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.

Consent, Disability, and Applied Behavior Analysis: What We Can Learn from Fries, Tea, and Pizza

Barbara Gross (Missouri Behavior Consulting; Sex Ed Continuing Ed)

Invited Tutorial



Biography:Barbara Gross, MA, MEd, BCBA, LBA, CSE, (she/her/hers), is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator. She specializes in staff and caregiver training and development of sexual behavior intervention plans for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD). She also works to coordinate with special educators and sexuality educators to promote equity in access to comprehensive sexuality education for youth with disabilities. Other areas of practice and research interests include pornography literacy, abuse prevention for children and adults with disabilities, and dissemination of behavior analysis and the potential it offers to promote healthy sexuality for people of all abilities. Barb is the current president of the Sexual Behavior Research and Practice Special Interest Group (SBRPSIG) of ABAI.



The word "consent" may mean different things, depending on context and audience. Conceptualizations of sexual consent are often delivered in metaphor or acronym by sexuality educators and abuse prevention specialists. It is possible to use these frameworks to explain other consent-based behaviors. Additionally, it is our responsibility to think critically about how some of our practices may violate consent/assent without due care. This conversation will explore consensual behavior as a consideration when supporting clients, as well as our role in teaching others how to engage in consent behaviors.


Modifed by Eddie Soh