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.


16th Annual Autism Conference; Seattle, WA; 2022

All times listed are Pacific Standard Time (UTC -8 at the time of the convention in March).

Event Details

The terminology utilized in the presentation titles and abstracts for this conference was selected to adhere to the seventh edition of the American Psychological Association Publication Manual and to be inclusive of those who prefer person-first as well as identity-first language.

Previous Page


Invited Paper Session #12
Managing Distress During Medical/Dental Appointments is Like... Well, It’s Like Pulling Teeth!
Sunday, March 6, 2022
4:50 PM–5:40 PM
Fourth Floor; Grand Ballroom 1/2
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Julia Ferguson (Autism Partnership Foundation)
CE Instructor: Keith D. Allen, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: KEITH D. ALLEN (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)

Noncompliance with basic health care can have profound effects on long-term health and well-being for everyone, but especially for Autistics/individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Perhaps the factor most responsible for noncompliance is the fear associated with medical and dental procedures. This presentation will review both the respondent and operant conditioning features responsible for the disruptive behaviors that result and then briefly review the empirical literature to identify the most well-supported approaches for preventing and managing distress and noncompliance during medical and dental appointments with Autistics/individuals diagnosed with ASDand IDD. Promising alternative and supplemental treatments will be discussed, and then step-by-step practice recommendations will be provided for preventing, managing and resolving noncompliance.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Applied behavior analysts, behavior therapists, behavioral technicians and caregivers who are responsible for direct care or overseeing programs designed to help those with IDD access health care.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) identify both respondent and operant learning components in medical/dental noncompliance; (2) describe the core components of empirically supported treatments for medical/dental noncompliance; (3) describe the step-by-step components of a good preventive and intervention program for addressing medical/dental noncompliance and distress in individuals with developmental disabilities.
KEITH D. ALLEN (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Keith D Allen, Ph.D., BCBA-D, is the Director of Psychology and Professor in Pediatrics and Psychology at the Munroe-Meyer Institute and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He completed his training in ABA at Western Michigan University and in clinical psychology at West Virginia University. His clinical and research interests include parent training, pain and stress-related disorders in children, and management of noncompliance with medical/dental routines. He has published over 100 scientific papers and chapters on interventions to address behavioral health problems in children and adolescents and he has published a book on the science and practice of parent training. He is a Fellow of ABAI, has been awarded research grants from NIH and the US Department of Education and has been recognized as both a Distinguished Researcher and as an Outstanding Teacher of the Year at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh