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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Invited Symposium #223A
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Scholarly Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Paper Competition Winners
Sunday, May 26, 2024
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 108 AB
Area: DEI; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: May Chriseline Beaubrun (Brett DiNovi & Associates)
CE Instructor: May Chriseline Beaubrun, Ph.D.

This competition is designed to encourage, promote, and reward behavior analytic scholarship on topics and issues in DEI, both in the field of behavior analysis and more broadly. Students (graduate or undergraduate) and post-graduate professionals who have completed empirical or conceptual papers relevant to DEI that are informed, at least in part, by a behavior-analytic perspective were invited to submit.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this presentation, attendees will be able to: (1) Articulate the concept of Racism from a behavioral analytic perspective (RDR); (2) Integrate recommendations provided in the presentation into their everyday practices to reduce RDRs; (3) Understand a novel application of behavior systems analysis to examine practices to recruit, retain, and support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color faculty at predominantly White institutions of higher education; (4) Identify concerns faced by these faculty, and potentially efficacious interventions to recruit, retain, and support them; (5)Explain how the “refer-test-place” model which has led school psychologists to over-identify students of color (SOC) with disabilities and place them in special education (SPED) for decades has imposed significant risks upon SOC; (6) Describe a new model for school psychologists in which applied behavior analysis (ABA) is incorporated into their practice and motivational interviewing (MI) is used in consultation to promote teacher buy-in of evidence-based interventions; (7) Explain how school psychologists who have skills in ABA combined with MI can assist in ameliorating disparities in discipline and referrals with subsequent SPED placement; (8) Describe a consultation case that illustrates how her use of ABA and MI facilitated a change in the teacher’s decision to place a SOC in SPED.    
Diversity submission Applied Behavior Systems Analysis to Recruit and Retain Black, Indigenous, and People of Color as Faculty at Predominantly White Institutions of Higher Education
MENAKA KUMARI DE ALWIS (University of Oregon)
Abstract: Most universities in the United States continue to uphold and perpetuate values that promote an uncomfortable and unwelcome environment for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) faculty (Bhambra & Nisangioglu, 2018). Behavior systems analysis (BSA), a subarea of organizational behavior management, evaluates organizations as complex systems with a focus on interlocking, interdependent parts that make up the organization and how they are connected to each other or not (Kast & Rosenweig, 1972; Brethower, 2000). Conducting a BSA allows a university to see how parts of the system interact with each other, how individuals affect the functioning of the system, and how solutions may be multifaceted and will likely involve many systems and processes (McGee, 2007). BSA can identify areas of need that will have the greatest impact on the university when supporting BIPOC faculty, so that resources and supports may be adjusted accordingly (Diener et al., 2009).
Menaka De Alwis is a leadership grant recipient through the United States Office of Special Education Programs and a doctoral candidate in Special Education at the University of Oregon, advised by Dr. Wendy Machalicek in her Applied Behavior Analysis lab. Menaka has a master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in Behavioral Disorders/Applied Behavior Analysis, under the mentorship of Dr. R. D. Greer. She has over 25 years of professional experience working with children (ages 1 to 15) and adults (up to age 59) with disabilities, and their families as a paraeducator, behavior interventionist, teacher (early childhood, inclusion, and special education), clinical director, board certified behavior analyst (public and private organizations), and educational/behavioral consultant. Menaka has spent much of her career supporting teams in public and private PK-12 schools, early intervention centers, homes, community settings, and most recently clinically supervising a behavior intervention services team within a large, urban public school district. Menaka’s research interests include increasing access to culturally responsive evidence-based practices for underserved communities, improving educator and caregiver training practices within natural contexts, and using strategies from organizational behavior management within public school systems to improve outcomes for students, staff, and families.
Diversity submission 

Understanding Racism from a Radical Behaviorism Perspective

CHANGZHI WU (University of Reno, Nevada)

Racism is the belief that differences in race and ethnicity lead to inherent superiority of a particular race, with other races posing a threat to one's own (Racism, 2023). However, racism is more than an abstract idea; it is reflected in people's differential responses when they are interacting with people from different races. As racism is a persistent global issue with negative impacts on education, mental health, and economic development (Cohen et al., 2006), it is imperative that all related sciences, including behavior analysis, contribute to the understanding of this behavioral phenomenon therefore necessary social actions can be designed to eliminate it. However, a review of the literature (Matsuda et al., 2020) on racism and prejudice in behavioral journals only identified a few studies related to topics, indicating a lack of understanding and a missing importance placed on racism from a behavior analytical perspective. Considering the urgency and difficulty to eradicate this harmful belief system and related discriminating behaviors, behavior analysts should cooperate with scientists from other disciplines. The purpose of this paper is to examine the formation and maintenance of racism from a radical behaviorism perspective, analyze factors that are identified in existing literatures that are related to discriminations based on races, and propose possible solutions that can be implemented in a social level to reduce racism. Key words: racism, radical behaviorism, factors related to racism

Changzhi Wu is currently in his fourth year of doctoral studies at the University of Reno, Nevada, where he is pursuing a degree in behavior analysis. He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Georgia Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis from Long Island University, Post. His research interests span cultural behavior, Interbehaviorism, and philosophical considerations within the field of behavior analysis.
Diversity submission School Psychologists Improving Equity for Students of Color: Is Applied Behavior Analysis the Answer?”
SARAH HAYES (Durham Public Schools), JEANNIE GOLDEN (East Carolina University)
Abstract: School systems have primarily utilized school psychologists for their expertise in psycho-educational assessment to diagnose students with disabilities. Poor student achievement and behavioral difficulties have historically been addressed by enlisting teachers to make a referral to the school psychologist who will then observe and assess the student to qualify them for extra support through special education (SPED). This “refer-test-place model” has led to the over identification of students of color (SOC) with disabilities for decades (Shinn, 1986, p. 49). Although actual disability does not occur in these populations at a higher rate, SOC are more likely than their white peers to be identified as disabled (National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2020). Furthermore, students who do not need special education do not benefit from it. They are more likely to be at risk of denied access to rigorous educational opportunities, alternative diplomas, dropout, poor grades, increased disciplinary action including suspension and alternative school placement, poor job outlook, and introduction to the criminal justice system (Bekele, 2019; NCLD, 2020)

Sarah Hayes is a licensed school psychologists in NC who recieved her graduate degree from the School Psychology MA/SSP program at East Carolina University. She is currently working as full-time school psychologist for Durham County Public Schools. Sarah is passionate about working with children in the general education public school setting who have difficult problem behavior. Her hope is to reduce the number of children erroneously diagnosed with behavioral disorders and create effective interventions for students with disabilities through the use of behavior analytic principles within a teacher-school consultation model of collaboration. Sarah received the Project CONVEY (Collaborating to Overcome Needs by improving the Voice of Exceptional Youth) grant where she participated with a cohort of multi-disciplinary school teams to build collaborative practices that meet the needs of students with disabilities.

Dr. Jeannie A. Golden is a Licensed Psychologist who received her Ph.D. in School Psychology from Florida State University in 1981. Dr. Golden has been teaching in the Psychology Department at East Carolina University for 42 years and became the first national Board Certified Behavior Analyst in North Carolina in 2000. Dr. Golden received ECU teaching awards in 2001 and 2009, the FABA Honorary Lifetime Membership Award in 1994, the NCABA Fred S. Keller Excellence in Behavior Analysis Award in 2005, the ECU Scholarship of Engagement Award in 2012, the NCABA Do Things Award for Outstanding and Sustained Contributions in 2013, the ECU Psychology Department Faculty Appreciation Award for Mentoring in 2017, the ECU Psychology Department Award for Distinguished Service in 2015 and 2023. Dr. Golden and colleagues received grants from Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust (2008-2011) and the Department of Health and Human Services (2011-2016) to provide school-based mental health services in two rural, impoverished counties in North Carolina. In March of 2018, Dr. Golden and colleagues were awarded the Creating New Economies Grant by Resourceful Communities for the Greene County Community Advancement Project. Dr. Golden and colleagues (2020) have developed a training program for staff who work with traumatized youth titled Trauma: The invisible Elephant Underlying Challenging Behavior. Dr. Golden and her mentee, Sarah Hayes (2023) have also developed a micro-credential titled De-Escalating Challenging Behavior as part of the Educator Pipeline In Rural Action for Teaching Equity Grant awarded to the Rural Education Institute at East Carolina University.



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