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.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Invited Symposium #375
CE Offered: BACB
Cambridge Center Symposium: The Accreditation of Behavioral Applications: Promoting Evidence-Based Practices
Monday, May 29, 2006
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Centennial Ballroom I
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Dwight Harshbarger (Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies)
Discussant: Dwight Harshbarger (Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies)
CE Instructor: Dwight Harshbarger, Ph.D.

Behavior analysis is engaged in a competition to determine whether services aimed at making positive changes in behavior and in the impact or results of behavior will be based on demonstrably effective methods or left to tradition, professional custom, and union or guild protection. If the arbiters of success are uninformed client choices, testimonials, and unsubstantiated claims, that competition may not be winnable. If client choices can be based on evidence of effectiveness, services grounded in applied behavior analysis have a higher probability of being chosen. In addition, evidence-based decisions may provide a method to help us sort more effective from less effective behavior-analytic methods. The Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies has recent initiatives that award accreditation to behavioral programs of service based on evidence of effectiveness. Accreditation of principles of behavior-based safety programs has now been awarded to multiple organizations. Standards and methods for accrediting applied behavior analytic clinical services have been developed and the launch of this initiative is underway. The presenters in this symposium will discuss evidence-based accreditation, including alternatives in standards and methods. Initial problems and successes with accreditation efforts will be presented and analyzed.

Standards for Accreditation.
HENRY S. PENNYPACKER (University of Florida)
Abstract: The public relies on a variety of accreditation or certification sources for information to inform their purchasing decisions. Such organizations as Good Housekeeping, Consumer Reports, and Underwriters Laboratory have earned the trust of the public over a long period by producing data that are both understandable and reliable. The Cambridge Center would like to join this select group by accrediting programs that engender desirable behavior change in identifiable populations of consumers. To succeed in this endeavor, the Center must adopt a set of standards against which candidate programs may be evaluated. I have suggested elsewhere that the standards used by the Food and Drug Administration, safe and effective, serve as temporary placeholders until more suitable ones can be crafted. We may have problems in reaching agreement on how to evaluate effectiveness. I will argue that we should adhere firmly to our traditions of direct, objective behavioral measurement and eschew such devices as testimonials, consumer satisfaction surveys, and the like. I will illustrate this strategy with a short discussion of how we have developed criteria for certifying clinical breast examiners that rely on accepted concepts of sensitivity and specificity.
Dr. Henry Pennypacker, Jr. has been a guiding force in Behavior Analysis since the 1960s. His seminal book "Strategies and Tactics in Behavioral Research" with Johnston has been used as an essential textbook and reference by many in the field. His most recent book with Gutierrez and Lindley titled "Handbook of the standard celeration chart" was recently published by the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. His six books along with 21 book chapters and over 60 scholarly publications has established Dr. Pennypacker as one of ABA's most prolific authors. He was president of ABA from 1986-1987. Since the 1970's Dr. Pennypacker devoted his considerable talents toward applying ABA to the early detection of breast cancer. His work in this area has earned him patents in the US, Germany, Britain, and Canada as well as a grant from the National Cancer Institute. He is currently a Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida, President of Precision Teaching of Florida, Inc., and CEO of Mammatech Corporation.
Accrediting Principles of Behavior-Based Safety Programs.
BILL L. HOPKINS (Auburn University, Emeritus)
Abstract: CCBS began accrediting safety initiatives built on the principles of behavior in 2004 to recognize and publicize exemplary programs. The need for this accreditation will be argued. The primary standard for accreditation of a safety program is evidence of effectiveness. Accreditation also requires strong arguments that the chosen safety data are important to conditions at the site, evidence that the safety data are accurate, methods that are based on the principles of behavior, and a written description of the program that is sufficiently detailed to allow for replications. Reasons for advancing the nomenclature “principles-of-behavior-based” rather than “behavior-based” or “applied-behavior-analysis-based” will be explained. The accreditation methods will be presented and explained. To date four programs have been accredited. Common and unique characteristics that go beyond the standard behavior-based safety program and primary data of accredited programs will be presented. Arguments will be advanced that applied behavior analysis can succeed as a widely used source of services only if it promotes evidence of effectiveness as the primary means of deciding program value.
Dr. Bill L. Hopkins is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology of Auburn University. He has done applied behavior analytic research with developmentally disabled children, with chronically mentally ill adults, with normal school children, and, since nineteen-seventy, with adults in work organizations . He has published many research and technical papers as well as papers on research methodology and four edited books about behavioral applications to education. Hopkins has served on the editorial boards of JABA, JOBM, and TBA. He has also sat as a member of study sections for several government agencies reviewing proposals for research and training and chaired the study section of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. He was the Director of the John T. Stewart Children’s Center at the University of Kansas and Head of the Department of Psychology at Auburn University. He chaired the ABA committee that drafted standards and guidelines for the certification of graduate programs of instruction in behavior analysis. He chaired the Cambridge Center committee that drafted standards and guidelines for the accreditation of principles-of-behavior-based safety programs and has chaired the review and site-visit teams for all of the successfully accredited programs.
Accreditation of Organizations Providing Applied Behavior Analysis Services.
MICHAEL WEINBERG (Southbury Training School)
Abstract: The purpose of the CCBS Behavior Analysis clinical services accreditation is to establish a set of standards for programs and services that utilize Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) as a core or essential treatment approach. The standards and accreditation process are intended to provide a higher quality of service, and assurances to consumers of the services, and the public, that sound intervention methods are being used. Given the many significant developments in the field over the past two decades, and the questionable methods used in the name of applied behavior analysis, there has been confusion among the public and purchasers of these services. These events have also led to varying degrees of harm to service recipients which will be briefly reviewed. These concerns were among the reasons for creating a certification process (BACB). The BACB devised a means of identifying those using sound practices in the field, and has also promoted the notion that ABA is also a treatment approach. We believe that the time has arrived for the accreditation organizations that provide ABA services. The reasons and implications for the field and society will be further discussed during the presentation.
Dr. Michael Weinberg is the director of psychological services at Southbury Training School in Connecticut, and is the owner and CEO of Orlando Behavior Health in Florida. He received his Ph.D. in 1985 in the experimental analysis of behavior program at Temple University in Philadelphia, and was previously at the E.K. Shriver Center and Northeastern University where he received his B.A. in psychology in 1977, with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis. Dr. Weinberg is a licensed psychologist in three states, and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with 30 years of experience in the field, providing treatment to children and adults with developmental disabilities, autism, and various behavioral and learning disorders. Dr. Weinberg has been on the part-time faculty of Temple University, Psychology Department, and also adjunct at Rutgers University, where he taught courses in basic principles of behavior. Since becoming a charter certificant with the BACB, he has been teaching pre-approved courses for certification in Florida for the past five years, and is ACE coordinator for his company which is a BACB approved Type 2 CE provider. Dr. Weinberg is also the editor of the Behavior Analyst Today, an online journal which publishes articles in the philosophical, experimental and applied aspects of behavior analysis. Dr. Weinberg has also published articles and book chapters in behavior analysis, has developed a behavioral approach to treating reactive attachment disorder, and conducts workshops and seminars on OBM. He has been collaborating with the Cambridge Center since early 2005 to develop accreditation standards and review processes for programs and agencies providing ABA services. Dr. Weinberg is also a Trustee of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.



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