Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis InternationalĀ® (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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #59
CE Offered: BACB
Social Skills Groups: How to Support a Growing Need for Group Behavior Analytic Therapy
Saturday, May 23, 2020
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 2, Room 201
Area: AUT/CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Christina M. Countie (Simmons University; Child Communication and Behavior Specialists)
Discussant: Christina M. Countie (Simmons University; CCBS)
CE Instructor: Christina M. Countie, M.S.

How to structure social skills groups across ages and skill levels has been a challenge for many behavior analysts. There are limited evidence-based curriculums and assessments, so clinicians are often found creating curriculums, goals, assessments and data collection systems on their own. Doing so takes up a great deal of time for an already stretched thin behavior analyst. We aim to alleviate some of this burden by offering case studies shown to have had effective treatment to address social skills, resources regarding evidence-based curriculums as well as for individualized goals, assessments to verify the presence of pre-requisite skills, progress and caregiver stress prior to and after treatment, and finally logistical recommendations for the overall success of the group. We will then provide information on how to incorporate caregivers and support their skill development in the non-traditional applied behavior analysis social skills group structure and lastly will pose recommendations for future research and directions of social skills groups. Key Words: Social Skills, Group Therapy, Autism, Behavior Systems

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Autism, Behavior Systems, Social Skills
Target Audience:

BCBAs, BCaBAs, Graduate students

Learning Objectives: 1) Participants will acquire and be able to implement various methods of group reinforcement systems as they relate to social skills groups 2) Participants will outline a process for initially implementing social skills groups as well as ongoing 3) Participants will outline necessary components of caregiver training as it relates to social skills groups 4) Participants will define evidence-based curriculums for social skills groups
Social Skills Groups: Where to Start and Where to go From There
ALEC JAMEES UNDERWOOD (National University; Child Communication and Behavior Specialists)
Abstract: So you want to start a social skills group? A common statement is, "...but I don't even know where to start!" There are several factors to consider before diving in. These include but certainly may not be limited to: An environment conducive for group therapy, the age groups that will be offered group therapy, assessments to analyze a potential participant's current skills and whether the necessary pre-requisites have been met, and the competency of the clinician(s) leading the group. This symposium will provide relevant logistical information for initial set up of a group or series of groups, assessment tools, methods for measurement, considerations for designation of placement and suggested areas of competence of the clinician(s). Audience members will have a start to finish guide and resources to set up their own groups across a variety of ages and skill levels. Key Words: Social Skills, Group Therapy
Social Skills Groups and Group Contingencies: What Works?
MIKAYA TULCHINSKY (Child Communication and Behavior Specialists)
Abstract: Social skills groups are becoming higher in demand. With that demand comes increased need for the development and implementation of group-based systems of reinforcement. Historically, applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy is provided on a one to one basis and reinforcers are individualized to that one client. Now that there is an increase in need for children, adolescents, and adults to have an effective and evidence-based group therapy, how does one ensure that the individuals are still coming into contact with reinforcement and are motivated to come back to sessions? This symposium will outline several case studies spanning age groups and systems of reinforcement. Audience members will be provided with tools and resources to support their social skills groups and better ensure engagement and skill development. Key Words: Autism; Social Skills; Group Therapy
Evidence-Based Social Skills Group Curriculums and Client Outcomes
ABRAHAM SANCHEZ (Child Communication and Behavior Specialists)
Abstract: No need to reinvent the wheel, the fields of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) offer evidence-based curriculums for social skills group. This symposium will provide an overview of two curriculums and case studies outlining the effects these curriculums had on achieving mastery of crucial skills. Since social skills groups can be effective for a wide range of ages, the presenter will discuss appropriate pre-requisite skills for each curriculum. Additionally, once a participant graduates, suggestions for generalization and maintenance of the skills will be provided. Have you ever heard, "Sure he/she does that with you, but not with me"? We offer strategies to promote caregiver involvement and skill development as it aligns with each curriculum, age group, and better ensuring generalization and maintenance of the client's skills.
Caregiver Stress: How Social Skills Groups in Hand With Caregiver Training Can Decrease Caregiver Stress
JENNA MARIE RABE (Capella University; Child Communication and Behavior Specialists)
Abstract: The stress of caregivers of those affected by autism and other developmental disabilities is often greater than those of caregivers of typically developing children. As behavior analysts, we strive to ensure we are addressing socially significant behaviors and ultimately increasing the family unit's quality of life. When clients are primarily serviced in a group format, caregivers may be an afterthought. Thus, unaware of what their child is learning as well as unable to support their child's skill development. This symposium aims to offer a process to acquire caregiver involvement, tools including those offered by applied behavior analysis (ABA) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to ultimately reduce caregiver stress. As a result of this symposium, audience members will take away with them a process for caregiver training as it relates to social skills groups.



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