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.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Event Details

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Symposium #26
Theoretical Perspectives on ACT with Asperger's Syndrome and Mental Retardation Populations
Saturday, May 28, 2005
1:00 PM–2:20 PM
Stevens 4 (Lower Level)
Area: DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Catherine H. Adams (University of Mississippi)
Discussant: John J. Pokrzywinski (Arlington Development Center)
Abstract: Developmental disabilities can be difficult conditions to which to provide psychological services. Therapy with these individuals typically focuses on increasing their ability to function in society and improving their quality of life. Recent work in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy has focused on contributing to the services provided to this population. The purpose of this collection of presentations is to discuss treatment from an ACT perspective with two relevant conditions: Asperger’s Syndrome and Mental Retardation.
Asperger’s Disorder: An ACT Perspective
CHRISTOPHER MCCURRY (University of Washington)
Abstract: Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the number of young people diagnosed along the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) spectrum. As such, individuals with Asperger’s Disorder are coming to the attention of educators and clinicians. Common presenting problems include peer social difficulties, conflicts with adults stemming from a variety of issues (e.g., inflexibility), academic failure, as well as anger, depression and anxiety. This paper will suggest three areas in which Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can provide a useful model for both conceptualizing and treating the unique pattern of behaviors displayed by children and young adults diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder: function over form, precision and scope, and literality.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Asperger’s Syndrome: A Case Conceptualization
JONATHAN WEINSTEIN (University of Mississippi), Kelly G. Wilson (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: Children with Asperger’s Syndrome are widely viewed as having deficits in the areas of social functioning and communication. Experiences of repeated failure in these areas can result in the development of symptoms commonly associated with mood and anxiety disorders. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy can provide a helpful context from which to conduct the remediation of social, communication, and academic skills deficits. Two cases involving academic and social skill deficits will be presented.
Using ACT with Mentally Retarded Individuals
CATHERINE H. ADAMS (University of Mississippi), Laura Ely (University of Mississippi), Kelly G. Wilson (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: In the past, Mental Retardation has been a difficult condition to treat. Although there is no method by which to relieve the condition or its symptoms, many therapies focus on skills training, improving quality of life, and increased functioning for these individuals (AAMR, 2002). Recent efforts in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy have focused on work with this population. Some therapists have found difficulty in this work due to the abstract metaphors and concepts used in typical ACT treatment. From these difficulties has arisen creativity in making ACT applicable to this population. For example, an ACT-oriented horticultural therapy group is currently developing with a group of individuals diagnosed with Mental Retardation. The group will focus on using the act of gardening as a metaphor for the act of life living. This presentation will discuss both theoretical perspectives from an ACT viewpoint and creative alterations to typically used ACT components.



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