Teaching Verbal Behavior to Children with Developmental Disabilities
Dr. Mirela Cengher, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Abstract: Some argued that language is too complex to be explained by an operant conditioning account. Skinner challenged this assumption in Verbal Behavior (1957); however, the book was largely an exercise in interpretation and lacked direct experimental data. Since then, a growing body of research not only supported Skinner’s interpretation but helped further refine our conceptual understanding of verbal behavior. This research has been instrumental in developing effective procedures to teach verbal behavior to children with developmental disabilities, who typically have language delays. The purpose of this workshop is to overview such recent research. The central theme is the developmental sequencing of instruction that promotes learning along the simple-to-complex continuum.
Credit: 3 Learning CEUs
Best Practices and Ethics in Competency-Based BACB Supervision for Functional Behavior Assessment
Dr. Tracy Kettering, Ph.D., BCBA-D
The Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts (2020) not only requires that Behavior Analysts design and implement supervision and training procedures that are evidence based, but also that they collect data and monitor performance of supervisees and evaluate the effects of their own supervision. A recent survey of BCBAs (Hajiaghamohseni et al., 2020) regarding their supervision behaviors found that on average respondents were only sometimes engaging in behaviors that support compliance with this part of the BACB code. Competency-based supervision includes establishing a predetermined mastery criterion with specific skills, systematically teaching new skills using behavioral skills training, and assessing supervisee’s performance on an ongoing basis (Sellers et al., 2016; Turner et al., 2016). When applying competency-based supervision to the training of FBA components, there are many skills that need to be targeted, including the selection of assessments, conducting interviews, analyzing indirect assessment or direct observation data, creating visual displays of FBA information, synthesizing multiple FBA components to develop clear hypotheses, and report writing.
This workshop will begin with a discussion of competency-based supervision, the Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts (2020) related to supervision, and best practices for teaching behavior analytic clinical skills, specifically applied to Section F (Behavior Assessment) of the 5th Edition BACB Task List (2019). A sample curriculum for teaching FBA component skills will be shared and activities that can be used to teach and monitor competency with specific FBA components will be demonstrated (e.g., synthesizing and graphing data from an ABC data sheet, scoring and reporting indirect FBA rating scales, creating scatterplots using Microsoft Excel). The sample will include learning objectives for each activity, detailed instructions and materials required for completion, and a guide for supervision discussions related to that skill. We will then focus on the importance of measurement of competency to evaluate the outcomes of supervision. For those attendees interested, access to sample resources will be provided. BACB Supervision and Ethics CEUs will be provided.
Participants will identify supervision and training skills that are needed to meet the Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts
Participants will be able to describe specific activities that they can use to train and evaluate competency with FBA components during supervised experience.
Given a specific FBA competency, participants will be able to use resources provided to practice the skill and assess performance.