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 Paper Session #14
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Exploring a Continuum of Options for Food Selectivity Issues: The Use of Modeling and Reinforcement to Expand Food Acceptance
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
12:30 PM–1:20 PM
Area: AUT; Domain: Theory
Chair: Joseph H. Cihon (Autism Partnership Foundation)
CE Instructor: Mary Jane Weiss, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: MARY JANE WEISS (Endicott College)

Feeding issues are prevalent and difficult to treat in individuals with ASD. Escape extinction has been determined to be an evidence based approach for addressing food selectivity and food refusal issues in this population. While this procedure is effective and often necessary, it can also be difficult for patents to tolerate and for caregivers to implement. This presentation will describe the use of alternative procedures that may have merit for treating less serious issues in food selectivity. Specifically, a method for the extension of observational learning procedures to food preferences will be presented, along with the possible utility of this procedure in addressing food selectivity. In addition, a case study utilizing visual cues and positive reinforcement within a remote telehealth model will be reviewed. These procedures will be discussed in the context of effective treatment, with an emphasis on the ethical obligations of practitioners.

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) identify feeding issues in individuals with ASD, as well as levels of severity and safety concerns that may dictate the options considered in feeding interventions; (2) describe ways to use modeling to build tolerance for interacting with foods; (3) identify ways to systematically build ranges of foods and amounts ingested through the use of shaping, reinforcement, and changing criterion requirements.
MARY JANE WEISS (Endicott College)
Mary Jane Weiss, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA, is a Professor at Endicott College, where she has been for 9 years, and where she serves as the Executive Director of ABA and Autism Programs, including the master’s programs in ABA and the Ph.D. Program in ABA. Dr. Weiss also does research with the team at Melmark. She has worked in the field of ABA and Autism for over 35 years. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Rutgers University in 1990 and she became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2000. She previously worked for 16 years at the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center at Rutgers University. Her clinical and research interests center on defining best practice ABA techniques, exploring ways to enhance the ethical conduct of practitioners, teaching social skills to learners with autism, training staff to be optimally effective at instruction and at collaboration, and maximizing family members’ expertise and adaptation. She serves on the Scientific Council of the Organization for Autism Research, is on the board of Association for Science in Autism Treatment, is a regular contributor to the ABA Ethics Hotline, and is an advisor to the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. She is a regular reviewer for several professional journals, and is a frequent member of service committees for a variety of organizations.



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