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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Symposium #510
CE Offered: BACB — 
Sexual Behavior: Research and Practice SIG Symposium 2 of 3: Lessons Learned: Sex Research and the Science of Changing Sexual Behavior
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Vevey 1 & 2, Swissotel
Area: CSE/PRA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Deric E. Toney (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Sorah Stein (Partnership for Behavior Change)
CE Instructor: Deric E. Toney, M.A.
Abstract: What is it like to research human sexuality using a single-subject research approach? How is targeting sexual behavior in a clinical setting similar to, and unique from, work in other areas of ABA? The purpose of this symposium is to present perspectives of those who have worked in the areas of sexuality, gender, and relationships, including valuable lessons that has been learned, common obstacles tackled, and professional recommendations for research and practice in the area of sexual behavior.
Keyword(s): families, sex education, sex research, sexuality

Working in the Fields of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Socio-Sexual Behavior: Professional, Practical, Ethical, and Legal Issues Discussed

FRANK R. CICERO (Eden II Programs)

On a gradient, the majority of individuals consider themselves to be sexual beings. Individuals with developmental disabilities are no exception. Socio-sexual behavior includes responses characteristic of sexual acts as well as social behaviors associated with gender identity, romantic relationships and perspective taking. As behavior analysts, we are well aware of the power of behavior analytic principles on the shaping of behavior. Through behavior analysis we can increase socially significant behavior to address behavioral deficits while decreasing behavioral excesses that lead to social and developmental problems. Although they are potentially sensitive, target behaviors included within the realm of sexuality should be no exception. In this presentation, the author will discuss common issues encountered when behavior analysts target socio-sexual behaviors with individuals diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Topics covered will include practical issues such as where and when to provide instruction; professional issues such as how to assess behavioral needs and select behavior analytic teaching techniques; ethical issues such as how to effectively work alongside guardians while respecting the desires of the individual; and legal issues such as consent laws. Issues will be discussed through a review of the literature along with experience gained through real life case studies.

The Naked Truth: Researching Sexual Behavior, Gender, and Romantic Relationships as a Behavior Analyst
FAWNA STOCKWELL (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: Our gender identities, sexual orientations, and romantic and sexual relationships with others are critical parts of how we experience the world, but only a small subset of the field of Applied Behavior Analysis focuses on these topics. In this presentation, the author will present anecdotes, discoveries, challenges, and recommendations specific to their experiences researching sexuality, gender, and relationship topics as a behavior analyst. Topics covered will include how to select a research topic, how to design research that is inclusive of people of all gender and sexual identities, exploring one’s own biases as a sex researcher and how they impact decisions made throughout the research process, discovering and utilizing research studies and other resources that exist outside the field of ABA, handling IRB challenges, using deception ethically in research, measurement of sexual behaviors in ways that are as unobtrusive as possible, and navigating assumptions that others make about those who work within the realm of sexuality, gender, and relationship research. It is the author’s hope that this presentation will equip other behavior analysts with useful guidelines and considerations as they apply the science of behavior analysis to sexuality, gender, and relationships.



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