Conference Speakers

VABA is Looking Forward to Welcoming our 2021 Conference Speakers!

VABA is excited to announce our speakers!  Click below for more information on each speaker

Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi BIO AND KEYNOTE

Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi, Ed.D., BCBA

Biography: Dr. Cirincione-Ulezi is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, with a Doctorate degree in Education from Loyola University of Chicago. She holds a Master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a Master's degree in Educational Leadership from the American College of Education. She is a graduate of the Infant Studies Specialist program at Erikson Institute of Chicago. In addition to her BCBA credential, she is an Illinois licensed special education teacher and an Illinois Early Intervention provider and State evaluator. Professionally, she has served as a special educator, clinician, educational administrator and professor of special education. Her clinical experience spans infancy through adulthood. Currently, she is the CEO & Founder of ULEZI, LLC, and Co-Founder and CEO of Pivot 2 Inclusion. She serves as an Advisory Board Member for Black Applied Behavior Analysts, Board member the ABAI Affiliate Chapters and a Board member for the Illinois Association for Behavior Analysis. She is a long time champion for diversity, equity and inclusion and is deeply committed to using her skills and experiences, paired with the science of applied behavior analysis, to assist, empower and transform the lives of the people she supports and serves, in positive and meaningful ways.

Keynote: LEADERSHIP AS A VALUE (1.5 Supervision CEUs)

In 2020 the field of behavior analysis was met with unprecedented challenges. Across all levels and positions, there was a call to action for leaders to take the helm and address issues around racial injustice and a global pandemic. These challenges have served as an impetus for stakeholders in the field of behavior analysis to move beyond the widely held conceptual understanding of leadership as a title or position and towards embracing leadership as a value that can be lived by everyone. During this Keynote Dr. Cirincione- Ulezi will discuss living leadership as a value in the field of behavior analysis by practicing with cultural humility, engaging in reflective practice and embracing courage.

Dr. Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi WORKSHOP


In this 3 hour workshop using an ACT framework Dr. Cirincione-Ulezi will provide participants with practical and effective tools for identifying their personal values in leadership.

1. Participants will identify a behavioral understanding of values from a Relational Frame Theory RFTJ and Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) perspective.
2. Participants will identify three values they wish to embody as a leader and state observable criteria for what it looks like to behave consistent with those values.
3. Participants will use the ACT matrix to identify internal thoughts and external behaviors that move them towards or away from their values related to leadership.
4. Participant will begin to develop their own purpose as a leader in observable terms by stating one possible purpose.

For this workshop, Scott Herbst will be joining Dr. Cirincione-Ulezi.

Scott Herbst, PhD, BCBA

Biography: Scott Herbst, PhD, BCBA is Co Founder and Chief Programming Officer for Pivot 2 Inclusion, a consulting firm that assists organizations in creating environments for inclusion and equality. He earned his PhD at the University of Nevada, has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications in the areas of leadership development, organizational systems, Relational Frame Theory, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. He is currently on the editorial boards of Journal of Organizational Behavior Management and Behavior and Social Issues. In his role with Pivot 2 Inclusion, he is accountable for the design and delivery of programs in which people discover their own biases and the impact those have on themselves and others, so that they are able to take on new practices that are consistent with a commitment to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive world.


T. V. Joe Layng

Biography: T. V. Joe Layng has 50 years of experience in the experimental and applied analysis of behavior with a particular focus on the design of teaching/learning environments. As an undergraduate in 1971, he founded the Center for Innovative Design and Programed Instruction at Western Illinois University, which programed 19 university courses and provided campus wide student learning centers. A few years later working with psychiatric in-patients Joe established a constructional research/treatment program, the Personal Effectiveness Group, at the Institute of Psychiatry, Northwestern University Medical Center. With Israel Goldiamond as his advisor he eventually earned a Ph.D. in Behavioral Science (biopsychology) at the University of Chicago. At Chicago, working with pigeons, Joe investigated animal models of psychopathology, specifically the recurrence of unreinforced pathological patterns (head-banging) as a function of normal behavioral processes. Also at Chicago he contributed to the discovery and characterization of the behavioral process known as contingency adduction. Joe continued his clinical work while at Chicago with a focus on ambulatory schizophrenia, and the development of topical and systemic interventions. Joe went on in 1984 to found Enabling Technologies, a software firm that produced the first use of gamification to teach business software, as well as an array of business software and graphic design products. In the 1990s, Joe was Director of Academic Support and then Dean at Malcolm X College in Chicago where he founded the award winning Personalized Curriculum Institute. In 1999, he co-founded Headsprout. At Headsprout, Joe led the scientific team that developed the patented technology that formed the basis of the company’s patented Early Reading and Reading Comprehension adaptive, online reading programs, for which he was the chief architect. Joe has published over 50 articles and chapters, a programed text introducing Signal Detection Theory, and most recently coauthored the book Nonlinear Contingency Analysis: Going Beyond Cognition and Behavior in Clinical Practice. Joe is a recipient of the APA Div 25 Fred S Keller Behavioral Education Award and is a fellow of the Association for Behavior Analysis International. He is currently a partner in Generategy, LLC, and is Chair, Board of Trustees, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.


From its earliest days behavior analysis has attempted to develop procedures to address behavior of clinical interest. Today, solutions often embrace both cognitive as well as behavioral interventions as exemplified by a range of therapies often described as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). We see this trend even with therapies arising out of a more behavioral tradition such Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP), Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). While each has been able to have some good effect, all have the limitations of a “linear analysis,” that is, they often fail to explicitly consider the full contingency context. To understand that context we must consider the “joint effect” of the costs and benefits of the disturbing pattern and the costs and benefits of the available alternative patterns, a “nonlinear contingency analysis.” Further, other contingency matrices can “potentiate” the disturbing matrix, thereby creating the possibility that the disturbing pattern, including any related thoughts and feelings, can be understood and changed “systemically” without directly addressing the presenting symptoms. Through a nonlinear contingency analysis, we can move beyond linear analyses and “topical” interventions, and in the process reduce the growing reliance on hypothetical constructs such as dysfunctional rules, self-defeating thoughts, and private/cognitive escape or avoidance in clinical practice.

Dr. T V Joe Layng WORKSHOP


This workshop will introduce participants to the steps required for building quality instruction. After determining instruction is appropriate (Do I really have a performance problem?), the design process includes

1) content analysis based on the types of learning,

2) writing objectives,

3) creating test items,

4) finding the right starting point for instruction and specifying prerequisites,

5) designing instructional sequences, and

6) ongoing program evaluation and revision.

Participants will distinguish between active student responding and meaningful student responding and why instructional design has, for the most part, abandoned prompting as an instructional strategy. Upon completion of the workshop attendees will be provided with a link to free self-study courses that will allow them to mastery the areas and processes described.

Adrienne Bradley BREAKOUT #1A

Adrienne Bradley, M.Ed, BCBA, LBA

Biography: Adrienne Bradley graduated from Central Michigan University, in 2014 with a Bachelors in Exercise Science, and a minor in Psychology. After college she began working within the public school systems, where she found there was a need for services with students who were diagnosed with Autism. This is where her love for Applied Behavior Analysis began. In December 2016, Adrienne began her masters at Wayne State University. She graduated in December 2018 with a masters in Education Psychology, and a concentration in Applied Behavioral Analysis, then became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in August of 2018. She has experience working with children and adolescents within the home, school, and clinic settings. Adrienne has experience in teaching coursework within ABA and being heavily involved in the community. Adrienne's focus has been to provide education, experiences, and disseminate ABA to underserved communities.


Prior research has demonstrated both the efficacy of behavioral parent training in effectively teaching parent skill implementation; and of an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) based training program in improving perceived parenting abilities.  The purpose of the presentation will be to assess current BCBA perspectives towards difficult parent training and using ACT principles to achieve more collaborative and efficient parent training strategies.  ACT based training component, following a behavioral parent training, in increasing participant integrity of skill implementation.
1. The audience will be able to identify basic ACT principles
2. The audience will be able to recognize ethical and effective strategies towards parent training
3. The audience will be able to reflect on current behaviors that may be a barrier to effective parent training.

Dr. Rachel Potter BREAKOUT #1B

Rachel Potter, BCBA-D, LBA, IBA

Biography: Dr. Rachel Potter is Director of Applied Behavior Analysis & Autism Studies, and Associate Professor of Education at Mary Baldwin University. With experience in general education, special education, K12 administration, behavior analysis, and higher education, Dr. Potter is a passionate advocate for effective pedagogy, technology-centered teaching and learning, open educational resources, and dissemination of best practice. Dr. Potter’s areas of ABA-related experience include early intervention, autism, incarcerated/detained youth, and a growing new interest in behavioral gerontology. Her degrees are from the College of William & Mary and the University of Virginia; she has been a BCBA-D since 2013.


Many educational resources used in college and university ABA courses are cost prohibitive for some students, in turn impacting access and equity related to course requirements and successful learning outcomes. Additionally, examination of authorship of these items reflect that these books and supplemental materials are predominantly written by those sharing common gender, sexual orientation, native language, and race/ethnicity. When these same resources are utilized in the process of supervision, learners face similar lack of diversity in the references and resources supporting their entry into the field. Available resources do not (yet) adequately represent the diversity of practitioners in ABA or those aspiring to become such. Curation and creation of Open Educational Resources (OER) by students and supervisees can provide an opportunity to address some of these concerns. In addition to breaking down cost-barriers associated with pricey resources, OER provide the flexibility for access, use, modification, and redistribution while reflecting the diverse lived experiences of their creators. This presentation will share several strategies of how intentional, anti-bias open pedagogical practices with students and supervisees can be ethically implemented by faculty and by supervisors to support ABA learning and supervision goals.

When this session is complete, learners will be able to:

a) Identify the basic permissions provided under open licenses, and benefits of use with students and supervisees in ABA training and education,

b) Describe how student-creation and curation (or supervisee-creation and curation) of OER provide opportunities for enhanced cultural context that reflects the student body or supervisees while supporting learning/supervision goals, and

c) Describe and consider implementation of replicable strategies that support the promotion of equity and inclusion to OER in this discipline.

Dr. Christine Barthold BREAKOUT #2A

Christine Hoffner Barthold, Ph.D., BCBA-D, CHC, CPT, Pn1 LBA

Biography: Christine Barthold started her career in behavior analysis on the Biobehavioral Unit at Children’s Seashore House in 1995.  It was there she first learned about the Operant Chamber and the intersect between basic and applied research. After receiving her Master’s in Special Education from Temple University, she did her doctoral work in autism and behavior analysis at the University of Maryland, College Park.  It was while at UMD that she was fortunate enough to study basic concepts and principles with Dr. A. Charles Catania.  Chris considers Charlie one of her mentors and has assisted him with several presentations at the Association for Behavior Analysis International.

Chris received her BCBA in 2001 and is currently a BCBA-D. She also holds Certifications as a Personal Trainer and Health Coach from the American Council on Exercise, Trauma-informed Interventions and Compassion Fatigue, and as a Precision Nutrition Level One Coach. She is currently in her last semester as a student in the Personal Training Program at Northern VA Community College.

In addition to her work as Academic Program Coordinator for the ABA Program at George Mason University, she keeps a private practice. Recently, Chris began working with TeamABA, a company that uses ABA to improve health, wellness, and sports behavior.  She also provides supervision for behavior analysis students wishing to learn about how ABA can be applied to health and wellness coaching.


We stand on the shoulders of giants.  Even Skinner stood on the shoulders of individuals such as Thorndike, Watson, and Pavlov. Each of the basic principles we use and take for granted in ABA has its roots in both conceptual and basic behavior analysis. In this presentation, we will look at the history of basic research, how it informs concepts and principles as well as applied practice. Attendees will learn about seminal basic research projects and analyze them in their historical and cultural context.  Modern basic research, such as that on Relational Frame Theory (RFT) will be included.

Daniel Irwin and Dr. Selena Layden BREAKOUT #2B

Daniel Irwin, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA and Selena J. Layden, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA

Biographies: Daniel Irwin is the Education Specialist for Autism, Intellectual Disabilities, and Assistive Technology for the Virginia Department of Education. Daniel is the project lead for the Applied Studies Diploma and is the project manager for Virginia Commonwealth University’s Autism Center for Excellence (VCU-ACE), the Virginia Public Schools Behavior Analyst Network and the Assistive Technology Network. He is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and has worked as an educator and instructional coach in public and private school settings. He has worked with the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as Virginia Commonwealth University’s Autism Centers for Excellence.

Selena J. Layden, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Disorders and Special Education at Old Dominion University. Dr. Layden earned her doctorate degree from the College of William & Mary in Education Policy, Planning, and Leadership with an emphasis in Special Education Administration and her master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. Prior to joining the faculty at ODU, Dr. Layden worked in multiple school divisions focusing on challenging behavior and children with autism spectrum disorder. She was also the Assistant Director of Training at the Autism Center for Excellence at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Layden’s research interests focus on autism spectrum disorder, providing effective professional development for school personnel, and improving the implementation of evidence-based practices in schools.


This 50-minute presentation will review HB 1722 and the resulting guidance from the Virginia Department of Education related to the provision of applied behavior analytic services in public schools. While discussing the importance of promoting behavior analysis in public schools, we will examine considerations for behavior analysts who would like to provide services in the public schools along with tips for forming and maintaining collaborative partnerships between school division professionals and private behavior analysts. Participants attending this presentation will be able to:

1. Describe the house bill and resulting guidance from the Virginia Department of Education
2. List at least three considerations regarding services provision within public school divisions
3. Identify at least three factors that influence forming and maintaining a collaborative partnership between school division professionals and private behavior analysts

Hannah Johnson, Ansley Kiser, Alicia Faller, and Lisa Rhodes BREAKOUT #3A

Hannah Johnson M.A., BCBA, LBA
Ansley Kiser, M.A.T., BCBA, LBA
Alicia Faller, M.A., BCBA, LBA
Lisa M. Rhodes, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA

Biographies: Hannah Johnson holds a Master’s degree in School Psychology from James Madison University in Virginia (2011), a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Goshen College in Indiana (2008), and she completed the BACB Approved Course Sequence through Florida Institute of Technology via distance-learning (2016). Since becoming certified in 2016, she has worked as one of four embedded BCBAs within Rockingham County Public Schools through the Shenandoah Valley Regional Program where she serves in a variety of capacities including as a member of the Tiered Systems of Support Innovation Subcommittee, a division representative for the Community of Leaders in Autism, a classroom coach for evidence-based practices in Level 2 Special Education classrooms, member of many IEP teams, and as the BCBA assigned to many FBA/BIP teams for students with severe behavioral concerns. She is passionate about improving the division’s capacity to sustain data driven decision-making practices at all levels of student support which has positively impacted the system’s approach to understanding, responding to, and anticipating the true needs of its most vulnerable students.

Ansley Kiser works as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) in Rockingham County Public Schools (RCPS) through the Shenandoah Valley Regional Program. As a graduate of James Madison University, Ansley earned a Bachelor's in Psychology (2014), then completed the BACB Approved Course Sequence and also received her K-12 Special Education Teaching License in the General and Adapted Curriculum. Since becoming certified in 2016 and prior to her current position, she has worked as a BCBA in a Private Day School and has been a Special Education Teacher in a Multiple Disabilities classroom.

Alicia Faller is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and has been serving Rockingham County Public Schools (RCPS) through the Shenandoah Valley Regional Program for seven years. She earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology from West Virginia University (2011) and her Master’s in Psychological Sciences-Behavior Analysis from James Madison University (2013). Prior to her work with RCPS, Alicia was a clinical supervisor for a small private day school and a direct therapist and parent trainer for a home-based service provider. Some of her professional interests include teaching staff how to effectively implement functional communication training, performance management in the classroom, and using the principles of behavior to develop and improve upon existing change initiatives in the division.

Lisa M. Rhodes has dedicated her professional career to public education since 2010. She is currently in her second year serving Rockingham County Public Schools as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) through the Shenandoah Valley Regional Program. For nine years prior to board certification in 2019, she served the communities of Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Loudoun counties as a special education teacher of students with varying exceptionalities and barriers. As a professional who has seen public education from multiple vantage points, she is grateful for the opportunity to put her knowledge of behavior analytic principles into practice at both the individual and systems level, while continuing to advocate for the needs and goals of students, teachers, and families within the division she serves.  Lisa completed her BACB Verified Course Sequence (VCS) through Florida Institute of Technology in 2018. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Bridgewater College (2007) and an M.Ed. in Special Education from George Mason University (2011).


In this discussion, we will describe the steps that we took in RCPS to initiate and complete a multi-disciplinary review and revision of our Functional Behavior Assessment and Behavior Intervention Plan process and procedures from 2018-2020. Specifically, we will explore the role we played as public school BCBAs, barriers we encountered as a workgroup, the tools we utilized, final permanent products, and a discussion of the impacts of implementation to date.
• Participants will identify the specific steps taken in RCPS to review and revise the FBA/BIP process in a multi-disciplinary team.
• Participants will be able to identify and discuss the role of BCBAs in the RCPS process and the role of other professionals.
• Participants will be able to identify specific barriers and challenges encountered by RCPS team, and understand the solutions that were used.
• Participants will be able to identify the role of visual supports and permanent products in this process and will have an opportunity to explore examples from RCPS.
• Participants will be able to identify the different parts of this process that were specifically designed to meet the criteria of: GETACAB.

Keven Schock and Matthew Osborne BREAKOUT #3B

Keven M. Schock, MA, BCBA, LBA and Matthew R. Osborne, M.S., BCBA, LBA

Keven M. Schock, MA, BCBA, LBA a graduate of California State University, Stanislaus, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and an independent consultant. He is licensed as a Behavior Analyst in both Virginia and Maryland. He has worked with a wide variety of child and adult populations, including people diagnosed with mental illness, people with developmental disabilities, people with brain injuries, and runaway and foster children, as well as in the field of forensics. He has served as an administrator, applied program developer, and direct service provider. He has presented applied programs and research findings at numerous conferences as well as designed and implemented pragmatic staff trainings. His specialty is in developing pragmatic solutions for people with extremely challenging behaviors who have been resistive to previous treatment.

Matthew Osborne is the Director of Adult & Residential Services at the Faison Center. He is also a Co-instructor and Content Contributor for Florida Tech's online ABA graduate certificate programs. Matthew earned his M.S. in ABA from Florida Tech.


Given the current issues regarding consent and assent to behaviors targeted for change and the procedures used to produce these changes, it is important that we, as Behavior Analysts, both address these concerns and maintain the effectiveness of our services. The BACB Code contains specific requirements for the process of identifying and assessing behaviors as well as developing interventions and terminating services, which can help us address these concerns. The Code requirements appear to be designed to maximize the input the person being served by the Behavior Analyst. There is also an implied focus on assuring the persons Informed Consent to both assessment and intervention processes. The sections of code that specify these processes are not necessarily presented in a linear fashion and, as such, can sometimes be missed or misinterpreted by Behavior
This presentation will put forward a 15-step process that will allow the Behavior Analyst to efficiently comply with the code requirements. The process we are presenting has the additional benefit of assuring we are providing socially valid services and addressing the behaviors that the person being served has identified that why want us to help change.
1. Participants will identify the BACB code sections related to assessment and treatment plan development
2.Participants will describe the process of defining terminal outcomes
3.Participants will describe how to move from terminal outcomes to composite skills to component behaviors.