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.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Panel #469
CE Offered: BACB
Life, Liberty, and Behavior Analysis
Monday, May 27, 2024
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 103 B
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Julia Ferguson, M.S.
Chair: Julia Ferguson (Autism Partnership Foundation)
JUSTIN B. LEAF (Autism Partnership Foundation; Endicott College)
JOSEPH H. CIHON (Autism Partnership Foundation)

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that the science of human behavior is powerful and that many methodologies stemming from this science have made extensive improvements in almost every area that they have been applied. Freedom, dignity, and the pursuit of a good life have been long-standing topics of conversation in behavior analysis. While it is true that our science has made tremendous growth since its inception, its application to socially significant problems has been far from perfect and is not beyond reproach. The purpose of this panel is to have a constructive, yet critical, discussion of behavior analysis’ promise and potential. Topics will include, but are not limited to, non-coerced choice making, assent, quality of life, human rights, social validity versus invalidity, quality therapeutic environments, and the balance that often needs to be struck between these topics while also providing effective behavioral intervention to the populations we serve.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

The target audience for this panel are those practitioners (e.g., BCBAs, BCaBAs) in our field that find themselves struggling with some of the concerns leveled against our science and practice. It would be beneficial, but not necessary, for audience members to be familiar with some seminal works in this area (e.g., Bannerman et al., 1990; Fawcett, 1991; Holland, 1978).

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) identify and describe at least three important considerations related to programming for non-coerced choice making and maintaining assent; (2) identify and describe at least three variables that should be present within quality therapeutic environments; and (3) identify and describe at least three considerations related to balancing personal liberties and providing effective behavioral intervention.
Keyword(s): assent, choice, progressive, social validity



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Modifed by Eddie Soh