Comprehensive Application of Behavior Analysis to Schooling in Italy as a Strategic Model for Service-Design Innovation
Fabiola Casarini (Errepiu R+ Association)
Fabiola Casarini, Ph.D, BCBA, founded the first Italian Fab Lab for Education and is currently serving as Scientific Director for a network of CABAS(R)-based learning and research centers. She is President of "Errepiu R+" Association for the dissemination of Applied Behavior Analysis in Italy. She is the President of the Verbal Behavior SIG for AARBA (Italy Associate Chapter of ABAI) and one of the founders of ADC Italia, the national Association for Board Certified Behavior Analysts. She taught in several ABAI VCS courses trained dozens of doctoral students and professionals in the field. She promoted initiatives to fight educational poverty in Italy and she was awarded the Sustainable Innovators Award from Emilia-Romagna Region, in 2020, because of her initiatives for children during the Covid-19 pandemic. She has been a consultant for schools and publicly funded centers, also conducting workshops to raise awareness of science-based education. In 2018 she co-authored the first Italian book about the Comprehensive Application of Behavior Analysis in Schooling, "Strategie Educative CABAS" with her mentor, R. D. Greer.
For over a decade, CABAS was implemented in Italy by several learning centers that aimed to test the effects of education as a social innovation tool. We found that this model can provide schools and health services with an evidence-based system to design interventions that are both effective and efficient. Also, it greatly contributed to maintaining treatment integrity for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder during the COVID-19 pandemic. During these challenging times of economic and health crisis across the world, consequences for failing to design early and efficient ABA treatments were being highlighted by researchers. In addition, all countries in terms of reaching the “sustainable development goals” (SDGs) for fighting educational poverty, can do so only by providing people with a disability with individualized proper interventions. CABAS was able to offer help with identifying criteria for effective behavioral interventions, with particular attention to highly critical groups, such as people with autism. Luckily, the science of teaching provides researchers all over the world with a system to measure education. A growing number of research findings show that CABAS is among the most cost-effective educational model in the world. Moreover, its implementation across all age groups and for both special and general education, suggest that it is a cross-cultural, flexible tool for different contexts. Therefore, in Italy, we implemented it as a tactic within social, health and school services, for individuals with and without disability, from 18 months to adulthood. We found that the implementation of such a comprehensive model of education fits the need for sustainability of welfare systems drastically different from those in the United States. CABAS® was first replicated in Italy in 1991 and further expended through a great deal of applied research across various fields and disciplines. International replications are paving the way for further research and trans-disciplinary analysis of its effects, using longitudinal measurements and both criterion and norm-based data.