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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Paper Session #56
CE Offered: BACB
Behavior Analysts’ and Mental Health Specialists’ Perspectives on Interdisciplinary Collaboration for Intensive Intervention
Saturday, May 28, 2022
11:30 AM–11:55 AM
Meeting Level 2; Room 205C
Area: EDC
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Marney Squires Pollack (Vanderbilt University)
CE Instructor: Marney Squires Pollack, M.S.
Behavior Analysts’ and Mental Health Specialists’ Perspectives on Interdisciplinary Collaboration for Intensive Intervention
Domain: Applied Research
MARNEY SQUIRES POLLACK (Vanderbilt University), Blair Lloyd (Vanderbilt University), Gabrielle Crowell (Vanderbilt University ), Matthew Santini (Vanderbilt University), Olivia Reznik (Vanderbilt University), Emily Baran (Vanderbilt University)
Abstract: Students who engage in challenging behavior often experience challenges across multiple domains (e.g., behavioral, social-emotional, mental health; Perfect et al., 2016). As a result, these students may receive support from a variety of specialists, including behavior analysts, school counselors, and other mental health specialists (Splett et al., 2017). Behavior analysts are responsible for collaborating with other professionals (i.e., code 2.10, Behavior Analyst Certification Board, 2020), but report receiving minimal training to do so (Kelly & Tincani, 2013). We conducted one-on-one semi-structured interviews with 9 behavior analysts and 15 mental health specialists who provide or oversee direct supports for students in grades K–8 with behavioral and/or social-emotional challenges and intensive intervention needs. Interview questions focused on their unique experiences and perspectives around interdisciplinary collaboration for intensive intervention. After transcribing audio-recorded interviews, we used a collaborative approach to qualitative data analysis (Saldaña, 2015) that involved deductive coding to form structural codes based on the primary research questions and inductive, open coding to identify finer-tuned categories within each structural code (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). Results of this qualitative study highlight the need to better prepare behavior analysts to collaborate with mental health specialists, both in training programs and school-based professional development.
Target Audience:

The target audience for this session includes practicing behavior analysts who oversee behavior change programs that address challenging behavior. Audience members should be competent in selecting, designing, and implementing behavior change interventions. Previous experience collaborating with professionals outside of behavior analysis is recommended, but not required.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to (1) describe how behavior analysts and mental health specialists view their respective professional roles and responsibilities when it comes to supporting students with behavioral and/or social-emotional challenges; (2) identify commonly reported barriers and facilitators to effective collaboration between behavior analysts and mental health specialists; (3) describe potential strategies for improving training on interdisciplinary collaboration, both for pre-service preparation programs and in-service professional development programs.



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