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 #W10
CE Offered: PSY/BACB — 
Neurobehavioral Analysis of Epilepsy
Thursday, May 25, 2017
4:00 PM–7:00 PM
Hyatt Regency, Capitol Ballroom 7
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: John C. Neill, Ph.D.
JOHN C. NEILL (Long Island University)
Description: Up to 50% of individuals with severe developmental disabilities have epilepsy. Remarkably, behavior analysts are often unaware how epilepsy impairs their client's ability to learn and remember contingencies of reinforcement. In addition, persons with epilepsy often have behavior disorders which can be exacerbated by seizures. These seizures could be managed better, and important new life skills could be acquired, if their behavior analyst knew basic epileptology. This workshop will educate behavior analysts about epilepsy with a behavioral approach. The neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and molecular events responsible for seizures and seizure-induced impairments in learning and behavior will be briefly reviewed. The etiology, genetics and classification of various seizure disorders will be reviewed. Behavioral research on several animal models of seizures will be related to analog human studies. Many clients are improperly medicated for pseudo-seizures. EEG (electroencephalography) is a crucial test for accurate diagnosis of epilepsy, and participants will learn how to prepare a client for cooperating with this test, without sedation or anesthesia. Epileptic seizures dynamically modulate an organism's ability to operate on their environment. Conversely, the environment often modulates the frequency, intensity and duration of epileptic seizures. Behavior analysts will benefit their clients who have epilepsy by learning about these relationships. Dr. Neill's articles and publications can be viewed at and
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the workshop, the participant will be able to: (1) Define an epileptic seizure; (2) Describe some of the developmental and neurological events responsible for epileptic seizures; (3) Recognize the importance of measuring the effects of seizures on learning and behavior; (4) Objectively describe, count and time seizures in relation to environmental conditions; (5) Recognize the importance of reviewing a client's history to determine etiology, and its particular impact on behavioral progress; (6) Recognize the effects of the environment on epileptic seizures; (7) Prepare a client for cooperating with EEG tests, without sedation or anesthesia; (8) Discriminate pseudoepileptic versus epileptic seizures; (9) Manage learning and behavior disorders effectively in clients with epilepsy.
Activities: Lecture and video presentations will alternate with discussions of key topics and audience questions and experiences regarding epilepsy.
Audience: Applied behavior analysts, special education teachers, psychologists and therapists who write behavior plans for individuals with developmental disabilities
Content Area: Methodology
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): autism, behavior disorders, epilepsy, seizures



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