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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Invited Paper Session #46
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Don Baer Invited Address: Outside the Box: Unique Applications of Applied Behavior Analysis

Saturday, May 24, 2014
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
W375e (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: PRA; Domain: Service Delivery
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Judith R. Mathews, Ph.D.
Chair: Mark D. Shriver (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)
JUDITH R. MATHEWS (University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Dr. Judith Mathews received her BS in special education from Syracuse University in 1971. Her original foundation in ABA came from looking for an effective way to teach deaf and blind children. In 1988, she received her Ph.D. in developmental and child psychology from the Department of Human Development and Family Living at the University of Kansas with Don Baer as her primary adviser. She worked clinically as a pediatric psychologist at the IWK Children’s Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for seven years and taught child clinical psychology at West Virginia University for three years. In 1994, she accepted a position in the Psychology Department at Munroe-Meyer Institute (MMI) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where she remained as a pediatric psychologist and associate professor of pediatrics until her retirement in October 2013. At MMI, her position combined clinical practice and research, and teaching graduate students, doctoral interns, and medical students. In 2009, she received her master’s degree in public health from the University of Nebraska, and in 2011 received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach psychology and ABA in Kenya and to conduct public health research with adolescent girls in Nairobi slums. In her retirement, she plans to continue to help establish child clinical training in Kenya.

Don Baer was a master at viewing applied behavior analysis as a philosophy of life. This was exemplified in his writings, in the manner in which he mentored students, and in his discussion of its application to varied topics, some of which were well outside the common behavioral realm of investigation. His model has guided Dr. Judith R. Mathews’ clinical practice and opened her to looking beyond the strictly behavioral literature to learn from other disciplines. This paper will discuss practical applications of applied behavior analysis in the field of pediatrics. It will present unusual clinical cases, including, problems of attachment and parenting skills, and unique challenges in medical adherence, habit reversal, pain management, and feeding disorders. More recently, this curiosity for the intersection between ABA and other disciplines has led Dr. Mathews to investigate the field of public health, in terms of social determinants of health, community-based participatory research and global public health. In this context, applications of ABA in the field of public health will then be discussed. The paper will conclude with discussion of the difficulties that practitioners and public health providers face in conducting practical research and finally will propose ways to disseminate unique ideas in need of empirical validation.

Target Audience:

ABA practitioners.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the event, participants should be able to: 1. Identify applications of applied behavior analysis to unusual clinical cases. 2. Identify applications of applied behavior analysis to public health issues. 3. Identify practical problems in clinical data collection and possible solutions. 4. Identify ways to disseminate unusual ideas in need of empirical validation.



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