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.


Second Annual Autism Conference; Atlanta, GA; 2008

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #12
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Comprehensive ABA Programming: Matching Learner Needs with Instructional Strategies

Sunday, February 10, 2008
9:30 AM–10:30 AM
Regency Ballroom
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Mary Jane Weiss, Ph.D.
MARY JANE WEISS (Rutgers University)
Mary Jane Weiss received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Rutgers University in 1990. She became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2000. She is an Associate Research Professor at Rutgers University, and she is the Director of Research and Training at the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center at Rutgers University. Her clinical and research interests center on defining best practice ABA techniques, on identifying the specific utilities of various instructional methodologies within ABA, on evaluating the impact of ABA in learners with autism, and in maximizing family members’ expertise and adaptation. She has written numerous articles and three books on autism, Right from the start: Behavioral Intervention for young children with autism (co-authored with Sandra Harris, 2nd edition 2007), Reaching out, joining in: Teaching social skills to young children with autism (co-authored with Sandra Harris, 2001), and Sibling stories: Reflections on life with a brother or sister on the autism spectrum (co-authored with Lynne Stern Feiges, 2004). She is also a regular presenter at regional, national, and international conferences on topics relevant to ABA and autism. She is currently the President of the Autism Special Interest Group of the Association for Behavior Analysis.

In recent years, there has been a proliferation of instructional techniques for teaching students with autism. Even within ABA, there are many different instructional approaches which can be used effectively to teach skills to students. Educators and parents can be confused with the array of options, and can have difficulty deciding on which approach to use in a given educational context. This presentation will summarize different ABA approaches for teaching skills, and will highlight the potential relevance and utility of each approach. Specifically, well-documented methods which will be covered include discrete trial instruction, incidental teaching, and other naturalistic strategies. In addition, some promising directions which have become clinically prevalent in recent years will also be discussed, including the use of the Verbal Behavior classification system and rate-building to achieve fluency. The presentation will highlight the unique applications and specific advantages of each approach. It will also summarize how the use of multiple methods of instruction results in a more comprehensive program, thereby meeting the needs of learners in more complete and efficient ways.

Target Audience:

Licensed Psychologists and/or Certified Behavior Analysts

Learning Objectives: N/a



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