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

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W27
CE Offered: BACB
Creating Fun, Effective Sessions With Improvisational Comedy for Clients and Therapists
Friday, May 26, 2023
8:00 AM–11:00 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 4A/B
Area: AUT/CSS; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Haven Niland, M.S.
EDDIE BRANDON AMEZQUITA (John Deere), Haven Niland (University of North Texas)
Description: Researchers know a lot about illness, but not a lot about wellness (Slade, 2010). Pathological approaches toward problem behavior and poisoned interactions between therapists and clients can cause serious roadblocks to learning acquisition. This workshop is designed to teach attendees how to incorporate comedy, fun, and creativity in their interventions and interactions with their clients in a constructional way (Amezquita, 2021). The instructor has over 9 years of Autism intervention as a therapist, studied humor at the graduate level for 5 years, and 12 years as a professional comedian. The content is built on synthesizing the theory of generativity, contingency adduction, professional improv comedy, and analyzing emotional behavior (Amezquita, 2021; Epstein, 1999; Johnson & Street, 2018; Besser et al., 2013; Layng, 2017).
Learning Objectives: 1. Define and perform the act of "Yes, And" (a critical technique for improvisation and creativity) 2. Create a scene with "Yes, And". 3. How to adapt to client behaviors using "yes, and" in an example scene. 4. Describe the differences and similarities between "fun" and "reinforcing". 5. Design one fun and enriching session for both therapist and client with examples. 6. Explain the importance of comedy, fun, and creativity in learning acquisition and stressful situations.
Activities: This workshop starts with a warm-up improv exercise followed by 3-4 lecture/activity/discussion blocks. Each short presentation has an activity that practices the concepts taught with feedback from the instructor and attendees. The workshop will end with improv games designed to practice all objectives learned.
Audience: This workshop is designed for therapists, BCBAs, teachers, professors, employers, and parents who want to create stronger, dynamic relationships of rich reinforcement with their clients (people with Autism, neurodivergent populations, employees, or students).
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): creativity, improvisation, play, social skills



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