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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Panel #112
Ethical Considerations of Short-Term Training and Revolving Door Volunteers
Sunday, May 29, 2016
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Columbus Hall EF, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: AUT/TPC; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Molly Ola Pinney (Global Autism Project)
JULIA EJIOGU (Autism Care and Support Initiative)
POOJA PANESAR (Kaizora Consultants)
SARA COSTELLO (Global Autism Project)

International centers for autism and applied behavior analysis service delivery have long been sites for volunteers and clinicians looking for a short-term volunteer opportunity. This training has been shown to hinder growth of ABA centers, as conflicting methodologies and training protocols are often implemented. There is large procedural drift from training when short term trainers enter a city, center, or school. Additionally, gifts of materials and toys can develop paternalism, take away from the local economy, and dismiss cultural relevance. Revolving door volunteers are unable to offer their expertise in a way that is meaningful to their center. Experience has shown that short-term volunteer opportunities are reinforcing for the volunteer, yet detract from training received in international programs. Experts in the field who work directly with children can draw away from the training previously in place at the center or school. In order to increase cultural humility and gains in program development and implementation, sustainable practices must be implemented. The Global Autism Project has implemented a protocol for sustainable training methodologies, with short-term intensive training on the ground, as well as follow-up training throughout the year. This follow up is what differentiates sustainable training from short-term "voluntourism."

Keyword(s): international development, short-term volunteer, sustainable practices, volunteer abroad



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