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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Invited Tutorial #455
Best Practices in Treating Repetitive Behavior: From Stereotypy to Social Skills
Monday, May 27, 2019
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Hyatt Regency East, Ballroom Level, Grand Ballroom EF
Area: PRA; Domain: Service Delivery
PSY/BACB/NASP CE Offered. CE Instructor: William Ahearn, Ph.D.
Chair: Cynthia M. Anderson (May Institute)
Presenting Authors: : WILLIAM AHEARN (New England Center for Children)

This tutorial will describe the best practices for treating automatically-reinforced repetitive behavior. Intensive behavior analytic intervention for children diagnosed with autism can produce large gains in social, cognitive, and language development. One critical area to address is repetitive behavior such as stereotypy. Some applied research on evaluating and treating stereotypic behavior will be reviewed with a focus on effective interventions for building core adaptive living and social skills, in addition to procedures for treating stereotypic behavior directly. Treatment strategies discussed will include Response Interruption and Redirection (RIRD; noted by The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder as one of 34 “best practice focused interventions”). A variety of redirection strategies that are contextually relevant in situations in which stereotypic behavior is interfering will be discussed. Additionally, verbal operant training and training social behavior in situations where stereotypy is problematic will be reviewed.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

ABA practitioners.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe the function of stereotypic behavior; (2) describe a variety of Response Interruption and Redirection (RIRD) procedures; (3) describe when RIRD procedures are NOT necessary; (4) describe procedures for supporting contextually appropriate behavior in situations in which stereotypy is problematic.
WILLIAM AHEARN (New England Center for Children)

William H. Ahearn, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA joined The New England Center for Children in August 1996, and serves as the Director of Research. He is also Adjunct Faculty in Western New England University's masters and doctoral programs and the UMass Medical School Department of Psychiatry. Bill was named the 2009 American Psychological Association - Division 25 awardee for Enduring Contributions to Applied Behavioral Research. His work has been published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Behavioral Interventions, Behavior Modification, The Lancet, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders and has written book chapters on teaching children with autism, pediatric feeding problems in children with autism, and the certification and licensure of behavior analysts. Bill is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Behavioral Interventions and serves on several Editorial Boards. He has also been a federally-funded researcher in collaboration with Bill Dube, Bill McIlvane, Tony Nevin, and others. Bill is a past-President of APBA and BABAT and serves as the chair of the board that licenses behavior analysts in MA being appointed by both a Democratic and Republican Governor.




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