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.

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50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Workshop Details


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Workshop #W56
CE Offered: BACB/NASP
Diversity submission Trauma: The Invisible Elephant Underlying Challenging Behavior
Friday, May 24, 2024
4:00 PM–7:00 PM
Marriott Downtown, Level 4, Meeting Room 402
Area: CBM/EDC; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Jeannie A. Golden, Ph.D.
JEANNIE A. GOLDEN (East Carolina University), DANIELLE WEBB (East Carolina University), MELISSA GLENN (East Carolina University ), PAULA Y FLANDERS (Private Provider)
Description: Behavior analysts are often charged with the responsibility of dealing with challenging behaviors and may be unaware of the impact of underlying trauma on these behaviors. These challenging behaviors are frequently not amenable to traditional functional behavioral assessments (FBAs) and positive behavioral interventions (PBIs). This may be because behavior analysts are reluctant to incorporate distal setting events, discriminative stimuli, and motivating operations into their FBAs, which is essential to the incorporation of trauma into these analyses. One of the key impacts of trauma is on challenging behaviors which often leads to disciplinary referrals, suspensions, alternative placements, and inaccurate diagnoses disproportionately for students of color. Additionally, racial trauma is a form of trauma which has devastating consequences and is often overlooked. Further, it is necessary to acknowledge the impact of verbal behavior in implementing effective interventions, as covert thoughts and feelings often are the establishing operations that motivate challenging behaviors. This workshop will familiarize participants with FBAs that incorporate trauma as well as with strategies that use verbal behavior in conducting interventions. Participants will see role-play demonstrations of these strategies and practice these strategies with feedback and correction. They will also be provided with PBIs specific to their own caseloads.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to: (1) Explain why youth who have experienced trauma are more likely to exhibit challenging behaviors; (2) Describe how to incorporate distal setting events, discriminative stimuli, and motivating operations into functional behavioral assessments of youth who have experienced trauma; (3) Describe how private thoughts and feelings often serve as establishing operations that motivate challenging behaviors; (4) Describe trauma’s impact on challenging behaviors which often leads to disciplinary referrals, suspensions, alternative placements, and inaccurate diagnoses disproportionately for students of color; (5) Explain why verbal behavior is important in implementing effective interventions for youth who have experienced trauma; (6) Describe some of the verbal behavior strategies that could be effective interventions for youth who have experienced trauma.
Activities: Activities: Participants in this workshop will receive didactic information as well as modeling, role play, feedback and practice of specific trauma-based interventions. Supplemental materials such as written scenarios, fidelity checklists, and sample FBAs and PBIs will also be provided.
Audience: Participants can include BCBAs, teachers, school administrators, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, counselors, therapists, and social workers. Participants should be familiar with terms including verbal behavior, discriminative stimuli, establishing and abolishing operations, and positive and negative reinforcement, and have experience and examples dealing with those terms.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): challenging behaviors, racial inequity, trauma, trauma-informed care

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