Behavior analytic techniques have proven to be effective in skill acquisition and behavior reduction, with a variety of behaviors, disorders, and age ranges. However, there has been little empirical support highlighting its effectiveness in working with people from different cultural backgrounds. Although there is little doubt that behavioral techniques would be effective in working with any population, it is important for behavior analysts to be aware of the cultural differences related to the assessment and treatment of the Hispanic population living along the Mexican-American Border. Social, cultural, and ethical issues will be addressed as they relate to the growing need for behavior analysts to work with the Hispanic population and provide much needed services to children, adolescents, and adults in this area. Further, the presentation will include a description of issues that were reported by family members to be of primary concern and avenues through which behavior analysts can address these issues. Last, recommendations for behavior analysts to effectively navigate around these social, cultural, and ethical issues will be discussed to begin to provide more effective services to this population.
The current study examines the contingencies of reinforcement for Mexican parents of children with autism who are currently pursuing behavioral interventions. Behavior analytic research has predominantly explored the effectiveness of services and treatment for children with autism within the United States. However, there is a severe lack of research on the availability of treatment options for children with autism in Mexico. Specifically, little is known about the availability and contingencies of reinforcement of behavior analytic services, which have been shown to have the strongest evidence base for treating autism. To address this issue, we collected data on the problematic behaviors of children with autism in Mexico, as well as the treatments sought to address these challenging behaviors. Five parents of children with autism participated in qualitative interviews in which they revealed the treatment options they have sought, and their maintaining and punishing contingencies. A contingency analysis suggest that a variety of options are available for these children, but their parents are left to sort through a maze of both research-validated treatments and superstitions.