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.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #515
Experimental Analysis of Human Behavior Special Interest Group Career Award: Can We All Get Along? A Case for Blended Autism Interventions
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
103AB (CC)
Domain: Theory
Chair: Timothy D. Hackenberg (Reed College)
TRAVIS THOMPSON (University of Minnesota)
Travis Thompson received his PhD in psychology at University of Minnesota. He has conducted research, clinical practice and teaching at the University of Minnesota, Vanderbilt University's John F. Kennedy Center and the University of Kansas Medical Center. He is currently Supervising Psychologist at the Minnesota Early Autism Project in Maple Grove, MN, an Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention home-based therapy program. He has been an invited speaker in 47 states throughout the US and 14 foreign countries. He has published 230 articles and chapters and 30 books. His most recent books, Making Sense of Autism (2007), Straight Talk About Autism (2008) and Freedom from Meltdowns: Dr. Thompson's Solutions for Children with Autism are published by Paul H. Brookes. He is Fellow in ABAI and past-president of APA Division of Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse and Division of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. He received the Research Award (AAIDD), Distinguished Research Award, (ARC US), the Academy of Mental Retardation, Career Scientist Award, the Edgar Doll Award and the Ernest Hilgard Award (APA), and Society for Advancement of Behavior Analysis's "Impact of Science on Application Award." He is grandparent of a 12 year-old grandson with an autism spectrum disorder.
Abstract: Behavior analysts and Constructivist developmental psychologists continue to compete on the autism playing field. The roots of the discord can be traced to the metatheoretical writings of Piaget, Vygotsky, Errickson and Bowlby on one side, and Skinner on the other. Constructivist theory is generally inconsistent with the autism empirical literature, such as the assumed importance of learning by observation, the role of intrinsic motivation and role of maternal attachment. However, some aspects of Constructivist observations, as opposed to theoretical interpretations, provide fruit for thought. Constructivists emphasize the importance of learning in context, a notion behavior analysts have often minimized. Research on Incidental Teaching, Milieu Language learning, Pivotal Response Training and relational learning suggest we may have underestimated the importance of context in conducting our interventions. The presentation will conclude with an example of blended autism early intervention incorporating contextual elements within an overall behavior analytic autism early intervention strategy, raising the question, “Can we all get along?”



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