Speaker: Dr. Jason Vladescu, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Title: Training, Maintenance, and Other Adventures in Supporting Caregivers and Medical Personnel to Adhere with Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment

Abstract: An individual’s potential may only be fully realized if they survive childhood. Substantial public health efforts have decreased childhood deaths due to diseases, however, unintentional injuries continue to be the leading cause of death for children in the United States. Although the specific causes of these deaths vary, a substantial proportion appear to be preventable. The focus of this talk is on sleep-related infant deaths. A discussion of recommended infant sleep practices, a description of and data supporting our efforts to support caregivers and medical personnel, and examples of collaborative opportunities and future directions will be included.

Speaker: Dr. Ji Young Kim, Ph.D., BCBA-D

TitleMastery Criteria Promoting Efficiency and Maintenance

Abstract: Practitioners in the field of behavior analysis make daily instructional decisions such as what to teach, how to teach, and, ultimately, when to determine a new skill is learned. Research has shown that the most commonly used criteria to determine skill acquisition in application (i.e., 80% across 3 sessions) do not match empirically supported best practice (i.e., at least 90%). More recent research on mastery criteria started to investigate this disparity with respect to response acquisition efficiency and maintenance of learned skills. This talk will discuss research on mastery criteria with a focus on (a) the recent advances in our understanding of mastery criteria and (b) recommendations on how to arrange mastery criteria in practice that promote efficient acquisition and maintenance of skills.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about the recent advances in our understanding of mastery criteria,
  • And learn how to arrange mastery criteria in practice that promote efficient acquisition and maintenance.

Speaker: Dr. Kimberly Schreck, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Title: Navigating an Ethical, Behavioral Worldview in Uncharted and Hazardous Waters 

Abstract: Navigating clinical ABA practice can be difficult with ongoing exposure to the variety of non-ABA interventions, marketed and packaged ABA interventions, and newly developed ABA applications. On their clinical journey, behavior analysts may encounter hazardous situations (e.g., requests to use non-evidence based treatments within collaborative situations or surviving attacks against ABA) or unclear and uncharted waters (i.e., possibly appropriate and ethical, but not yet scientifically supported treatments). Navigating these uncharted, and possibly hazardous, waters requires significant ethical knowledge and strategies. This presentation will provide participants with information about (a) how behavior analysts may be struggling within their clinical practices, (b) the obstacles they may encounter resulting in ethical misdirection, (c) ethical guidelines related to the necessity for scientific, evidence-based clinical practice, and (d) navigational strategies to lead them to ethical behavior

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify trends in behavior analysts’ use of evidence-based and non-evidence based treatments and obstacles to ethical behavior.
  •  Identify the ethical guidelines related to using non-evidence and evidence-based treatments in behavior analysis practice. 
  • Provide strategies for navigating these uncharted and hazardous waters.  

Speaker: Dr. Mirela Cengher, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Title: Bilingualism in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Abstract: As many as 21% of school-age children in the United States of America speak a language other than English at home. Research shows that bilingualism does not lead to language delays in children with autism spectrum disorder; however, researchers only recently began to explore procedures to teach two languages to this population. This talk will discuss recent research on bilingualism, with a focus on (a) the optimal order of teaching languages, (b) teaching across different verbal operants, and (c) the development of teaching procedures that promote transfer across verbal operants.  

Learning Objectives: After attending this talk, participants are expected to:

  • Understand what bilingualism is, and that learning two languages is not an additive process but rather an interactive one. 
  • Learn about the optimal order of teaching languages to children with ASD.
  • Learn how to program instruction to promote the acquisition of verbal operants in two languages, as well as transfer across verbal operants in two languages.

Speaker: Dr. Rick Kubina, PH.D., BCBA-D

Title: Comparing the detection accuracy of operational definitions and pinpoints

Abstract:  Operational definitions have a significant history in applied behavior analysis. The practice's importance stems from the role operational definitions play in detecting an event, human thought, or action. While operationalizing target behaviors has enjoyed widespread practice, some concerns have recently arisen with translation validity and detection accuracy. Additionally, a review of the literature produces few articles assessing the validity of operational definitions. Pinpoints represent an alternative for describing target behaviors. A pinpoint has a formula for construction that includes using an action verb, an object or event that receives the action, and a comprehensibly defined context where the observation of the action verb + object or event occurs. Pinpoints also have few empirical studies demonstrating their validity. The following experiment compared the detection accuracy of an operational definition for self-injurious behavior and a corresponding pinpoint across professionals who worked in a school that served clients with autism spectrum disorder. The results indicate lower accuracy scores for the operational definition when compared to the pinpoint. Additionally, the consistency of scores varied more for the operational definition than the pinpoint. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will select the definition of an operational definition.
  • Participants will select the definition of a pinpoint.
  • Participants will classify examples of poorly written operational definitions.

Speaker: Dr. Tracy Kettering, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Title: Medical and Biological Influences on Challenging Behavior

Abstract: Individuals with autism, especially those diagnosed with an Intellectual Disability (ID) have a high rate of co-occurring medical conditions, including epilepsy, gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, and sleep disorders, and many studies have documented relationships between challenging behavior and underlying medical or biological influences (e.g., May & Kennedy, 2010). This presentation will focus on identifying medical influences that may contribute to challenging behavior. Resources and recommendations for data collection and analysis will be provided.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will identify indicators that a behavior may have medical or biological influences.
  • Participants will be able to describe how behavioral data can be used to help identify health problems in individuals with autism.
  • Participants will describe resources that can be used to identify medical influences on behavior.