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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Panel #521
Should/Could BCBAs Intervene for Anxiety and Stress-Related Behavior Among Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Roosevelt, Hyatt Regency, Bronze East
Area: AUT/CBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Michele D. Wallace (California State University, Los Angeles)
JOHN M. GUERCIO (Benchmark Human Services)
DUANE A. LUNDERVOLD (University of Central Missouri)
KATRINA OSTMEYER (Integrated Behavioral Technologies, Inc.)

Anxiety disorders are a highly prevalent co-occurring condition among children, adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) ranging from specific phobia to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Co-morbid anxiety disorders have a significant negative impact on quality of life, in increased disability and social exclusion. Respondent extinction procedures (exposure), combined with teaching incompatible behavior (relaxation training), and escape/avoidance extinction (response prevention) have been shown to be highly effective in lessening fear/anxiety and escape/avoidance across all sub-types of anxiety disorders. Research syntheses have indicated that the addition of cognitive restructuring adds little to treatment outcomes. The purpose of this panel discussion is to: (a) briefly review the research on ASD and comorbid anxiety disorders; (b) raise the question as to whether BCBAs should and could provide intervention for comorbid anxiety disorders; (c) discuss the graduate education and training needed to target this response class; and, (d) examine the legal and ethical issues related to this area of applied behavior analysis.




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