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 #W13
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Medication and Applied Behavior Analysis: Best When Taken Together
Thursday, May 25, 2017
4:00 PM–7:00 PM
Hyatt Regency, Centennial Ballroom E
Area: BPN/CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Elizabeth Dayton, M.S.
ANNA MARIE DIPIETRO (Melmark), ELIZABETH DAYTON (Melmark), JENNIFER QUIGLEY (Melmark; The Chicago School of Professional Psycho), TIMOTHY NIPE (Melmark; Endicott College)
Description: In clinical practice, psychiatric practitioners and board certified behavior analysts (BCBA) often make changes to an individuals medication and behavioral treatment packages without much collaboration between the two disciplines. Integrated efforts in the fields of psychiatry and behavior analysis are sparse in both the research literature as well as within applied settings. The potential benefits of collaboration between psychiatry and behavior analysis include more complete designs to evaluate treatment effect and more in-depth measures of behavioral changes and side effects (Blum et al., 1996). Connor & McLaughlin (2005) found that multiple and complex medication regimens could be reduced in (1) a structured and therapeutic residential environment, (2) the use of best practice prescribing guidelines, (3) long lengths of stay. The Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) at Melmark specializes in the assessment and treatment of severe and treatment resistant challenging behavior for children with intellectual disability and co-morbid psychiatric/neurological disorders. Through collaboration between BCBAs and the prescribing psychiatric nurse practitioner, polypharmacy has been reduced by 36%. This workshop will focus on medication education and will suggest methods to facilitate communication between BCBAs and prescribers.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will be able to: (1) understand classes of psychotropic medication, intended uses, potential side effects, and other considerations as applicable to clinical practice; (2) communicate effectively with prescribers, including presenting relevant behavioral data and engaging in meaningful and productive discussion; (3) utilize single-subject design in collaboration with prescribers to assess relevant behavior and medication effect.
Activities: Instructional strategies include: lecture addressing medication education and relevant background information by a prescriber; discussion targeting group experience and barriers to effective communication and collaboration; modeling of effective communication between the prescriber and behavior analysts; small group breakout sessions in which participants will role play effective communication with a prescriber with oversight by medication prescriber and behavior analysts; supplemental materials including a quick reference guide to medication information presented and handouts to guide practitioners in the discussion of relevant data with prescribers.
Audience: The target audience for this workshop includes BCBAs, behavior analysts, clinicians, and related practitioners who interact with medication prescribers including psychiatrists and nurse practitioners or anyone interested in learning about psychotropic medications, their use in applied settings, and how behavior analysis can enhance prescribing practices.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): ABA, collaboration, medication, pharmacology



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