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

Program by : Monday, May 27, 2019


Symposium #420A
CE Offered: BACB — 
Diversity submission Valuing Diversity and Equity in Behavior Analysis: Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Monday, May 27, 2019
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Fairmont, B2, Imperial Ballroom
Area: CSS; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: So Ra Kang (University of Souther California)
Discussant: Evelyn Rachael Gould (McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School; FirstSteps for Kids, Inc.)
CE Instructor: Evelyn Rachael Gould, Ph.D.

Addressing issues of diversity and equity is an ongoing process that requires intentional goal-setting, committed action, and ongoing evaluation. As a field, we have embraced diversity as a value, however greater individual awareness and training are needed to increase engagement in values-directed behaviors by individuals. The aim of this symposium is to discuss key data and research related to increasing diversity and equity in Applied Behavior Analysis; specifically issues related to race, gender, socioeconomic background, and sexual orientation will be discussed. The symposium will open with a detailed discussion of cultural competency with respect to transgender individuals, followed by a paper examining an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) approach to increasing awareness of privilege and committed action with respect to increasing cultural competency as an ABA practitioner. Following a review of relevant data and research, each paper will discuss key ethical and practical concerns related to the topic, and make recommendations regarding specific actions that might benefit consumers and create a more inclusive and empowering environment for ABA staff, students, and practitioners.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): ACT, cultural competence, diversity, values
Target Audience:

BCBAs, BCaBAs, Graduate students, Psychologists, Researchers, Academics

Learning Objectives: 1) Identify ethical and practical issues of diversity and equity within ABA 2) Explain how issues of diversity and equity can be understood from a behavior analytic perspective 3) Identify ways applied behavior analysts can create contexts that promote diversity and equity
Diversity submission 

My Pronouns Are She/Her: Transgender Cultural Competence

KRISTEN LANCASTER (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

This discussion paper will define and differentiate gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation specific to the transgender and gender-nonconforming community. Relevant research and data will be presented to highlight the unique needs of transgender individuals and the common barriers that impact their access to healthcare and behavioral health services. Tying in the BACB ethics code, specific action steps will be outlined to promote cultural sensitivity and competence, with a highlight on navigating pronouns.

Diversity submission Cultural Competence Needs ACTion
DENISHA GINGLES (Signature Behavior Analytic Services)
Abstract: Despite policy statements from our leading organizations declaring the importance of diversity, inclusion and cultural competence, a lack of training standards and practice guidelines means clinicians are unprepared to take effective steps to actually achieve a more diverse and equitable field. This paper will review publicly declared values of diversity and equity, and provide recommendations for how practitioners and researchers can uphold and advance our mission of helping others and creating a better world. The paper will explore how an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) approach might foster cultural competency and committed action in behavior analysts. Audience members will be encouraged to clarify personal values around diversity and equity, identify potentially problematic rules and rule deriving related to privilege and bias, and engage in specific behaviors that might move us towards a more diverse and equitable field.
Symposium #438
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Why You Are Still Biased, Prejudiced, and Culturally Incompetent: Behavioral Conceptualizations to Possible Solutions
Monday, May 27, 2019
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
Swissôtel, Lucerne Ballroom Level, Lucerne 1/2
Area: PCH/EDC; Domain: Translational
Chair: Robyn M. Catagnus (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Discussant: Susan Wilczynski (Ball State University)
CE Instructor: Susan Wilczynski, Ed.D.

Every attendee at this conference, including you, is impacted by social and clinical effects of bias, racism, and cultural incompetency; it’s critical to further conceptual and theoretical study of, and practical approaches to, mitigating those effects. This is a local, global, and personal problem. Personal because of our direct experiences of discrimination. Personal, too, because you suffer bias’s negative effects as a clinician, related to client outcomes and career burnout. Locally, communities and schools continue to experience the devastating effects of bigotry and racism. Globally, we are disseminating our science and practice into new cultures but creating extraordinary ethical risk when we replicate ‘what has worked’ without culturally adapting and researching carefully. You are not immune from these concerns if you don’t work internationally. In a global world, diversity is so much more than visible differences, and your assessments, interventions, and interactions require nuanced and practiced cultural competencies: in higher education, in clinical practice, in training and supervision. Behavior science can help ameliorate these clinical and social effects in career, education, community, and international settings. We will share some of what we’ve found to work. Join us as we continue the fight to mitigate bias and increase multi-cultural competencies.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Bias mitigation, Burnout, Cultural competency, Diversity
Target Audience:

This topic of diversity, bias, burnout, and multicultural competency applies to every person living, working, and learning in the field of ABA. The topic is growing in importance, and everyone from students through seasoned doctoral level experts will benefit from exploring how all of us are affected by implicit cognition - and to learn how to culturally adapt our effective behavior analytic practices to cross-cultural, non-Western, and diverse populations of clients and students.

Learning Objectives: Explain racism and prejudice from the perspective of radical behaviorism. Describe two ways RFT and ACT can be utilized to ameliorate the effects of racism, prejudice and discrimination in school settings. Define a behavioral conceptualization of implicit cognition. Specify how to assess bias with a behavior analytic, computer based tool. Discuss two methods to intervene on patterns of behavior related to the construct of burnout. Utilize culturally adapted behavior analytic procedures to enhance outcomes of cross-cultural interventions. List three key methods for teaching multicultural competencies to graduate students while simultaneously accommodating students from different cultural backgrounds.
Diversity submission A Brief Behavior-Analytic Conceptual and Applied Review of Racism, Prejudice, and Discrimination
KOZUE MATSUDA (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Children Center Inc), Yors A. Garcia (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Robyn M. Catagnus (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Julie A. Ackerlund Brandt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology )
Abstract: Despite ongoing efforts to eradicate racism, it persists globally, affecting education, health, and employment. The science of behavior analysis aids in understanding human behavior but requires constant evaluation to improve its methods. Recent research on relational frame theory (RFT) and acceptance and commitment theory (ACT), both based on contextual behavioral science (CBS), has helped this evolution. CBS provides new tools for dealing with racism issues in basic and applied studies. The purpose of this paper is to provide a brief conceptual and applied behavior-analytic review of racism, prejudice and discrimination. First, we present an analysis of racism, prejudice and discrimination from the traditional behavior-analytic perspective. Second, we describe the role of CBS in racism research. Third, we explain the roles RFT and ACT can play in ameliorating the clinical and social effects of racism, prejudice and discrimination, and briefly discuss applications in school settings.
Diversity submission 

Culturally Focused Caregiver Training to Increase Praise for Ghanaian Students With Autism

(Applied Research)
ASHLEY ELIZABETH KNOCHEL (University of South Florida ), Kwang-Sun Cho Blair (University of South Florida)

The effectiveness of behavior-analytic interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is well- documented. However, little is known about the contextual appropriateness or translational capacity of those interventions in non-western cultures. ASD treatment centers in majority world countries lack funding for teacher or staff training. Thus, those programs rely heavily on the western community for training supports. Therefore, research on how to best culturally adapt training methods is crucial for increasing training effectiveness and sustainable dissemination of behavior-analytic services around the world. This study examined the impact of self-monitoring with performance feedback on caregivers’ use of culturally adapted praise. We also measured collateral effects on student academic engagement. Four caregivers and four students with autism in Accra, Ghana participated. Results indicated that self-monitoring and performance feedback effectively increased caregivers’ use of praise across phases. Additionally, adaptations to the topography of praise were critical for establishing desired student outcomes. This experiment provides an impetus for further examination of behavior-analytic interventions for children with autism in non-western contexts.

Diversity submission Assessing Implicit Cognition Related to Burnout and its Relevance for Behavior Analysts
(Applied Research)
GREGORY SCOTT SMITH (CARD; University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine), Ramona Houmanfar (University of Nevada, Reno), Nicole Jacobs (University of Nevada School of Medicine), Timothy Baker (University of Nevada School of Medicine), Mary Froehlich (University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine), Alison Szarko (University of Nevada, Reno), Carolyn Brayko (University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine), Melissa Patricia Piasecki (University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine)
Abstract: Although the construct of implicit bias was formulated by researchers of a social-cognitive orientation, contemporary advancements in behavior analysis have allowed for a functional-behavioral conceptualization of implicit cognition and a corresponding computer-based assessment tool. While much of the research on implicit bias has focused on areas traditionally associated with diversity, such as race, ethnicity, and gender, research of implicit cognition is by no means limited to these topics. This paper will present ongoing interdisciplinary research at the University of Nevada School of Medicine which focuses on the assessment of implicit cognition across a broad range of domains, including but not limited to burnout among medical students. Burnout, its sources, its impact on well-being and behavior, and efforts to mitigate its effects are currently top priorities within the field of medical training, but behavior analysts would be remiss if we did not consider the relevance of burnout in our own field, from behavior technicians to BCBAs, administrators, and academicians. Relational Frame Theory and Contextual Behavioral Science provide a useful framework to conceptualize, assess, and ultimately intervene on patterns of behavior related to the construct of burnout, which is of social significance to people in virtually all areas of professional life.
Diversity submission 

Sensitivity in Teaching Multicultural Competencies: Developing Frameworks for Teaching Graduate Students From Diverse Cultural Backgrounds

(Service Delivery)
VANESSA PATRONE (Daemen College), Vicki Madaus Knapp (Daemen College)

As the demand for behavior analytic services grow, we can expect to see increased diversity among both people seeking behavior analytic services and people seeking licensure or certification as behavior analysts. We must consider the best methods for teaching multicultural competencies to graduate students while simultaneously accommodating students from different cultural backgrounds. This case study describes a potential framework for a parallel process of remaining culturally sensitive as instructors while teaching students how to maintain their ethical responsibility of cultural sensitivity when practicing as a behavior analyst.

Symposium #470
Diversity submission A Verbal Behavior and Relational Frame Theory Examination of Sexuality, Gender, Privilege, and Power
Monday, May 27, 2019
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Fairmont, Lobby Level, Rouge
Area: CSS/VRB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Glenna S. Hunter (Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario)
Discussant: Worner Leland (Upswing Advocates)

Perceptions of sexuality, gender identity, and relationship structures are all shaped and maintained by our verbal communities. Additionally, verbal communities often have rules (both direct and implicit) that specify appropriate roles, and which reinforce alignment with those roles and punish stepping outside of them. Because of this, individuals who adhere to the rules of a verbal community through behavior or through endogenous traits often experience privilege- social advantages or benefits for aligning with the dominant group. Relational Frame Theory (Hayes, Barnes-Holmes, & Roche, 2001) provides a framework for examining this ingrouping and outgrouping in verbal communities. This presentation provides a behavior analytic examination of identities and privilege and offers initial suggestions on behavior analytic approaches to ethically supporting clients with marginalized identities and on decreasing inequity in our verbal community at large.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): gender identity, jealousy, privilege, sexuality
Diversity submission Tacting Internal Experiences: Asexual and Aromantic Identities
JANANI VAIDYA (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Worner Leland (Upswing Advocates)
Abstract: Relational Frame Theory (Hayes, Barnes-Holmes, & Roche, 2001) is a cognitive framework that defines language as operant behavior, in that language can be influenced by antecedent and consequent stimuli in the same manner as overt behavior. RFT further posits that language involves identifying stimuli as well as the act of relating stimuli events, and that changes in the function of these events can result in behavioral change. An important contribution of RFT is the concept of derived relational responding, i.e. the ability to train a few relations between arbitrary stimuli under the influence of certain contexts and derived a multitude of other relations that are not directly trained. One type of relation that can be trained in this manner are diectic frames of relational responding that rely on the perspective of the learner. This type of verbal responding is responding from a particular locus (Montoya-Rodríguez,McHugh, & Molina, 2016). This paper is an attempt to examine the formation of asexual and aromantic identities using relational framing. Specifically, how these communities have evolved to develop their specific language for types of relationships that fall outside of traditional definitions of romantic and sexual relationships and learning histories. Additionally, an examination of how to use perspective-taking to include an understanding of these orientations when disseminating sexual education, considering that they require the inclusion of the lack of specific covert behaviors or "desires" to be examined under the context of sexual behavior itself, is posited.
Diversity submission 

When Your Lover Loves Another: Understanding Jealousy and Compersion

GLENNA S. HUNTER (Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario), August Stockwell (Upswing Advocates)

Jealousy — the emotion and collection of collateral responses that occur when a person is faced with a perceived threat to an important relationship — is a common source of distress within romantic and other close interpersonal relationships (Elphinston, Feeney, Noller, Conner, & Fitzgerald, 2013). In contrast, some people report an experience of compersion – joy in response to a partner experiencing emotional or sexual attraction toward and interactions with another person (Aumer, Bellew, Ito, Hatfield, & Heck, 2014). Jealousy and compersion are collections of responses emitted by individuals in both monogamous and non-monogamous relationships, and both can be understood in terms of their surrounding environmental contingencies. This presentation explores several potential contingencies at play in situations involving jealousy, and in so doing, identifies ways in which contingencies may be altered to produce a reduction in jealous responding. Finally, potential contingencies involved in compersion are presented, and suggestions made as to how it may be fostered within relationships in which compersion is a goal.

Diversity submission 

CANCELED: Toward Gender Euphoria: A Behavior Analytic Conceptualization of Body Image Flexibility

Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Worner Leland (Upswing Advocates), TOEKNEE MORALES (N/A)

Body image has been studied through many psychological lenses, but for transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) individuals, traditional approaches to body image which focus on body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) may not be appropriate or account for the unique verbal behavior which contributes to gender dysphoria (Garcia-Falgueras, 2014). Gender dysphoria can include a discomfort with how one is treated based on cultural perceptions of physical stimuli. Conversely, gender euphoria can include experiences of joy from being treated in ways that align with one's identity, irrespective of assumptions based on physical stimuli. Psychological inflexibility may be a useful construct to examine body image, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) tools may assist in addressing BDD. These may or may not be useful when examining gender dysphoria and gender euphoria. This paper will examine the utility of this model when examining dysmorphia when contrasted with dysphoria, the ways in which language around each may be shaped, and components of ACT tools which may be useful across populations.

Diversity submission Beyond Checking: A Behavioral Analysis of Privilege as a Manipulable Context
EMILY KENNISON SANDOZ (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Karen Kate Kellum (University of Mississippi), Evelyn Rachael Gould (McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School; FirstSteps for Kids, Inc.)
Abstract: Privilege involves the advantages or benefits accessed by members of dominant groups at the expense of members of nondominant groups. For example, in the U.S., privilege is generally granted to members of groups who are: white, able-bodied, heterosexual, cisgender, male, Christian, middle or owning class, middle-aged, and/or English-speaking. Over the past decade, activists have increasingly called for us to “check our privilege,” or to acknowledge ways that our social status may have given us advantages (often unrequested, unearned, and unnamed advantages) while others of different social status suffered disadvantages. Describing, predicting, and understanding the inequities privilege creates is certainly important. And, as behavior analysts, we challenge ourselves to extend the analysis beyond describing, predicting, and understanding behavior to influencing it. In this way, a behavioral analysis of these inequities necessarily involves considering privilege, not merely in terms of personal characteristics, but in terms of the manipulable contexts those characteristics afford. This paper will review traditional conceptualizations of privilege, provide a behavior analytic conceptualization of privilege, and offer initial suggestions on a behavior analytic approach to studying, and intervening on privilege to decrease inequity.
Panel #486
CE Offered: BACB — 
Diversity submission What’s Culture Got to Do With It?: Essentials of Supervision
Monday, May 27, 2019
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Swissôtel, Lucerne Ballroom Level, Lucerne 1/2
Area: PCH; Domain: Translational
CE Instructor: Shane Spiker, M.S.
Chair: Shane Spiker (Positive Behavior Supports, Corp.)
JENNY PAGAN (BlueSprig Pediatrics)
SABRINA DE LA FE (Positive Behavior Supports Corporation)
ONAIDA SANCHEZ (Positive Behavior Supports Corporation)

As our field expands our analysts are exposed to various cultures, including work in international markets as well as diverse populations within our own communities. Because of the diversity of individuals we serve, there is a clear need to begin a discussion about the consideration of ethics when navigating the nuances between cultural norms. In addition, we may be missing the opportunity to support a large portion of the population due to our lack of cultural sensitivities. While this overarching discussion is broad and sometimes difficult to operationally define, there are areas of our practice that we can begin developing to create socially significant changes in the culture of our field. In this panel we would like to address how including multi-cultural competencies in our supervision process are crucial and can develop culturally sensitive practitioners. We would also like to address the ethical dilemmas we come across when working with differing cultures. As we are working in the homes of our clients for months sometimes years, and cultural sensitivity is imperative for programing, training of caregivers, and successfully achieving the client’s ultimate outcomes.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

This Panel is developed for current Board Certified Behavior Analysts, and Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts.

Learning Objectives: 1) Participants will identify multicultural competencies in behavior analytics. 2) Participants will learn how to navigate difficult cultural challenges in the supervisory role. 3) Participants will learn how to navigate ethics and respecting cultural systems. 4) Participants will learn how to effectively supervise and train their team on cultural competencies
Keyword(s): Culture, Ethics, Supervision, Training
Panel #527A
Diversity submission PDS: Let's Talk About Diversity
Monday, May 27, 2019
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Fairmont, Lobby Level, Rouge
Area: CSS; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Marlesha Bell (University of South Florida)
SARAH E. BLOOM (University of South Florida)
GREGORY REED (Howard University)
ANNA GARCIA (University of South Florida)

Behavior analysts serve a growing diverse population. Diverse groups currently make up about 28% of the population (Humes, Jones, & Ramirez, 2011), and by 2044 diverse groups are projected to make up more than half of the population (Colby & Ortman, 2017). Additionally, research from outside of behavior analysis has evaluated ways to reduce health care disparities and propose solutions for barriers that diverse groups experience. Conversely, limited research has been conducted on how to reduce barriers for diverse groups within behavior analysis. As students, this is an opportunity to learn about the current standing of diversity in behavior analysis. It is important to have these discussions and begin to conduct research on how we can best serve diverse groups in behavior analysis. Thus, the panel is designed to open up a conversation about issues with diversity in behavior analysis and review proposed solutions that behavior analysts can follow. The presenters will also discuss how to better serve diverse populations and how to recruit and retain diverse behavior analysts.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Culture, Diversity, Linguistic Diversity, Representation
Panel #537A
Diversity submission ABAI Diversity and Inclusion Discussion
Monday, May 27, 2019
4:00 PM–5:20 PM
Hyatt Regency West, Lobby Level, Crystal Ballroom C
Area: CSS; Domain: Theory
Chair: Mark A. Mattaini (Jane Addams College of Social Work-University of Illinois at Chicago), Carol Pilgrim (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
JOVONNIE L. ESQUIERDO-LEAL (University of Nevada, Reno)
JOMELLA WATSON-THOMPSON (University of Kansas)

As appears to be true across all scientific and technical fields, behavior analysis is not immune to sexual harassment, disrespect, discrimination, and behavior reflecting explicit and implicit bias. This panel and discussion are a follow-up to the open forum on these issues at the 2018 ABAI Convention. The panel presentation will provide information on (a) the challenges faced by organizations like ABAI, (b) options for addressing those challenges using a constructional strategy, (c) reports on the work being done by the ABAI Diversity, Respect, and Inclusion Task Force and the ABAI Council going forward, (d) the realities of and approaches to manage and weaken the implicit biases that all carry, and (e) how behaviorists can begin to engage with these issues within our organization, but also in work and community settings, as behavioral and cultural analysts. Our science offers specific knowledge and alternatives for shaping and maintaining diverse, equitable, and inclusive cultures organizationally and in the community. The second half of the program will be oriented toward contributions (questions and comments) from attendees and panel responses.

Instruction Level: Basic
Business Meeting #556B
Diversity submission Culture and Diversity SIG Meeting
Monday, May 27, 2019
7:00 PM–7:50 PM
Swissôtel, Concourse Level, Zurich A
Chair: Elizabeth Hughes Fong (Saint Joseph's University)
Presenting Authors:

Annual meeting of the Culture and Diversity SIG (formerly MultiABA). Come and meet the members!




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Modifed by Eddie Soh