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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W42
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Towards Identifying, Shaping, and Maintaining Professional Soft Skills for Behavior-Analytic Practitioners
Friday, May 26, 2017
8:00 AM–3:00 PM
Hyatt Regency, Mineral Hall E
Area: AUT/PRA; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Jana M. Sarno, M.A.
JANA M. SARNO (Autism Home Support Services), KATRINA OSTMEYER (Integrated Behavioral Technologies, Inc.), LINDA S. HEITZMAN-POWELL (The University of Kansas Medical Center)
Description: Soft skills are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people such as effective problem-solving, active listening, managing transitions/change, and collaboration skills. Beyond technical abilities, soft skills are imperative as behavior analysts initiate, develop, and sustain relationships with clients and families. Going a step further, it is not enough to identify and design effective and sustainable interventions; rather, clinical effectiveness also hinges on the ability of the behavior analyst to master more traditional psychology domains (e.g., active listening, establishing a therapeutic relationship, giving and receiving feedback from others, and promoting parent acceptability/treatment adherence; Heitzman-Powell, White, & Perrin, 2007). Soft skills, like technical skills, can be introduced, acquired, and shaped in our professional repertoires, using Behavioral Skills Training (BST). Specifically, the soft skills of active listening, giving feedback, receiving feedback, leadership, collaboration, and managing change/transitions will be discussed. A curriculum using BST will be provided to conceptualize, teach, and maintain professional soft skills. The curriculum includes task analyses for each skill, lecture materials, role-play opportunities, observations, and performance feedback. Data will also be presented from pilot projects using this curriculum
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will be able to: (1) Define at least three behavior analytic principles that are used in the conceptualization of soft skills; (2) Provide a behavior analytic definition of six key soft skills; (3) Define and describe key behaviors that are to be exhibited for successful demonstration of six key soft skills; (4) Engage in identified behaviors for each of the six key soft skills through role play scenarios, as measured by the completion of the task analysis checklist.
Activities: Workshop objectives will be met through various methods including lecture with supporting materials (i.e., task analyses, review and coding of videos, and survey measures), role-play opportunities with feedback from the workshop presenters, and small- and whole-group discussions. Competency checks and active responding by participants during the workshop will also occur.
Audience: BCBAs; Supervisors, Licensed Behavior Analysts, and BCaBAs
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): professional development



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