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

Event Details

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Symposium #472
CE Offered: BACB — 
Towards Higher Standards for the Practice of Behavior Analysis
Monday, May 29, 2017
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 1A/B
Area: DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Jennifer Lynn Hammond (Center for Applied Behavior Analysis (CABA))
Discussant: Michele D. Wallace (California State University, Los Angeles)
CE Instructor: Jennifer Lynn Hammond, Ph.D.

The current symposium centers around topics related to the necessary skills required to provide effective behavior analytic services, and the extent to which our field is potentially equipped to this end. Special attention will be paid to practitioners who support individuals who exhibit severely challenging behaviors in the home and community settings, however, each presentation includes implications for practitioners across a range of settings and populations. The first is a discussion paper on the recent increase in publications regarding the current standards for graduate training and the supervision of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), as well as the potential divide between science and practice within the field of behavior analysis. The second paper focuses on the outcomes of a survey designed to extend previous research on the various types of staff and supervisory training, as well as performance management procedures offered to BACB certificants actively working in the applied setting.

Instruction Level: Intermediate

The Potential Impact ofa Divide Between Science and Practice in the Field of Behavior Analysis

BENJAMIN THOMAS HEIMANN (CABA), Rachel Taylor (Center for Applied Behavior Analysis)

There has been a recent increase in publications related to increasing the standards for 1) graduate training programs in ABA (e.g., Dixon, Reed, Smith, & LaMarca, 2015) and 2) supervision of individuals pursuing BCBA certification (e.g., Turner, Fischer, & Luiselli, 2016). Carr (2016) suggested a potential deficit of over 55,000 BCBAs to meet the growing need for behavior analytic services, making these discussions related to the quality of graduate training and BCBA trainee supervision extremely important. However, there has been relatively less attention paid to issues associated with ensuring on-going training for individuals who have already completed graduate school and have obtained their BCBA. By definition, as the demand for behavior analytic services increases, it may be reasonable to expect increased expertise in the practitioner skill set maintained by BCBAs. The purpose of the current paper is two-fold: 1) to review the recent publications on issues related to training behavior analysts, and to extend this discussion to the on-going supervision of BCBAs, and 2) to provide suggestions for supporting the on-going development of BCBAs who are faced with increasingly complex clinical issues. These topics will be addressed with respect to recent publications regarding the potential divide between science and practice within the field of behavior analysis (e.g., Critchfield, 2015b).


Quality Control: An Assessment of the Current Status of Supervision for Behavior Analysts

RICHARD COLOMBO (Center for ABA), Rachel Taylor (Center for Applied Behavior Analysis), Jennifer Lynn Hammond (Center for Applied Behavior Analysis (CABA))

The purpose of the current investigation was to extend previous research on the various types of staff and supervisory training and performance management procedures offered to BACB certificants. Reed and Henley (2015) surveyed 382 individuals to this end, and their results suggest several areas that require increased attention; in particular, half of the respondents indicated that they did not receive initial pre-service training and nearly one third of respondents indicated that they do not receive on-going training in their work setting. The outcomes of Reed and Henley's investigation provide several valuable avenues for future research and practice. It is important to note, however, that only 18.9% of respondents reported that they work in the home setting (the remainder worked in center/school-based programs). Community-based practitioners are operating under far different contingencies than those who work in a group setting, which directly impacts issues related to staff training and performance management. Moreover, the topography and severity of challenging behaviors may differ across the home and school settings for a given individual. As such, the purpose of the current investigation was to extend Reed and Henley to include 1) more BCBA respondents who practice in the home setting and 2) more data on the frequency and nature of training and supervision received and provided by the respondents (with particular attention to severely challenging behaviors). Potential benefits associated with establishing a more robust definition of on-going training and performance management will be discussed. Implications for the concept of "Continuing Education" also will be presented.




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