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.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Symposium #36
Educating the Behavior Analyst: New Directions, New Behaviors
Saturday, May 24, 2008
1:00 PM–2:20 PM
Area: TBA/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Maria Andrade (The New England Center for Children)
Discussant: Karen E. Gould (May Institute, Northeastern University)
Abstract: For clinical and scientific advances in applied behavior analysis to occur, graduate programs must produce innovative alumnae with sophisticated behavioral skills. The three papers included in this symposium address the establishment of advanced behavioral repertoires in graduate students studying applied behavior analysis. Curricula are describe that (a) give students highly developed clinical skills, (b) teach students to discuss behavioral principles and procedures proficiently, and (c) prepare students to design and implement translational research. In each case, learning goals are established that require students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in an applied context. Emphasis is placed not only on how well the students address existing clinical or research problems, but on also how well they develop responses to complex hypothetical scenarios. Through the scenarios, the students are exposed to clinical and research concerns not yet encountered in field work. Research scenarios focus on integrating basic and applied research. Data systems allow assessment of teaching effectiveness.
Increasing Interactions between Basic and Applied Research: Developing Researchers for New Research Areas.
BRENT MAXWELL JONES (University of Massachusetts Medical School Shriver Center), Maria Andrade (The New England Center for Children)
Abstract: For decades, papers have been published in which the authors promote increased interactions between basic and applied research. Typically these papers identify areas in which such interactions have occurred and describe examples of pertinent research. Seldom addressed, however, is the need for training behavior analysts to carry out interactive (or translational) research. Instead, authors usually mention collaborative investigations between basic and applied researchers. The Northeastern University Master of Science Program in Applied Behavior Analysis offers students a specialized training sequence that focuses on both actual and potential connections between basic and applied research. The goal of the specialized training is to give students the skills to conduct research that is directly informed by basic research findings. Students take three seminars in which basic research is reviewed and conduct projects that explore the application of basic research findings to clinically significant problems. The students develop his/her thesis questions from seminar discussions, and they complete literature reviews in which they discuss the implications of basic research findings for applied research and for clinical practices. Although further development is possible and desirable, we offer our model as a useful starting point for training effective researchers and clinicians alike.
Structuring Field Experiences to Teach State-of-the-Art Practices.
MYRNA LIBBY (The New England Center for Children)
Abstract: This paper presents a model for providing Supervised Independent Fieldwork in a human-services agency, following The Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s new Experience Standards. The model includes two components: (a) six semester-length modules covering a variety of applied topics derived from the Task List and (b) three Applied Research Placements. The modules, which are designed to give all students common experiences, include readings and additional activities that are completed in the clinical setting. Topics address areas critical to delivering state-of-the-art behavioral services such as preference assessment, conditioned reinforcement, and discrimination training. Modules are structured to allow group supervision by a BCBA. The second component, Research Placement, allows students to implement applied research projects under the one-to-one supervision of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst® and to explore individual interests.
Teaching Graduate Students Conversational Proficiency with Behavioral Concepts.
MAEVE G. MEANY-DABOUL (The New England Center for Children), Karen E. Gould (May Institute, Northeastern University)
Abstract: The Verbal Proficiency Laboratory (VPL) assists students in a graduate program for applied behavior analysis to acquire conversational proficiency with behavioral principles and procedures. Following the interview model developed by Ferster and Perrott, the VPL dresses not only the students’ correct use of behavioral terminology, but also other aspects of their spoken communication such as sufficient use of examples and application of concepts to novel circumstances. During their first term in the graduate program, students meet individually approximately every week with teaching assistants. In these meetings, the student engages in a 10-15 minute structured discussion based on assigned readings. Following each discussion, the student and teaching assistant complete a questionnaire in which they rate the student’s proficiency-related behaviors. A brief 3-item oral quiz based on the assigned material follows. Videotapes of the discussions allow study of both the methods for creating dialogue and the students’ conversational proficiency. Data are also collected on the time required for the students to complete the VPL and on the quiz errors.



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