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

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W29
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Helping Parents of Children with Autism or Developmental Delays: An Acceptance and Commitment Training Approach
Friday, May 26, 2006
10:00 AM–1:00 PM
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Daniel J. Moran, Ph.D.
DANIEL J. MORAN (MidAmerican Psychological Institute), JOHN TANNER BLACKLEDGE (University of Nevada, Reno), PATRICIA BACH (Illinois Institute of Technology)
Description: The parents of developmentally disabled children experience high levels of chronic stress (DeMyer, 1979; Holroyd, Brown, Wikler, & Simmon, 1975), and have high rates of depressive and anxiety disorders (Breslau & Davis, 1986). While most researchers understand that such concerns are largely secondary or reactive to the stress and special non-normative adaptations these children require (Konstantareas, 1990, p. 60), the fact remains that high levels of distress in these contexts both decrease quality of life and impose significant barriers to the parents successful & consistent implementation of behavioral treatment programs. It thus appears prudent for ABA consultants to also be prepared to help the parents of the referred client. This workshop will help ABA consultants be aware of signs of significant parental psychological distress, and help them make appropriate referrals. In addition, this workshop will also discuss an Acceptance and Commitment Training approach to helping these parents with their distress and challenges. Results, for example, from Using Acceptance and Commitment Training in the Support of Parents of Children Diagnosed with Autism (Blackledge & Hayes, in press) showed that general distress (as measured by the Brief Symptom Inventorys G) and depression levels (BDI-II) decreased significantly after group ACT training, and that these changes were maintained 3 months after the treatment was delivered, and that these changes were mediated by ACTs core processes. The workshop will focus on the ACT consistent assessment and the pertinent ACTraining exercises and interventions that can be helpful to distressed parents. The workshop will cover values assessment, barriers to values-based behavior and relevant mindfulness exercises. A significant portion of the workshop will focus on applying ACT interventions.
Learning Objectives: 1) Attendees will become more aware of how parental distress interferes with the successful implementation of behavioral programs. 2) Attendees will learn to recognize and functionally analyze problematic behavior on the part of the caregiver. 3) Attendees will be introduced to the ACT approach to addressing problematic experiential avoidance exhibited by distressed caregivers. 4) Attendees will understand the reasons for and usefulness of values assessment in helping parents improve their functioning when helping their children, and also to improve their own quality of life. 5) Attendees will be introduced to acceptance and defusion exercises (e.g., mindfulness exercises) applicable to the distress they and parents of their child clients experience in the process of working with developmentally disabled children and adults.
Activities: A significant portion of this workshop will focus on the application of ACT exercises and interventions. We will discuss the major areas in the ACT model for behavioral flexibility and how it relates to being a parent with a child with disabilities. The participants can choose to engage in exercises in developing their own value system, and then learn what barriers impede value-guided behaviors. The workshop will also be guided by a slide show and slide show handouts will be distributed.
Audience: This workshop is for behavior analysts who work with children with developmental disabilities or autism-spectrum disorders. This will also be worthwhile for parents of children with disabilities. The presenters plan a comfortable pace to introducing ACTraining and this workshop will be useful to anyone interested in the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy approach.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Basic



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