology from Auburn University under the direction of Dr. Christopher Newland. She is currently a professor of psychology at Idaho State University. The work from her animal and human laboratories has generated over 50 peer-reviewed publications. Most recently, she conducts research on the behavioral economics of food reinforcement in the context of obesity. Her latest series of studies, funded by the NIH, examines delay discounting in food insecure populations. She has served on the Science Board of the ABAI and is a past Associate Editor of Perspectives on Behavior Science (formerly The Behavior Analyst).



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