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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Symposium #170
CE Offered: BACB
Training Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) to Implement Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions for Infants and Toddlers With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Sunday, May 28, 2023
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Convention Center 401/402
Area: TBA/DEV; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Kerry Hoops (Wisconsin Early Autism Project)
CE Instructor: Rebecca Thompson, Ph.D.

Our increased ability to identify and diagnose children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) at earlier ages provides us with both an opportunity and a challenge. These advances now allow us the opportunity to begin intervention much earlier in life. Our challenge, however, is to design and adapt our interventions to very young children in order to achieve optimal outcomes. The evidence supporting interventions for children with ASD has changed in the last decade, and meaningful research supports the effectiveness of Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions (NDBIs). However, one significant barrier to implementing this approach is that many behavioral practitioners lack training, knowledge, and support for implementing NDBIs. This presentation will discuss how NDBIs fit within the scope of practice for behavioral practitioners, discuss strategies for incorporating NDBIs into existing ABA treatment programs, and evaluate the effectiveness of a training program for providers working with young children with ASD (0-3 years).

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Early Intervention, NDBIs, Staff Training
Target Audience:

Intermediate - participants should have knowledge about evidence-based intervention for young children with ASD

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1) Identify the organization and staff training needs for supporting infants and toddlers with ASD. 2) Implement recommendations for integrating NDBI approaches in their own ABA practice. 3) Evaluate the effectiveness of a training program and core competencies for supporting infants and toddlers with ASD.

Survey of Board Certified Behavior Analysts’ (BCBAs’) Knowledge of Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions

KELLEY DAVENPORT (Autism Spectrum Therapies)

As the identification and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in younger children becomes increasingly common, clinicians are developing programs, implementing interventions, and supporting technicians for a population with whom they may have little experience. In order to identify current skill sets, areas of need, and to better understand the knowledge of Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions (NDBIs), a provider survey was sent to practitioners across the LEARN network. Results of the survey demonstrate the need for ongoing training and support for staff who work with the infant and toddler population (ages 0-3). We discuss the implications of these results for clinical programming and the need for future training in this area.


Strategies for Integrating Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions (NDBIs) Into Existing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Programs


As more children are being diagnosed with ASD before the age of three years old, there is a growing need to identify best practice guidelines for clinicians working with this early intervention population in clinic and community settings. Current best practices for the treatment of young children with ASD include interventions that blend behavioral and developmental and behavioral strategies, such as Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions. To better support staff who work with young children with ASD, a set of clinical and practice guidelines was developed. In this presentation, we will share recommendations based on scientific evidence and clinical expertise regarding effective practices that were developed for integrating NDBIs into existing ABA programs for young children with ASD. Key practice guidelines discussed will include assessment, data collection, intervention approaches, learning environments, training, supervision, professional development, and collaboration and coordination with family members for young children with ASD receiving ABA services.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Training Program for BCBAs Implementing Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions with Infants and Toddlers with ASD
REBECCA THOMPSON (Wisconsin Early Autism Project)
Abstract: As more children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at younger ages, and the effectiveness of Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions (NDBIs) has been demonstrated, there is a growing need for BCBAs to develop competency in implementing NBDI approaches with infants and toddlers with ASD. After identifying the need for providing additional training and resources to BCBAs within their organization, the authors developed a training program, which will be presented as part of this symposium. As a first step in evaluating the effectiveness of this training, the authors collected social validity data from the BCBAs participating in the training. Similar questions were asked before and after implementing the training protocol, to determine if the training changed BCBA’s self-report of their readiness to implement NDBIs. Additionally, a set of core clinical competencies was developed to assess the staff’s implementation of NDBIs working with young children with ASD. The authors will discuss social validity survey results, the need for further evaluation of the effectiveness of the training program, implications for modifying the training, and considerations for dissemination of the training program across a large organization.



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