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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #76
CE Offered: BACB
Behaving and ACTing Great: Infusing Components from Acceptance and Commitment Training in Our Behavioral Work
Saturday, May 24, 2014
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
W184d (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: PRA/CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Charles Kate Dingus (University of Mississippi)
Discussant: Catherine H Adams (Private Practice, Jonesboro, AR)
CE Instructor: Joshua K. Pritchard, Ph.D.

Behavior change is hard for humans. From discrete trial training to parent training we see humans trying to change their own behavior in such a way as to foster behavior change in another. From discrete trials to parent training, we see humans struggling with changing and with being changed. Integrating components of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or Training (ACT) may be a way to direct and dignify the hard work of behavioral interventions. This symposium will explore the conceptual and practical implications of this idea. The first paper focuses on understanding the detrimental role relational responding can have on application and integrity of implementation of behavioral parenting techniques. The second paper reviews a method of using ACT bibliotherapy to help supercharge a behavior analytic approach to severe problem behavior with people diagnosed with developmental disabilities. The third presents a parent training program that integrates ACT with practical, research-based parenting tools. The final paper discusses the utility of values, acceptance, and mindfulness techniques.

Keyword(s): ACT, Parent Training

Skills Training is Not Enough in Behavioral Parent Training: Utilizing ACT to Positively Affect Parenting Practices

JILL DEFREITAS (University of South Florida), Timothy M. Weil (University of South Florida)

The literature on Behavioral Parent Training is extant; however, it is well know that there is a wide chasm between parents' ability to learn the skill sets and their subsequent ability to implement the skills when the going gets tough. This paper is designed to focus clinicians' efforts towards understanding the detrimental role relational responding can have on application and integrity of implementation of behavioral parenting techniques. Through work in the area of values identification and viewing rules that may function as motivative operations (motivative augmentals), it may be possible to positively affect parents' views of parenting ability in difficult situations, and improve parenting skills implementation. Following this paper, audience members will understand the role and impact that values and rule governance may have on our performance and be able to identify how to work with parents on established self-rules in an effort to impact motivative function (motivative augmentals) and result in performance change in parenting interventions.


When M&Ms Just Don't Cut it Anymore! Using ACT to Enhance Your Behavior Analytic Programming

JOSHUA K. PRITCHARD (Florida Institute of Technology)

Sometimes it feels that reinforcement just isnt working, and in these times we might consider infusing language to amplify our traditional behavioral approaches. Behavior analysts have a long history of being some of the only few people who can help improve the lives of those diagnosed with developmental disabilities and autism. However, there are some folks with good language skills who sit on the cusp of this population that often present with little to no disability. These are tough cases, even for an experienced behavior analyst. The persons verbal behavior can often become a barrier to the good implementation of typically effective behavior analytic treatment or may even hamper its efficacy. In this paper, we will examine a particularly case in which this has happened and explore (through role-play and discussion) how to use ACT tools with people in this population to increase the efficacy and efficiency of behavioral treatment.

Integrating Heart and Science in Parent Training: Combining Parent Training with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
KATHERINE SANDRA MACLEOD (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Research indicates that parents of children with developmental disabilities, experience stress scores that are significantly elevated (Tomanik & Harris, 2004). Many parent training programs teach behavior management skills to deal with a range of child behaviors. However, parents may fail to implement these interventions because of feelings of guilt and helplessness. Parent training using punitive or non function-based approaches is sometimes difficult for parents especially if they are uncomfortable with their own feelings and stressors. Strictly didactic approaches to teaching typically do not generalize to home environments. This presentation discusses integrating ACT with practical, research-based parenting tools. Parents learn mindfulness, values and acceptance skill repertoires along with positive parenting skills for improving child behavior. Using principles of applied behavior analysis in a curriculum developed by the Behavior Analysis Services Program in Florida, parents learn five critical parenting skills and how to bring mindfulness, acceptance and their values into their daily interactions. Skills are practiced in class in a supportive and interactive classroom format over five weeks. Instructors model and encourage the skills using video, role-play, and active parent participation. Data are collected on child behavior, parent competency on implanting the skills and in parent stress reduction pre and post training.
Values, Acceptance and Mindfulness with Parents of Children Diagnosed with Autism
LESLIE ROGERS (State of Louisiana)
Abstract: Research suggests that parenting children diagnosed with Autism and other developmental disabilities can be a significant stressor and source of distress for parents. Parents of children diagnosed with Autism frequently report experiencing significantly more stress than parents children without developmental disabilities. Parents of children diagnosed with Autism also report experiencing significantly more isolation from their communities as well as decreased social support. A growing body of literature suggests that acceptance and mindfulness interventions may be effective at decreasing distress, including parental distress. Discussed in this presentation will be newer research and literature regarding values, acceptance and mindfulness techniques/therapies used to decrease parenting distress when they are coping with severe challenging behaviors and other parental stressors. The utility of values, acceptance and mindfulness in informing functional assessments, implementing behavioral prevention/intervention strategies, and increase parenting behavioral effectiveness in the face of severe challenging behaviors and other parental stressors will also be discussed.



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