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 #467
CE Offered: BACB — 
Diversity submission Recent Trends in the Development of Professional Skills and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Practices for Behavior Analysts
Monday, May 30, 2022
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Meeting Level 2; Room 204A/B
Area: TBA/OBM; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Landon Cowan (Marquette University)
Discussant: Kate E. Fiske Massey (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers University)
CE Instructor: Landon Cowan, M.A.

The new Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts (Behavior Analyst Certification Board, 2020) requires all BCBAs to engage in professional skills and culturally responsive practices which maximize the effectiveness of their services while treating others with compassion, dignity, and respect; however, resources to guide the training and incorporation of these practices remains limited. This symposium will describe four studies examining practices and future directions for the training of these skills. The first presentation describes a survey which evaluated the strengths and deficits of various professional skills for BCBAs. The second presentation will review potential barriers to effective supervision skills and present data on the utility of an assessment tool to guide BCBAs in their supervision practices and professional development. The third presentation will describe a study evaluating the use of behavioral skills training to teach culturally responsive practices to graduate students. Finally, the fourth presentation will describe a study evaluating procedures to increase the inclusion of content on diversity and culturally responsive practices in behavior analysis courses. To end, the discussant will review the findings in each presentation and consider areas for future research.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): culturally responsive, diversity, professional skills, supervision
Target Audience:

The target audience for this symposium will be students, researchers, and practitioners that are interested in the study and teaching of professional skills and DEI practices. Given that this symposium will offer supervision CEs, we anticipate a large number of attendees (i.e., 100+).

Learning Objectives: At the end of this symposium, participants will be able to (1) describe the clinical and social significance of teaching professional skills and DEI practices, (2) identify at least one key professional skill and culturally responsive practice relevant to ABA service delivery, and (3) describe at least one research-based strategy for teaching professional skills and DEI practices to trainees.
Diversity submission Professional Skills for Behavior Analysts: A Survey on the Proficiency and Importance of Hard and Soft Skills
LANDON COWAN (Marquette University), Tiffany Kodak (Marquette University)
Abstract: Individuals seeking certification as Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) require training in both hard and soft skills. Trainees seeking certification complete coursework and a BCBA exam that assess mastery of hard skills. However, training and mastery of soft skills is not as concrete. BCBAs are also expected to maintain these skills throughout their career. Previous research has shown that soft skills are (a) viewed as important by clients and their families but (b) are not consistently demonstrated from those providing services. Research also suggests that BCBA trainees may not consistently receive training on these skills. The current study presents the results of a survey distributed to individuals who supervise BCBAs on the proficiency of hard and soft skills demonstrated by their supervisees. The results suggest future directions for the research and training of professional skills for current and future BCBAs.
Diversity submission 

Improving the Future of Applied Behavior Analysis With the Assessment and Training of Supervisory Skills

KIMBERLY MADAR (May Institute), Noor Younus Syed (SUNY Empire State College; Anderson Center International; Endicott College)

The rapidly increasing demand and increased number of BACB certificants in recent years results in many new BCBAs moving into the role of supervisor without the necessary skills and supports. In 2018 the BACB reported that the “most common actionable ethical violation is improper or inadequate supervision or delegation of responsibilities”. It is essential to the sustainability of ABA that we are meeting the needs of all individuals, families, trainees and practitioners. In this presentation we will discuss some of the barriers to ensuring quality supervision and attempts to address them will be reviewed. We will introduce the Supervisory Skills Assessment Tool (SSAT). The SSAT evaluates professional skills such as bidirectionality, perspective-taking and problem-solving. This allows mentors to create individualized competency criteria to ensure scaffolded support and training is provided to new BCBAs prior to independent supervision. Lessons learned from the initial stages of the pilot and next steps will be discussed.

Diversity submission An Evaluation of Behavioral Skills Training to Teach Culturally Responsive Clinical Service Provision in Behavior Analysis Graduate Students
KENYA MYLES (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Sarah A. Lechago (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Amanda King (Endeavor Behavioral Institute, LLC), Ellie Hardesty (University of Houston-Clear Lake)
Abstract: With the expanding provision of ABA services, it behooves us as a field to evaluate procedures for providing culturally and linguistically responsive services. In the first experiment we evaluated the effects of Behavioral Skills Training (BST) and two types of feedback on teaching four graduate students in a Behavior Analysis master’s program to identify five culturally significant domains from hypothetical intake materials. In the second experiment we evaluated the effects of BST, in-vivo probes, and delayed feedback on teaching the same graduate students to respond to caregiver challenges to some feature of the treatment plan. The data show that BST training and feedback are effective in teaching both skill sets. This has important clinical implications in that the training is simple, efficient, and familiar to most trainers and supervisors.
Diversity submission A Pilot Evaluation of a Supplemental Curriculum on Diversity Content in Graduate Course Syllabi
STEPHANIE ORTIZ (Caldwell University), Melissa Ashley Joseph (Caldwell University), Meghan Deshais (Rutgers University)
Abstract: Recent data indicate that there is a lack of BACB certificants from diverse backgrounds (BACB, 2020) and many practitioners do not receive training in culturally responsive service delivery (CSRD). Applied behavior analysis (ABA) graduate programs would therefore benefit from incorporating training on diversity and CSRD. In this study, a pre-post design was used to evaluate the effects of providing ABA faculty members with diversity course objectives and resources tailored to their courses on the presence of diversity and CRSD content in their course syllabi. Six faculty members, who were collectively responsible for teaching courses assigned to control and intervention groups, participated in this study. All participants were provided with a general list of resources related to diversity and CRSD in ABA. Tailored diversity course objectives and supporting resources were only provided for courses assigned to the intervention group. Results indicated that increases in diversity course objectives and resources in syllabi were only observed for courses in the intervention group. Implications for graduate training programs in ABA and future work in this area are discussed.



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