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

Previous Page


Symposium #139
CE Offered: BACB
A Discussion on the Acceptance and Application of Trauma Informed Interventions for Individuals With Intellectual Developmental Disabilities
Saturday, May 25, 2024
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 112 AB
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Kara Reagon (Melmark New England)
Discussant: Jennifer Ruane (Melmark)
CE Instructor: Jennifer Ruane, Ph.D.

In recent years increased attention has been placed on the application of trauma information care (TIC) practices with individuals with intellectual and developments disabilities (IDD). Although there are many benefits to a TIC approach, research in the area of behavior analysis is limited with some noting concerns about where the theory of TIC falls within a behavior analyst’s scope of practice. Within this symposium, attendees will learn how organizations can assess their clinicians’ opinions of TIC and how treatment plans can be modified to align with TIC practices. The first presentation will focus on the results of a pilot survey that collected data from behavior analysts within an HS organization. Results indicated there was an agreement that more emphasis should be placed on this area, but additional research is needed to better guide treatment practices. The second presentation will focus on a case study that used a TIC framework in the form of a multi-element treatment package to increase appropriate voids. Overall, attendees will gain knowledge on how practitioners can begin to bridge the gap between TIC and behavior analytic practice.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Interventions, TIC, Trauma Informed
Target Audience:

The material presented during this symposium would be appropriate for student of advanced ABA coursework or those pursing their certification, clinicians across applied settings, or supervisors who are responsible for the oversight of clinical programming.

Learning Objectives: 1. Learners will be able to discuss the relevance of trauma informed care to individuals with intellectual development disabilities. 2. Leaners will be able to discuss how providers can assess clinicians’ opinions of trauma informed care. 3. Learners will be able to discuss how a trauma informed care framework can be used within treatment planning.
Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) of Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: A Pilot Survey of Board Certified Behavior Analysts at a Human Services Organization
JILL HARPER (Melmark New England, Endicott College), James Luiselli (Melmark New England ), Frank L. Bird (Melmark New England), Jennifer Ruane (Melmark), Mary Jane Weiss (Endicott College)
Abstract: We conducted an online survey of board certified behavior analysts (n = 65) at a human services organization to assess their attitudes and opinions about trauma-informed care (TIC) of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and the compatibility of TIC with behavior analytic practice. Survey respondents indicated they had no to minimal college level/graduate school coursework, training, supervision, or implementation experience in TIC. Survey respondents largely agreed that TIC should be considered for persons with IDD, that TIC provides knowledge that can improve behavior analytic services, that TIC should be emphasized in training, and that TIC is within the scope of behavior analyst practice. However, there was strong agreement that TIC is not defined or practiced consistently and is not well researched by behavior analysts. Following a review of the data, we will discuss the implications of these findings and present survey informed recommendations for advancing TIC within the behavior analytic professional community.

Toilet Training With Care: Using a Trauma Informed Approach to Increase Appropriate Voids

RAKEYLA LITTLE (Melmark), Sheila Ann Ann Klick (Endicott College)

In this case study reflecting applied practice in the education setting with a day student/resident, the client presented with dangerous challenging behaviors in the repertoire: aggression, dropping, disrobing, property destruction, and elopement and a new behavior: bathroom refusal. Escape extinction was removed from the clients’ multi-element behavior support plan and a concurrent “break” functional communication response was added as well as establishing social positive reinforcement as a functional communication target. When rates of functional communication increased and challenging behaviors reduced at the end of the regular school year, the clinician focused on approach to the bathroom with the preferred activity of brushing teeth across settings. Concurrently, a portable toilet was placed in the program area to re-establish voiding in a toilet across settings. Reinstatement followed during the new regular school year as the client began to void in the toilet in the bathroom in the education setting. Staff report an overall increase in indices of happiness and quality of life.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh