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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #108
A Constructional Approach to Parent Empowerment in the Autism Spectrum Disorders Community
Saturday, May 28, 2022
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Meeting Level 1; Room 104A
Area: CBM/AUT; Domain: Theory
Chair: Lisa Clifton-Bumpass (San Jose Zoo)
Discussant: Anna Linnehan (Endicott College)

Parents/caregivers represent an integral component of the environmental conditions that shape and maintain the behavior of their children. However, many behavioral assessments/interventions focus on presenting problems or disturbing patterns of behavior with less emphasis on familial goals such as spending quality time together or the general happiness of the child. Parents/caregivers facing multiple sources of stress including physical and mental fatigue along with potential lack of support may not possess the requirements for consistent implementation of common behavior analytic programs such as most to least prompting with fading, various differential reinforcement procedures, or extinction. The current symposium offers an alternative approach to parent involvement in programs. The first talk describes using a constructional approach (Goldiamond, 1974) to teach parents/caregivers to ultimately analyze contingencies. The second talk will provide tools for the clinician to incorporate non-linear contingency analysis and the constructional approach to practice.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Caregiver training, Constructional, Nonlinear analysis, Parent training
Don’t Blame the Parents: A Constructional Approach to the Personal Lives of Parents
AWAB ABDEL-JALIL (Great Leaps Academy / Eastern Florida Autism Center), T. V. Joe Layng (Generategy, LLC)
Abstract: Parents’ own lives, and the challenges they may face, seem to be an afterthought in most of the parent training literature. If challenges are not directly related to their children, they are not considered in parent directed programs. This dismissal of real-life situations that parents face may contribute to what is called “lack of adherence” to parent training instructions. This talk will present a new direction that clinicians may consider when working with parents of the children they serve. The approach to be proposed is constructional (Goldiamond, 1974), and utilizes a nonlinear contingency analytic lens (Layng et al., 2022) to solve problems the parents may face. Parents are taught to monitor their emotions as tacts or descriptors of events in their environment. The goal is for the parents to detect patterns and find relationships between the emotions and challenges in their lives. They are then coached on problem solving and finding solutions to those challenges. The ultimate aim is for parents to be “their own contingency analysts.” Thus, the parents would have established a self-control repertoire as referred to by Skinner (1974) and Goldiamond (1965).
How to Constructional Approachify Parent Trainings: Tips to Move Towards a Nonlinear Approach to Parent Training
LUCERO NERI-HERNANDEZ (University of North Texas)
Abstract: The market for parent training in behavior analysis shows the linear and curriculum-based approaches that behavior analysts often rely on. Often, parent training is a one-way journey, where the focus is on the parent's ability to understand and implement behavior analytic procedures; achieving parent buy-in involves convincing the parents that learning the skills will improve and help with their quality of life, regardless of the goals. The nonlinear approach takes into consideration all of the contingencies at play in the parent/family environment. A Nonlinear approach would help parents to identify personal goals indirectly affiliated with the presenting problem and thus teach them to be their own contingency analyst. During this presentation, we will discuss how to create an inclusive and mutually beneficial parent training relationship by discussing how to incorporate constructional interviews during intakes and meetings, how to identify individualized – and insurance-approved – parent training goals, and how to restructure the way in which parents collect data.



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