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.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #502
CE Offered: BACB

The Art of Functionally-Driven Therapeutic Interventions for High Maintenance Children

Tuesday, May 29, 2007
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Douglas A
Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Teodoro Ayllon, Ph.D.
Chair: Kelly G. Wilson (University of Mississippi)
TEODORO AYLLON (Behavioral Consultant)
Dr. Teodoro Ayllon has extensive experience working with children, adolescents, and families. He lectures on a therapeutic approach that regards problematic behavior, largely as a child’s effort to deal with, and control, his social environment. As it happens, the typical parental efforts to deal with problematic behavior have unintended consequences that tend to maintain negative patterns of behavior. Therefore, the treatment strategy is to replace ineffective parental practices with practices that encourage a child to seek positive experiences with his family. Dr. Ayllon is a Licensed Psychologist in the State of Georgia, and maintains a private practice in Atlanta. He is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Kansas, and his Ph.D. degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Houston in Texas. Dr. Ayllon is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, and holds Board Certification, Diplomate in Clinical Psychology (ABPP). Over the years, Dr. Ayllon has served as a consultant to psychiatric hospitals, prison systems, schools, as well as private organizations and state and federal agencies. He has published over 80 scientific articles, and four books on therapeutic methods involving the emotional and behavioral problems of adults, teenagers, and children. They include, Ayllon & Azrin, The Token Economy: A Motivational System for Therapy and Rehabilitation, 1968; Ayllon, Milan, Roberts, & McKee, Correctional Rehabilitation and Management: A Psychological Approach, 1979; Ayllon & Freed, Stopping Baby’s Colic, 1989; Ayllon, T., How to Use Token Economy and Point Systems, 1999 (2nd Ed.).

Todays children confront parents with daily problematic behaviors involving repetitive inattention, forgetting, and manipulative clinging, whining, and emotional meltdowns. In addition, their communication with parents is often emotionally-laden involving back-talking, defiance, and in-your-face, confrontational, argumentative, and disrespectful interactions. Problematic children have low frustration, are oppositional, moody, and pay little attention to rules. While parents favor reasoning and logic in talking to a problematic child, he is impervious to such efforts. Instead, his learning style favors hands-on rather than word-oriented experiences. He needs concrete, reality-based experiences because he learns through active, two-way interaction with his parents. As it happens, parental responses to problematic behavior have unintended consequences that tend to maintain it. The focus of this workshop is two fold: first, to increase the clinical practitioners effectiveness by including a behavioral systems framework that looks at problematic behavior. The second objective is to familiarize the practitioner with the art of designing therapeutic interventions that respect the parents socio-cultural expectations and motivate them to collaborate and serve as the behavior change agents par excellence. Case studies illustrating functionally-driven strategies and tactics will be included in the workshop.




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