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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #453
CE Offered: BACB — 
Evidence-Based Practice for ABA Practitioners: Strategies, Ethical Obligations, and Challenges
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Columbus Hall AB, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: PRA/AUT; Domain: Translational
Chair: Wayne Fuqua (Western Michigan University)
Discussant: Susan Wilczynski (Ball State University)
CE Instructor: Wayne Wayne Fuqua, Ph.D.

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a multi-component process in which practitioners select, refine and deliver clinical services based on a) the best available scientific evidence, b) unique client and contextual features and c) ongoing clinical progress monitoring and decision making. Developed initially in medicine, EBP has been extended to the delivery of applied behavior analysis (ABA) services and is considered an essential feature of ethical and high quality (ABA) service delivery. This symposium reviews the defining features of EBP as applied to ABA service delivery and provides a synopsis of the challenges encountered in implementing the EBP process in ABA. This symposium will offer practical advice for ABA practitioners and supervisors who are interested in improving the quality and accountability of ABA and clinical behavior analysis service delivery. Additionally, it will offer guidance for instructors and researchers who are interested in the dissemination of ABA technology and quality assurance.

What is the “Best Available Evidence” to Guide Clinical Practice?
TIMOTHY A. SLOCUM (Utah State University)
Abstract: The concept “best available evidence” is one of three pillars of evidence-based practice. A nuanced understanding of this concept is necessary for evidence-based practice to be compatible with the conceptual and ethical tenets of Applied Behavior Analysis and clinical effectiveness. This paper outlines a multifaceted understanding of “best available evidence” and demonstrates its clinical utility.

Is Standardization of ABA Eroding Our Scientific Foundations?

KIMBERLY A. SCHRECK (Penn State Harrisburg), Jonathan W. Ivy (Mercyhurst University)

As Applied Behavior Analysis principles and procedures have been shown to be effective, many ABA practices have become standardized with non-individualized procedures. The idiosyncratic practices of some of these standardized programs' have eroded their ABA scientific foundations. These practices often ignore the research supported principles and application procedures of ABA creating possible ethical violations. This symposium will present examples of ABA practices which have possibly eroded and compromised the efficacy of ABA. We will also discuss the possible ethical implications of these trends.


Sometimes It Works, But Is It Worth It?

PETER STURMEY (The Graduate Center and Queens College, City University of New York)

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) has typically evaluated its outcomes using reliable and valid observational data of increases in adaptive behavior, decreases in maladaptive behavior, generalization, maintenance and social validity and more recently systematic reviews and meta-analysis. Despite the evidence for effectiveness, wide spread adoption, beyond adoption of simple contingency management has been scarce. Once important and neglected aspect of evidence-based practice is economic evaluation. This paper highlights opportunities for promoting ABA by demonstrating economic benefit of ABA.


Detecting and Troubleshooting Treatment Failures: Guidelines for ABA Practitioners

WAYNE FUQUA (Western Michigan University)

Sometimes the best-intentioned practitioners implement ABA interventions that fail to produce behavior change of sufficient magnitude, generality and durability to resolve the presenting problem. This presentation will review the ethical obligation to incorporate clinical benchmarks and clinical progress monitoring in a manner that allows for early detection of treatment failures and shortcomings. It also reviews seven practical strategies for troubleshooting treatment failures.




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