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.


49th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2023

Event Details

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Panel #124
CE Offered: BACB
Understanding Non-Compliance Through a Self-Advocacy Lens
Sunday, May 28, 2023
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 4A/B
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Cody Morris, Ph.D.
Chair: Cody Morris (Salve Regina University )
AMY GRAVINO (Rutgers Center for Adult Autism Services/A.S.C.O.T Consulting)
ALEX KISHBAUGH (Melmark New England)
HALEY STEINHAUSER (Melmark New England; Regis College)
Abstract: Recent criticism has been directed toward Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA. Of these, there has been criticism that ABA based services overly emphasize the compliance of autistic learners. Receiving such criticism can be difficult; however, we can improve our research and clinical practices by genuinely listening to concerns, considering how they apply to our work, and adjusting our perspectives and practices. This criticism, in particular, has led behavior analysts and others to reconsider “non-compliance”, rethinking it as a target for deceleration and considering it as an essential skill related to self-advocacy (Kishbaugh et al., 2022). Goals to decrease non-compliance can have unintended effects, such as an individual being overly willing to follow any instruction. To account for this, we must teach our learners important self-advocacy skills, such as communicating “no”, negotiation, and problem-solving. Similarly, this area lends to a discussion of assent in research, reframing non-compliance as a potential sign of withdrawing assent, and arranging educational and clinical contexts that learners opt into (Morris et al., 2021; Rajaraman et al., 2022). This panel will involve a discussion of how we can reframe non-compliance, embed teaching and promoting self-advocacy skills, and integrate assent into our clinical and research practices.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience: Audience members who are practicing behavior analysts or applied researchers with experience developing behavior and/or skill objectives for autistic learners will benefit most from the content of this panel discussion.
Learning Objectives: (1) Describe how "non-compliance" can be understood through a self-advocacy lens. (2) Identify ways self-advocacy skills can be taught and promoted for autistic learners. (3) Outline methods for incorporating assent considerations into educational, clinical, and research practices.
Keyword(s): assent, non-compliance, self-advocacy



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Modifed by Eddie Soh