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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #45
CE Offered: BACB — 
Diversity submission Social Justice, Quality of Life, and Other Essential Dimensions of Applied Behavior Analysis in 2022
Saturday, May 28, 2022
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Meeting Level 1; Room 156B
Area: CSS/EDC; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Sarah E. Pinkelman (Utah State University)
Discussant: Ilene S. Schwartz (University of Washington)
CE Instructor: Sarah E. Pinkelman, Ph.D.
Abstract: Improvement of quality of life and the well-being of humanity is inherent in the spirit of the science of applied behavior analysis. From a human rights perspective, vulnerable persons (e.g., children, persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, marginalized groups) are entitled to special protections to prevent or minimize harm and enhance quality of life. This session will (a) describe why quality of life should be the primary outcome variable of behavioral intervention, (b) explain how a focus on quality of life sets the occasion for ethical behavior analytic practice that upholds the full dignity and humanity of all persons, and (c) outline an abolitionist approach to promoting effective and equitable learning environments and improving quality of life for marginalized groups in a setting that all children experience—schools.
Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): abolitionism, equity, qualityof life, schools
Target Audience: symposium is being submitted at the "basic" level
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe the importance of focusing on quality of life as a primary outcome variable, (2) describe how a focus on quality of life promotes ethical behavior analytic practice that upholds the full dignity and humanity of all persons, and (3) identify ways that behavior analysts working in schools can promote equitable outcomes and enhance quality of life for minoritized groups through an abolitionist approach.
Diversity submission Quality of Life for People with Disabilities: Why Applied Behavior Analysts Should Consider This a Primary Dependent Variable
Ilene S. Schwartz (University of Washington), ELIZABETH KELLY (University of Washington)
Abstract: Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a natural science dedicated to using behavioral principles to address socially important problems. One area in which behavior analysts have made compelling gains in the last 50 years is in developing, evaluating, and disseminating effective interventions for people with significant intellectual and developmental disabilities. As the science of ABA has matured, many practitioners, researchers, and consumers have questioned how our field should define appropriate outcomes of behavioral interventions. We propose an improved quality of life should be the ultimate outcome for consumers receiving behavioral interventions. We explore definitions of quality of life and suggest some strategies that behavior analysts can use to more clearly center quality of life as an outcome variable.
Diversity submission Behavior Analysis and Equity in Public Education: An Abolitionist Approach
MALIKA N. PRITCHETT (University of Kansas), Sarah E. Pinkelman (Utah State University), Shahla Susan Ala'i (University of North Texas), Dylan Murphy Zimmerman (Utah State University)
Abstract: It is increasingly clear that black and brown students encounter damaging learning environments that assault the dignity and humanity every child deserves. Behavior analysts working in schools can be part of the collective endeavor to uphold the rights of students by arranging environmental conditions that nurture growth, accelerate progress, and celebrate each child’s unique and valuable contributions. Behavior analysts in schools are often called to action to address “problem behaviors” that result from problematic contingencies. If behavior analysts fail to address problematic contingencies and focus on the result of these contingencies, they become complicit in perpetuating inequities. Behavior analysts can be of best service to students that are likely to be marginalized and excluded from classroom learning opportunities, if they identify, analyze, and dismantle systems that perpetuate inequities. Integrating the spirit and praxis of abolitionism, abolitionist teaching intervenes at a systemic level to dismantle conditions that perpetuate injustices and create systems that promote freedom-dreaming, thriving, and joy (Love, 2019). From an abolitionist view, joy is a directional guide to inclusive well-being. Freedom and liberation depend on designing environments where exposure to new and loving contingencies produces broad shifts, cusps, leading to enhanced quality of life for children and the collective.



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