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.


Seventh International Conference; Merida, Mexico; 2013

Event Details

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Paper Session #5
Reviews and Criticism Related to Autism
Monday, October 7, 2013
8:30 AM–9:50 AM
Izamal (Fiesta Americana)
Area: AUT
Chair: Ira Heilveil (University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine)
The Business of Applied Behavior Analysis
Domain: Service Delivery
IRA HEILVEIL (University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine)
Abstract: Graduate programs typically do not prepare behavior analysts for practice outside of the academic setting, and business skills are not covered in the BACB task list. The author reflects on his 25 years of providing applied behavior analytic services to public and private schools, developmental centers, government agencies and individuals, which includes growing a business in the private sector from indebtedness to one of the largest independent providers in the U.S. Primary focus is placed on specific considerations for creating a financially successful and ethical business model that also maintains clinical integrity. Specific anecdotes pertaining to business and moral dilemmas are discussed, and potential pitfalls are outlined. Hiring a business manager who knows about general business practices does little to predict success, and being dependent on one may be a sure road to failure. A list of key "do's" and "don'ts" will serve as a guideline for clinicians who may have the clinical skills and preparation to succeed but not the skills for creating a successful business enterprise.
Valuing Diversity: Just Because ABA Practitioners Can Change a Behavior of Autistic Individuals, Does Not Mean that We Should
Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
RHONDA J. GREENHAW (Towson University)
Abstract: When Ivar Lovaas pioneered the use of ABA therapy for children on the autism spectrum, he was also the Principal Investigator of the Feminine Boy Project (Mountain, 2010). While these groups were at Lovaas UCLA lab for different reasons, the desired outcomes for both research programs were quite similar: to render the participants indistinguishable from typically developed peers (Rekers & Lovaas, 1974; Lovaas Institute, n.d.). While the Feminine Boys Project has been abandoned, discredited, and pilloried in the media for its abuses, Lovaas work in the field of autism has spawned a massive industry, which uses ABA to alter the behavior of children on the autism spectrum, sometimes through the use of harsh, aversive consequences. Certainly practitioners of ABA can design treatments that change behavior; however, it is imperative that the entire field of ABA analyzes past practices that have been abusive to Autistic individuals and acknowledge those. It is also important for our field to ask whether certain behaviors should be targeted at all. The field should work with Autistic individuals to help determine more appropriate outcomes based upon a better understanding of the neurological differences inherent in autism, and the value of human diversity represented in Autistic individuals.
Teaching Empathy Using Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis: A Meta-analytic Examination of Measurement and Results
Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
EMILY FALKENSTEIN (Ball State University)
Abstract: In an effort to examine systems used to teach empathy, this meta-analysis reveals variations in defining empathy as well as a wide range of assessment and measurement techniques across research studies. The concise presentation of current research presented in this paper is intended to prompt further discussion concerning the importance of agreement upon a consistent operational definition of empathy. An additional intention is to incite future opportunities for replication. Teaching methods intended to increase empathic responding of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder are compared and contrasted, highlighting the results of each. Additionally, the application of applied behavior analysis is evaluated within each teaching method, to call attention to the scientific rather than subjective approaches. While the majority of current research studies contain a small number of participants, and few replications, the trend demonstrates there are currently diverse methods which do increase empathic responding, particularly with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.



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