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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #443
CE Offered: BACB
Current Issues in Graduate Training in Behavior Analysis
Monday, May 25, 2009
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
North 129 B
Area: TBA/AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Jonathan J. Tarbox (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.)
CE Instructor: Kyong-Mee Chung, Ph.D.
Abstract: The field of behavior analysis is expanding at a rapid pace, as is evidenced by the growing membership of the Association for Behavior Analysis International and the growing number of Board Certified Behavior Analysts. This is encouraging for the health and vitality of the field but important issues related to the professional quality and scientific foundation of the field, as well as to the availability of qualified experts to meet clinical demand, remain. This symposium consists of four papers discussing various issues related to graduate training in behavior analysis, the manner in which it is currently being conducted, the outlook in terms of supply and demand for individuals with graduate degrees in behavior analysis, and the implications for the quality of the field.
The Graduate Training Crisis in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis
JONATHAN J. TARBOX (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.)
Abstract: A crisis is currently raging in autism and applied behavior analysis: There simply are not enough masters and PhD-level expert clinicians to meet the clinical demand. Gone are the days when behavior analysts had to beg for funding to work with children with autism. Many top quality agencies now have scores or even hundreds of families languishing on their waitlists, with funding in hand, but for whom there is no one available to supervise their children’s services. This situation is so commonplace that many in the field of applied behavior analysis have come to accept it as a given – but deprivation from effective treatment is anything but a given to the families who desperately need it. Unfortunately, the outlook is bleak. The rate at which new graduate training programs are developing is not sufficient and no solution appears to be on the horizon. This paper will discuss the nature of the problem and some potential steps toward a solution. The case will be made that a significant change in the way in which the problem is currently conceptualized will be necessary if any significant progress is to be made.
Current Issues Associated with Graduate Training in Applied Behavior Analysis
ELLIE KAZEMI (California State University, Northridge)
Abstract: Successful graduate training in Applied Behavior Analysis involves teaching the use of concepts and principles of ABA within the framework of scientific methodology and design. The gap between science and practice has been evident in the field of clinical psychology with a distinction made between professionals who develop, conduct, and publish research (i.e., PhDs) versus professionals who consume and interpret research findings for practice (i.e., PsyDs). Applied Behavior Analysts, however, are scientists in practice, requiring graduate training that fuses these seemingly disparate fields. At CSUN, we find the majority of candidates who currently seek post-MA coursework in behavior analysis either enter our program with previous strengths in scientific methodology and design or in clinical practice. The diverse background of candidates enriches classroom discussion but also serves as a challenge. Furthermore, supervised fieldwork experience is typically conducted at local behavioral agencies or schools limiting overall quality control. I will discuss some of these challenges, how CSUN proposes to deal with some of these challenges, the role of BACB, and changes needed to implement the “Gold Standard Strategy” discussed by Shook, Rosales and Glenn (2002).
Challenges and Opportunities for Graduate Training in ABA in Ireland
KRISTEN A. MAGLIERI (Trinity College Dublin), Rita Honan (Trinity College Dublin), Maeve Bracken (Trinity College Dublin), Claire E. McDowell (University of Ulster), Sinead Smyth (University of Ulster, Coleraine)
Abstract: Behavior Analysis has a long and influential history in Ireland and Northern Ireland, but interest in the application of behavior analysis in education and healthcare has grown considerably in recent years. To meet this growing need, graduate training programs in Applied Behavior Analysis have developed across the island. Training is now available at all levels, from board certified associate behavior analyst to doctoral behavior analyst. This presentation will discuss the benefits and challenges of providing graduate education in ABA as Ireland actively considers how best to implement psychological and special needs services at a national level. Trinity College Dublin developed the first board certified training program at the associate level in Ireland and the course has responded to a variety of challenges during this time. This presentation will review the responses to these challenges and the lessons learned. We will also present perspectives on developing support for ABA services in Ireland and Northern Ireland in general.
Is Graduate Training in Applied Behavior Analysis Possible for Individuals Who Work Full-time?
RACHEL S. F. TARBOX (Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Los Ang), Michele Nealon-Woods (The Chicago School of Psychology, Los Angeles)
Abstract: As the field of behavior analysis continues to grow, the need to provide high quality graduate training has increased. Funding agencies are increasingly requiring that professionals are Board Certified Behavior Analysts, and in some cases, that individuals also hold a doctoral degree. There are a number of well-established graduate training programs in behavior analysis; however, programs are not typically designed to meet the needs of a full-time working professional. There are several reasons why an individual may chose to attend graduate school while maintaining a professional career including; financial constraints, a desire to work in the field while engaging in the learning process, advanced degree requirements at their current place of employment, and more. Although there are some potential drawbacks to attending graduate school under these conditions, there are several potential benefits such as the type of learning environment that is created in the classroom when the students bring their applied experience to the table. The purpose of this talk is to describe a model of graduate training that has been designed to meet the needs of these individuals. Three programs will be described; certificate program for meeting the course requirements for the Behavior Analysis Certification Board, a terminal Masters degree, and a Doctoral degree.



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