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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #419
CE Offered: BACB
ABA Alleviates Problems Experienced by Military Service Members and Veterans
Monday, May 26, 2014
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
W179b (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: CBM/PRA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Kent Corso (NCR Behavioral Health, LLC)
CE Instructor: Kent Corso, Psy.D.
Abstract: Since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began, over 2 million Americans have deployed overseas to defend Americans. Over 253,000 have returned with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), over 103,000 have returned with PTSD and between 18 and 20 veterans die by suicide every day. Applied behavior analysis (ABA)offers incredible treatment potential for alleviating the problems currently experienced by our service members and veterans. Yet, no formal opportunities exist to practice within the Department of Defense or the Department of Veteran Affairs. Only one official opportunity exists to practice outside of these federal agencies, but with the military children, through the Tricare Autism ECHO program. The field of applied behavior analysis can do more! Three research and practice initiatives will be discussed during this symposium including self-monitoring of problematic private events, using verbal behavior assessment and intervention strategies for those suffering from TBI, and using standard celeration charting to improve suicide monitoring. These three projects illustrate unique applications of ABA and exemplify how the technology of ABA may benefit the military and veteran population.
Keyword(s): military, private events, standard celeration, verbal behavior
Records and Impact of War
ABIGAIL B. CALKIN (Calkin Consulting Center)
Abstract: The U.S. has an extensive record of war. Data include military personnel in battle and those killed, wounded, and MIA since 1776. Veterans and active military personnel of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries deal with complex issues involving their time at war. Basic training does a masterful job applying behavioral principles during training, but this training deals with readiness for following orders, being in a combat experience, and other similar behaviors. Not covered is the myriad of behaviors and emotions that a service member may experience after leaving active duty. Also missing is estimated or actual data on PTSD by whatever name has been used during each respective war. In all the service branches there are punishing consequences for not holding one’s self and responsibilities together. Today there are some established practices on assisting military personnel to deal with severe problem situations in their continued military life or in their personal lives after discharge. Behavior analysis offers methods of decreasing unhelpful behaviors among those who need extensive and continued assistance.
Development and Preliminary Examination of a Verbal Behavior Assessment for Adults
THEODORE A. HOCH (George Mason University), Alexander Britt (George Mason University), Johannes Rojahn (George Mason University)
Abstract: The Behavioral Language Assessment and the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (Sundberg & Partington, 1998) offer precise assessment of verbal repertoires and yield precise instruction in verbal repertoires for children and adults with autism and other disabilities, opening the world of conventional verbal behavior and social interactions for these people, and revolutionizing how verbal behavior is assessed and taught for these populations. Other populations can benefit from such assessments. Between 2000 and 2012, U.S. military service members suffered 253,330 traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Of these there were 194,561 mild, 42,063 moderate, 6,476 severe or penetrating, and 10,210 unclassifiable (Congressional Research Service, 2013). Presently, assessment and remediation of verbal repertoires for these adults is typically managed through speech and language pathology services. Non-military adults surviving strokes and acquired brain injuries also receive these services as first-line treatment. We describe development and utility of an assessment of verbal repertoires of military and non-military adult survivors of acquired brain injury, stroke, TBI, or other neurological assault. We describe how these repertoires may be assessed and the therapeutic implications for making such an assessment available to these populations.
Using Standard Celeration Charts to Improve Monitoring of Suicide in the Military
KENT CORSO (NCR Behavioral Health, LLC)
Abstract: The standard celeration chart (SCC) helps behavior analysts measure changes in the rate of a response overtime, known as the acceleration/deceleration of a behavior (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007; Pennypacker, Gutierrez, & Lindsley, 2003). The SCC holds promise for evaluating changes in lethal behaviors such as suicide as it enables earlier intervention. Since suicide is a low base rate phenomenon, it is difficult to predict and monitor. Standard practice is to convert this raw data to a crude rate (i.e., base rate per 100,000) to account for statistical challenges of predicting this behavior (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2012). In 2010 U.S. civilian suicides equaled 38,364—the total U.S. population was 308,745,538, which equals a crude rate of 12.4. Since 2001 military suicides have increased, and in 2010 equaled 17.4, which is considerably higher than the civilian rate (National Center for Telehealth and Technology, 2011). Despite tireless efforts of suicidologists and military suicide prevention programs, suicide persists within the military. The author discusses weaknesses of current methods for displaying military suicide data, program evaluation, and decision-making. Single-case research design and charting on the SCC offers a more helpful method for monitoring and preventing suicide in the military.



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