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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Paper Session #249
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Neurodiversity: A Behaviour Analyst’s Perspective
Sunday, May 26, 2024
11:00 AM–11:25 AM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 103 C
Area: AUT
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Michael Nicolosi (Data Driven ABA)
CE Instructor: Michael Nicolosi, M.S.
Diversity submission 

Neurodiversity: A Behaviour Analyst’s Perspective

Domain: Theory
MICHAEL NICOLOSI (Data Driven ABA), Karola Dillenburger (Queen's University Belfast)

A neurodiversity movement (NDM) has gained momentum in the 2020s, mainly driven by autistic self-advocates. The main argument of the NDM is that neurodivergent people experience discrimination that is on par with the historical discrimination of other minority groups. In this paper, we propose a behaviour analyst’s perspective on the NDM, considering available evidence. We first explore the history and emergence of the concept of neurodiversity and its neurological as well as psychological basis. We consider its potential for generating what some consider a zero-sum game, in which one group makes all the gains potentially at the expense of another group. We finish with the suggestion that a win-win situation is possible if the focus shifts proactively on advocacy for all autistic persons, including those with very high support needs who often are not able to advocate actively for themselves and who tend to benefit greatly from evidence-based behaviour analytic interventions.

Target Audience:

-BCBA and/or IBA certification -Provide or be interested in providing ABA services to people with autism, ADHD, dyslexia, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, intellectual disability, schizophrenia, or other conditions that may be considered neurodivergence -Dealing online or in the workplace with people who support the notion of autism as a normal, non-pathological variant of humanity.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe the core principles of the neurodiversity movement (NDM); (2) define the risks connected to the NDM; (3) proposing two possibile solutions to NDM supporters in case of quarrel or defame of behaviour analysts



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