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 #340
Sex! Behavior and Relationships from an Applied Behavior Analytic Perspective
Monday, May 26, 2008
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Area: CSE/DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Bobby Newman (Room to Grow)
Discussant: Bobby Newman (Room to Grow)
Abstract: Sexual behavior is one of the areas that is a natural outgrowth of current applied behavior analytic research, but has not received widespread attention. While this is an area with great clinical and social implications, we are still at the level of extrapolating from the literature rather than directly studying many interventions and issues. This symposium will highlight some of the key issues in sexual behavior research.
Sexuality Instruction and Learners with ASD.
PETER F. GERHARDT (Organization for Autism Research)
Abstract: Persons with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are sexual beings. However, individual interest in sex or in developing an intimate sexual relationship with another person varies widely across individuals at all ability levels and at different stages in their lives. As such, there is a significant need for individualized, effective instruction for persons with ASD across the ability spectrum. Unfortunately, despite much discussion about decision-making skills in the self-determination literature (e.g., Clark , et al., 2004), there continues to be “lack of evidence [supporting the] effectiveness of sex education and training for persons with developmental disabilities” (Duval, 2002, p. 453) in general, and autism spectrum disorders in particular. This paper will address the potential translation of instructional strategies based upon behavior analytic principles to the area of sexuality instruction for learners with ASD. In addition, particular areas of instruction and challenges (both individual, familial, and systemic) will be discussed.
Assessing Implicit Attitudes Regarding Normative and Non-Normative Sex Terms.
FAWNA STOCKWELL (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) is a computer-based reaction time task that examines specific attitudes through the measurement of associations in an individual's existing verbal repertoire (Barnes-Holmes et al., 2006). In this ongoing study, both the IRAP and a questionnaire are used to measure the sexual behavior patterns and sexual attitudes of individuals from two groups: individuals within Chicago's culture of fetish and BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism) and individuals who do not consider themselves members of a fetish or BDSM culture. Results of the study, including the relationship between self-reports and IRAP results, and clinical implications will be discussed
Teaching Parameters of Social Interactions across Social Networks through Equivalent Relations.
SHARI DAISY (Simmons College)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to teach verbal and physical parameters of social interactions across social networks through equivalent relations using a match-to-sample procedure. A secondary purpose was to assess for generalization of the parameters to the natural setting, as well as maintenance of learned relations. Four adolescents with developmental disabilities participated in the study. A pretest/posttest design, using the stimulus equivalence paradigm, was used to assess the effectiveness of the intervention. The dependent variables included accurate responding to the S+ stimuli, social verbal behavior, and social physical behavior. Numerous equivalent relations were taught and tested for a variety of social networks. The relationship between safety and the demonstration of social parameters by individuals with disabilities is discussed.



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