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 International Conference; Italy, 2001

Event Details

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Symposium #70
ABA Approaches in Autism: Convergence, Divergence, and Mythology
Friday, November 30, 2001
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Photographs Hall
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Betty J. Freeman (UCLA-NPI)
Abstract: Perhaps there is no application area in which Applied Behavior Analysis has a greater presence than in autism. Years of research and clinical application have produced a proliferation of behaviorally based intervention programs for persons with autism, including university based projects, institutes, educational, residential or day treatment entities, and clinical service agencies. Though all are under the umbrella of ABA, often originating from the same seminal efforts, divergent directions in philosophy, conceptualization, and application have often been followed between and within these various types of ABA programs. Despite these differences, it is possible to define shared foundations and commonalities across the varied approaches to autism treatment within the ABA community. Additionally, misconceptions exist regarding ABA research and practice in autism which further contributes to the culture of ABA.
ABA Approaches in Autism: Convergence
MITCHELL T. TAUBMAN (Autism Partnership)
Abstract: This presentation examines such mainstream ABA approaches and programs as discrete trial teaching, pivotal response training, natural language paradigm, picture schedules, incidental teaching, picture exchange communication systems, integrated school programs, and parent training. Overarching fundamental ABA principles that unite such approaches as well as common origins and shared history are discussed. Comparisons of these programs in regards to foundational, philosophical, empirical and methodological considerations are made, highlighting areas of correspondence and comparability. Given such convergence, discussed is the sensibility and value of measures of cooperation and collaboration within ABA, as pertinent to the facilitation of the quality, comprehensiveness, and integration of services for persons with autism.
ABA Approaches in Autism: Divergence
RONALD B. LEAF (Autism Partnership)
Abstract: The sometimes subtle and sometimes substantial disparities that may be found between some Applied Behavior Analysis approaches to treating persons with autism constitutes the core of this presentation. Divergence between schools of thought and resultant differences in strategy and application are fully explored. Underscored are dissimilarities in clinical practice, even within a specific or particular approach, such as with variant forms of discrete trial teaching. Speculation on forces which have shaped such divergence, description of the competitiveness and territorial landscapes which have often resulted, and strategies for peaceful and collegial co-existence are also offered.
ABA Approaches in Autism: Mythology
JOHN MCEACHIN (Autism Partnership)
Abstract: As with other interventional disciplines, the ABA approach to the treatment of autism is comprised not only of empirically supported and field tested theory and methodology, but also of folklore and legend-based practice. This presentation attempts to separate that which is largely substantive from that which is primarily, and often incorrectly, presumed. Examined is the lore around content and comparative procedural analysis within ABA as well as mythologies and misconceptions that surround programmatic efforts and long term outcome analyses. The contributions of such misapprehensions and myths both to the culture and practice of ABA in autism and to what unites and divides that



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