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.

  • AAB: Applied Animal Behavior

    AUT: Autism

    BPN: Behavioral Pharmacology and Neuroscience

    CBM: Clinical/Family/Behavioral Medicine

    CSS: Community, Social, and Sustainability Issues

    DDA: Developmental Disabilities

    DEV: Behavioral Development

    EAB: Experimental Analysis of Behavior

    EDC: Education

    OBM: Organizational Behavior Management

    PCH: Philosophical, Conceptual, and Historical Issues

    PRA: Practice

    TBA: Teaching Behavior Analysis

    VRB: Verbal Behavior

    SCI: Science

47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Program by B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Events: Saturday, May 29, 2021


B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #19
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Marrying ABA and the Medical System: Multi-Disciplinary Treatment Systems and Novel Approaches for Challenging Behaviors in Youth With Autism
Saturday, May 29, 2021
9:00 AM–9:50 AM EDT
Area: DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Yaniz C. Padilla Dalmau (Seattle Children's Hospital)
CE Instructor: Yaniz C. Padilla Dalmau, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: MATTHEW SIEGEL (Maine Behavioral Healthcare)

Up to two-thirds of youth with autism spectrum disorder develop challenging behaviors, which are the most common cause for referral to behavioral health services in this population. While progress in treatment in this area has been made, many youth remain treatment refractory or unresponsive to the work of a single discipline. Specialized acute inpatient psychiatry units can be utilized to bring together the strengths of applied behavior analysis and other disciplines to assess and treat complex challenging behaviors. The service landscape, approach, and treatment evidence for these settings will be reviewed, and emerging novel approaches utilizing detection of physiologic signals in relation to challenging behaviors will be presented.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Practicing behavior analysts, administrators of ABA programs, clinical researchers.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) discuss the frequency and topography of challenging behaviors in youth with ASD; (2) identify the program elements and evidence for specialized acute psychiatry units targeting this population; (3) articulate the proposed relationship between physiological arousal and challenging behaviors.
MATTHEW SIEGEL (Maine Behavioral Healthcare)

Dr. Siegel is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics of Tufts University School of Medicine, Vice President of Medical Affairs, Developmental Disorders Service of Maine Behavioral Healthcare, and Faculty Scientist II at Maine Medical Center Research Institute. He has developed a nationally recognized continuum of treatment and research for individuals with autism, intellectual disability and co-occurring mental illness and challenging behaviors.


Dr. Siegel attended Amherst College, Stanford Medical School and trained at Brown University in child psychiatry, psychiatry, and pediatrics. He is the Principal Investigator of the Autism and Developmental Disorders Inpatient Research Collaborative (ADDIRC), a network of specialized child psychiatry units performing studies of children severely affected by autism and intellectual disability. Dr. Siegel is nationally recognized for his expertise in inpatient care and the treatment of serious challenging behaviors. He served on the Autism and Intellectual Disability Committee of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry for a decade and is a co-author of the Academy’s Practice Parameter on the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder and the Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders in Children and Adolescents with Intellectual Disability.

B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #110
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Assessment Beyond Diagnosis: Meaningful Measurement of Behavior to Advance Clinical Practice and Research in Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Saturday, May 29, 2021
3:00 PM–3:50 PM EDT
Area: TBA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Lin Du (Teachers College, Columbia University)
CE Instructor: Lin Du, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: SOMER BISHOP (University of California, San Francisco)

Researchers in the field of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have made significant progress in assessment of social-communication and other ASD-related impairments. However, there is still a great deal to be learned about profiles of ability and disability characteristic of individuals with different neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), and about the ways in which particular abnormalities manifest at different points in development. Dr. Bishop will present information about behavioral dimensions that are most relevant to assessment and differential diagnosis of ASD and other NDDs. She will also discuss the importance of considering individual factors such as age, sex, IQ, and language level when interpreting scores from standardized measures for diagnostic or other purposes. Integrated assessment across multiple behavioral domains is not only needed to ensure valid diagnostic practices, but more importantly, to generate individualized and meaningful treatment plans. Improved coordination between diagnostic and treatment providers is essential for increasing efficiency and utility of current assessment practices. Additionally, there is a need for increased coordination of measurement strategies across disciplines, in order to ensure appropriate selection of short-and long-term goals and corresponding measures of change. Ultimately, we must toward more coordinated and goal-directed assessment practices that do not place such a premium on diagnostic labels, but instead focus on generating information that directly facilitates treatment for a given individual at a particular moment in time.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience: Clinicians and researchers.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) discuss individual-level factors that affect manifestation and measurement of social-communication deficits and restricted and repetitive behaviors; (2) identify subtypes of social-communication deficits; (3) identify range of domains relevant for assessment and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders across the lifespan; (4) discuss how to apply assessment results across domains to develop individualized treatment plans and optimize strategies for measuring change in response to treatment.
SOMER BISHOP (University of California, San Francisco)
Somer Bishop is a clinical psychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health and the Weill Institute for Neurosciences at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Bishop’s research and clinical interests focus on the assessment of social-communication and restricted and repetitive behaviors characteristic of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and how these symptom dimensions are affected by individual and contextual factors across the lifespan. At UCSF, Dr. Bishop’s lab is focused on identifying and refining dimensional measures of ASD-related behavior that can be used to delineate phenotypic and etiologic similarities and differences between ASD and other developmental disorders, taking into account individual factors such as age, sex, IQ, and language level. She is interested in developing trans-diagnostic tools that can be used in both clinical and research settings to assess profiles of social-communicative and other behavioral strengths and challenges across development in varied clinical populations (e.g., ASD, intellectual disability, ADHD). Her work has been funded by NICHD, HRSA, DoD, and the Autism Science Foundation. She has co-authored more than 70 peer-reviewed publications and serves on multiple journal editorial boards. At the UCSF Center for ASDs and NDDs, Dr. Bishop participates in comprehensive, multi-disciplinary assessment and treatment of children and adults with ASD and related disorders. She directs the diagnostic training program, conducting multiple-day trainings on widely used autism diagnostic tools and best diagnostic practices for professionals from all over the world.
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #124
CE Offered: BACB
Total Worker Health®: An Invitation to Join In!
Saturday, May 29, 2021
4:00 PM–4:50 PM EDT
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Nicole Gravina (University of Florida)
CE Instructor: Nicole Gravina, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: RYAN OLSON (Oregon Health & Science University)

We draw artificial boundaries between our lives at home and at work, and between our waking and sleeping hours. Each person is living a whole life where all of their environments, relationships, behaviors, and physiological states interact. The body we take with us to work is the one we had with us at home, and both work and home environments (resources, physical environment, psychosocial environment, responsibilities/demands) impact our physical health.

Total Worker Health® (TWH) is an approach initiated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in 2003 developed to address such interactions, and to advance science and practice for protecting workers’ safety, health, and well-being. The TWH approach represents an expansion of traditional occupational safety and health research and practice, with strong safety protections for workers as its foundation. NIOSH defines TWH as “…policies, programs, and practices that integrate protection from work-related safety and health hazards with promotion of injury and illness prevention efforts to advance worker well-being” (Tamers et al., 2019). TWH recognizes that work is a social determinant of health and therefore takes a holistic approach to worker safety, health, and well-being by acknowledging the interdependence between worker well-being and their success at work. As an extension of traditional occupational safety and controls, the TWH approach prioritizes addressing and removing occupational exposures that threaten the safety and well-being of workers, and prescribes that such hazard reduction is accompanied by efforts to improve the overall health status of workers as well.

This is a very exciting time for occupational science and practice. From a TWH perspective, the “action is in the interactions” between safety, health, and well-being. This includes interactions between work and life exposures and each person’s genes, biology, and daily behaviors. This reciprocol and interactive perspective is highly consistent with Skinnerian and other approaches to behavioral science, as well as organizational systems analysis approaches. Skinner (1957) wrote that “[People] act upon the world, and change it, and are changed in turn by the consequences of their action” (p. 1). Similarly, Bandura (1978) proposed a triadic form of reciprocal determinism, focused on interactions among a person’s environment, traits, and behaviors. At both individual and organizational levels of analysis, systems approaches (Brethower, 1982; Rummler & Brache, 2012) highlight the adaptive importance of reciprocal internal and external feedback processes, as well as sustaining and interactive relationships between each system (person, organization) and its host environment (organization, economy). With its Skinnerian and systems analysis roots, and associated historical emphasis on environmental conditions and interventions, the Organizational Behavior Management community can make great and important contributions in the TWH domain.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: PENDING
RYAN OLSON (Oregon Health & Science University)
Dr. Olson earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Utah State University, and advanced degrees in Industrial and Organizational Psychology (MA) and Applied Behavior Analysis (Ph.D.) at Western Michigan University. He was a member of the Psychology Department at Santa Clara University prior to joining the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at Oregon Health & Science University. His research program has focused on occupational fatality surveillance and prevention, and safety and health interventions for isolated workers in demanding occupations (e.g., commercial drivers, home care workers). He has expertise in occupational safety, intervention design, and integrating safety into employee health programs. Dr. Olson is a founding investigator and current Co-Director of the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center - one of six Centers of Excellence in Total Worker Health® funded by CDC/NIOSH). He has led two prior intervention research projects in the Center, including the COMmunity of Practice And Safety Support (COMPASS) trial with home care workers, and the current Tech4Rest study to evaluate interventions to improve sleep and reduce fatigue among truck driving teams (anti-vibration driver’s seat, therapeutic mattress, behavioral sleep intervention). In addition to his work within the Center, Dr. Olson serves as the multiple PI for Oregon’s expanded occupational health surveillance program (CDC/NIOSH), and leads an internationally recognized safety and health intervention research program with commercial drivers funded by NHLBI. Dr. Olson is a past President of the Organizational Behavior Management Network and a charter member of the Society for Occupational Health Psychology, and serves on the editorial boards for several journals in these fields.
B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #137
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Diversity submission Beyond Translation: Ethnic Disparities on Early Identification and Access to Services of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Saturday, May 29, 2021
5:00 PM–5:50 PM EDT
Area: AUT; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Regina A. Carroll (University of Nebraska Medical Center Munroe-Meyer Institute)
CE Instructor: Regina A. Carroll, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: CECILIA MONTIEL-NAVA (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley)

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong disorder that affects children and families in several ways. A growing body of research has documented the ways in which racial disparities affect the rate of identification, access and use of services, and relationship with professionals making the diagnoses. In general, Latino children are diagnosed with ASD later in life; usually with more severe symptoms, lower IQs, and more health conditions, compared with non-Latino children. Furthermore, cultural factors can shape how the signs of ASD are conceptualized and how families accept a positive diagnosis, especially how they are affected by stigma. Diminished access to diagnostic services as well as having a caregiver with a non-English primary language can act as barriers to identifying children with ASD, in particular Latino children. This lecture will review current research in health disparities in both early identification and access to services of Latino children with ASD. Research with this underserved population contributes to enhancing diagnosis and identification methods for Latino children with ASD and assessing the unidentified risk factors and barriers to accessing services, hence improving their outcomes.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

researchers, allied health professionals, educators

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) discuss health disparities in children with ASD with race, ethnicity, culture, socioeconomic status, environment, and geography; (2) discuss under-identification of ASD in Hispanic children can result in families not receiving the services they need to improve health outcomes; (3) explain the importance of developing a culturally sensitive model as a way to increase the identification, diagnosis and referral to available services of ASD in Hispanic children.
CECILIA MONTIEL-NAVA (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley)
Dr. Cecilia Montiel-Nava, a bilingual child clinical psychologist, holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV), an M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Loyola University Maryland, and a B.A. in Psychology from the Universidad Rafael Urdaneta (Venezuela). Dr. Montiel-Nava’s research focuses on three topics: 1) Understanding ethnic disparities among children with autism spectrum and neurodevelopmental disorders, 2) Evidence-based interventions that can be carried out by parents of children with developmental delays in underserved populations, and 3) Validity and acculturation of diagnostic instruments. Since 2015, she has been involved with Red Espectro Autista Latinoamerica (Latin American Autism Spectrum Network [REAL]), that aims to foster international collaboration for research in Latin American countries. She is also a member of the WHO/AS team for the implementation and evaluation of WHO Caregivers Skills Training (CST) pilot projects in various countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, India, Peru, Trinidad & Tobago, and Uruguay). Her longer-term goals include developing a package for early identification and early intervention that could be broadly and freely administered in underserved populations in the valley. As a clinician, researcher, and human being, she wants parents to feel that their socio-economic status, ethnicity, or location are not another hurdle to overcome in the road to gain a better outcome for their child. She is an author of two books and more than 45 research reports, articles, and book chapters.



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