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.


First Annual Autism Conference; Boston, MA; 2007

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #6

The Critical Importance of Science-Based Treatments for Autism

Saturday, February 3, 2007
11:30 AM–12:30 PM
Grand Ballroom
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Richard M. Foxx, Ph.D.
RICHARD M. FOXX (Pennsylvania State University)
Dr. Foxx is a Professor of Psychology at Penn State Harrisburg and Clinical Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the College of Medicine of the Pennsylvania State University. He has written seven books, written over 130 scientific articles, and made 13 training films. He has given over 1700 talks and workshops. Dr. Foxx is an internationally recognized expert in treating behavioral problems. He has lectured in 11 foreign countries and 47 states. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Behavioral Interventions and is on the editorial board of five scientific journals. Dr. Foxx is a Fellow in five divisions of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, and the American Association on Mental Retardation. He was the President of the Association for Behavior Analysis and the Division of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities of the American Psychological Association. He has served as an expert witness in a number of court cases involving individuals with autism and developmental disabilities. One of his books, Toilet Training in Less Than a Day, has sold over two million copies and has been translated into seven languages and one of his training films, "Harry" (the treatment of a self-abusive man), has won numerous cinematic awards.

The education and treatment of individuals with autism often involves the application of non-scientifically-based practices. This is tragic given that a scientifically-based treatment such as Applied Behavior Analysis has been used for over 40 years in almost fifteen hundred studies to educate and treat individuals of all ages with autism. This presentation will cover a number of topics including: science, anti-science, and pseudoscience and the characteristics of fad treatments, dubious or controversial treatments, pseudoscientific practices, and politically correct treatments. A number of classic fads will be highlighted including facilitated communication. Why people are susceptible to using bogus treatments will be examined. The presentation concludes with a discussion of the factors to consider in assessing the quality of an educational program for a child with autism. These factors include alarm words and phrases, poorly trained staff, characteristics of effective programs, good teacher behaviors, and characteristics of parents whose children have success.

Target Audience: N/a
Learning Objectives: N/a



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