16th Annual VABA Meeting &
April 17-18, 2020
Newport News Marriott at City Center
Newport News, VA
“Behavior Analysis and Sustainability"
by Susan M. Schneider
Susan Schneider corresponded with B. F. Skinner through an engineering career and a Peace Corps stint, ultimately obtaining her Ph.D. in behavior analysis (University of Kansas). A research pioneer, she was the first to apply generalized matching to sequences and to demonstrate operant generalization in neonates. Her publications also cover the history and philosophy of behavior analysis, and she’s championed the inclusive interdisciplinary “systems” approach to nature-nurture relations. She’s served on the JEAB and Behavior Analyst editorial boards. Her trade book, The Science of Consequences, covers operant behavior, its larger nature-nurture context, and its full range of applications, receiving advance praise from experts in genetics, neuroscience, and economics as well as behavior analysis. It earned a mention in top journal Nature, was a selection of the Scientific American Book Club, and won the 2015 Media Award from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis. Schneider’s extensive book tour has crisscrossed the US and Europe. She is currently focused on applying behavior analysis to climate change mitigation.
This workshop provides an introduction to behavior analysis efforts in sustainability. In this era of onrushing climate change, achieving sustainability presents a critical challenge that we are uniquely positioned to help address. The workshop includes an overview of the historical behavior-analytic role in founding environmental psychology, and current efforts within our field. Popular approaches to behavioral sustainability like McKenzie-Mohr’s will be summarized, along with other major developments in the mainstream. Strategies for professional involvement will be covered, with success stories. Strategies for volunteer involvement will also be included. Participants will have the chance to brainstorm about what behavior analysts can contribute, and work out an overall strategy for a particular sustainability project of their choosing.
- To summarize the early history of behavior analysis in sustainability. At the conclusion of the event, the participant will appreciate the critical role our discipline played, and the nature of our early contributions.
- To assess where behavior analysis methods are most likely to be useful in addressing sustainability. At the conclusion of the event, the participant will be aware of the range of typical behavioral sustainability goals and projects.
- To appreciate how behavior analysis complements McKenzie-Mohr’s and other popular current approaches to sustainability. At the conclusion of the event, the participant will understand the basics of these strategies.
- To foster the design of a behavior-analytic intervention in sustainability. At the conclusion of the event, the participant will be able to draw on a variety of resources to optimize planning and implementation.
- To learn how to get involved in sustainability at a variety of levels – both as a professional and as a volunteer. At the conclusion of the event, the participant will be able to employ effective strategies for getting into a position to use behavior analysis to make a difference in this critical area.
“Ethics, Regulation, and Licensure Applied to OBM: Why OBMers Should Consider Board Certification"
by Dr. Nicholas L Weatherly, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA
Dr. Nicholas Weatherly is a business and leadership consultant and an Associate Professor in the School of Behavior Analysis at the Florida Institute of Technology, where he also serves as the Interim Head of School. His expertise is in developing and providing efficient training and leadership solutions designed to maximize performance and create sustainable impact. He has been invited to speak on these topics locally and internationally for over 15 years, giving or contributing to nearly 100 scholarly presentations and workshops. Prior to joining Florida Tech, Dr. Weatherly was a consultant with Aubrey Daniels International where he led their instructional systems projects and consulted in a variety of areas of business and industry including manufacturing, energy, banking, health insurance, and clinical services. He has held advisory roles and served on the board of directors for a number of state, regional, and international professional associations, advocacy groups, and service facilities, most recently serving as President of the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts and on various ethics committees for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Dr. Weatherly is on the editorial board for the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management and has published numerous articles on areas related to leadership, ethics, coaching, training, and safety. He is the co-author of the book Deliberate Coaching: A Toolbox for Accelerating Teacher Performance.
Do behavior analysts working in Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) need to be certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®)? Is there value or is this simply an added hassle for OBM students and practitioners that will never pay off? Does the BACB even apply to OBM aside from a few choice areas? These and related questions have been asked since the formation of the BACB and can often lead to the dissemination of misleading information about the job market for OBM, university options, the BACB, OBM ethics, and other areas where credentialing meets OBM. Understanding these issues can help students maximize their university experience and help practitioners expand their value and protect their right to practice. The purpose of this workshop is to provide participants with the information necessary to make an informed decision as to whether they, their students, their direct reports, or their colleagues should seek certification and licensure in behavior analysis.
- The participant will be able to identify how credentialing and regulation applies to those practicing in areas of Organizational Behavior Management.
- The participant will be able to identify ways the BACB task list applies to Organizational Behavior Management.
- The participant will be able to identify key parts of the Ethics Code that apply to managers, business owners, and consultants.
- The participant will be able to weigh the pros and cons of certification against their own career goals.
SATURDAY KEYNOTE #1
“Deliberate Coaching: The Role of Organizational Coaching Systems in Culture Change"
by Dr. Nicholas L Weatherly, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA
Decades of research on applying behavior analysis to business and leadership practices has given us a number of tools proven to be effective at creating meaningful behavior change. However, OBM is not a one-stop-shop, only to be accessed when something goes wrong. Good leaders don’t just wait for an issue and then work to put out the fire; they proactively assess and coach to avoid the issue in the first place. They are deliberate with their performance-improvement efforts. Systemic culture change comes through sustainable leadership initiatives and at the core of these initiatives are leadership coaching systems. The purpose of this address is to discuss leadership and coaching in the context of organizational culture and management practices, while offering tips for sustainable performance-management systems.
- The participant will be able to provide various ways coaching has been defined, demonstrated, and programmed.
- The participant will be able to describe the difference between maintenance and institutionalization and why this distinction is important when assessing management practices.
- The participant will be able to list ways to help ensure coaching initiatives are deliberate, effective and produce performance improvements that last.
SATURDAY KEYNOTE #2
“Operant Principles Everywhere: Interdisciplinary Behavior Analysis and the Future of Our FieldOperant Principles Everywhere: Interdisciplinary Behavior Analysis and the Future of Our Field"
by Susan M. Schneider
Operant principles apply everywhere from simple invertebrates to Wall Street. It’s reassuring to observe how scientists and practitioners in related fields are increasingly discovering “our” operant principles and applications–with or without discovering our field and its established terminology, methodology, and practices. Like other sciences, ours has always been part of a larger interdisciplinary effort. Interdisciplinary work is arguably more important than ever: We now know how fully operant principles interact with others in the large and complex nature-and-nurture system, for example.
This talk takes stock of our field’s current interdisciplinary extensions, with their boundless opportunities. Our biological context includes significant advances in operant-related genetics and epigenetics as well as sophisticated neuroscience. When it comes to higher-order skills, the functional linguists are among many fellow travelers. In application, ever more randomized controlled trials are expanding our reach in the mainstream, even as our small-n designs are increasingly accepted (and even adopted). I will summarize selected advances in all of these areas, and discuss what behavior analysts can learn and how we can contribute. While interdisciplinary work entails some barriers to be surmounted, the benefits can be considerable, and they flow in both directions.
- To provide examples of interdisciplinary extensions of behavior analysis in its biological context, including evolution, instincts, epigenetics, and neuroscience. At the conclusion of the event, the participant will be able to describe examples of interdisciplinary work relevant to behavior analysis in these areas.
- To provide examples of interdisciplinary extensions of behavior analysis in higher-order skills such as language, and in application. At the conclusion of the event, the participant will be able to describe examples of interdisciplinary work relevant to behavior analysis in these areas.
- To cover the advantages to behavior analysts of following and/or participating in interdisciplinary work. At the conclusion of the event, the participant will be able to state the reasons why behavior analysts and, more broadly, biobehavioral science and practice benefit when we contribute to–and learn from–related fields.
BREAKOUT SESSION #1
“ABA In Public Education: A Collaborative Model"
Chad Honeycutt, Med, BCBA, LBA;
Brian Myers, Med., BCBA, LBA;
Marin Swienton, OTD, OTR/L;
Lauren R. Ross M.S. CCC-SLP;
Terry Royer OTR/L
Integrating Applied behavior Analysis into the public school education system can be a challenge. Working with exceptional learners can be most successful when Board Certified Behavior Analysts, Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologist and Classroom Teachers work in a collaborative model. In doing so, a consistent framework of evidence based instruction and intervention is applied with maximum effect for the exceptional learner. Recognizing overlapping concepts such as automatically reinforcing sensory behavior and verbal behaviors allow behavior analysts to establish a common language and purpose with other specializations. The result is an increase in practice effect, greater fidelity to evidence based procedures and more reliability of measurement procedures. Through collaboration, behavior analysts can have a broader reach into the public education system, allowing for principles of applied behavior analysis to be part of instruction and therapy for all exceptional learners. This presentation will focus on strategies for effective communication between specialties as well as specific target behaviors and interventions that can be designed for the collaborative model and that are implementable within the public education system.
- Establish a common language for special education in public schools based on behavior analysis.
- Provide model for application of Applied Behavior Analysis in the public schools.
- Demonstrate the benefits of incorporating Applied Behavior Analysis in a collaborative model.
BREAKOUT SESSION #2
“That EAB Talk (::Yawn::) You Are Planning on Skipping (But Will Be Glad You Did Not)"
by Barbara J. Kaminski, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA
Barbara Kaminski received a Ph.D. in Psychology from the Behavior Analysis Training Program at West Virginia University and postdoctoral training at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. During her time on the faculty at Johns Hopkins, she was involved in grant‑funded research in behavioral pharmacology, exploring the behavioral factors involved in drug use and abuse. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®) and a Virginia Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA). Currently, she is Clinical Director and a co- owner of Green Box ABA, an agency providing ABA therapy services and teaches graduate level courses in behavior analysis for both George Mason University and The Chicago School of Professional Psychology-DC Campus. Dr. Kaminski is Vice President/President‑elect of the DC ABA chapter of ABAI. She is co‑founder of Uncomfortable x, which is devoted to providing a forum for sharing information and providing support to individuals in the behavior analysis community who find themselves in “uncomfortable” situations.
Close your eyes and tell me what you see when I say, “Experimental Analysis of Behavior.” Sniffy the rat? Boring looking people in lab coats carrying clipboards? Or maybe you draw a blank altogether. The purpose of this presentation is to introduce you to the fun and exciting world of basic research (seriously). Incorporating videos, storytelling interviews, and, yes, some actual data, you will learn more about how basic research in behavior analysis is conceived and conducted. The importance of building a knowledge base which can then be applied to “real–‐‑life” problems will be illustrated.
- Participants will be able to identify and describe the fundamental processes involved in conducting basic research in behavior analysis
- Participants will be able to identify and describe at least one application of basic research
BREAKOUT SESSION #3
“Sexual Harassment Training in the Employment Setting for Young Adults with IDD"
by Robin Moyher, PhD, BCBA-D
and Taylor Wichtendahl
Robin Moyher, Ph.D, BCBA-D, LBA is the Assistant Director at the Mason LIFE Program at George Mason University. Before this position she held numerous positions in Fairfax County Public Schools, as well as private ABA therapy and Adapted Tae Kwon Do. Her research interests include sex education, social skills, and independent living skills for young adults with disabilities.
Individuals with IDD have a high rate of becoming victims of sexual abuse. Individuals with IDD and their families also place employment as a goal for post K-12 adulthood. Therefore, individuals with IDD need specialized education in the area of sexual harassment in the employment setting to learn skills to keep themselves safe. This presentation will discuss a research study conducted with 27 young adults using a single subject design. Results of the intervention, pre and post testing of knowledge, and social validity will be shared. Limitations and future implications will also be discussed.
- Participants will become familiar with the rates of sexual violence for individuals with IDD
- Participants will become familiar with the employment outcomes for individuals with IDD
- The participant will become familiar with behaviors in individuals with IDDs profile that “set the stage” for becoming possible victims of sexual violence
- Participants will learn about a new intervention for teaching sexual harassment knowledge and reporting
BREAKOUT SESSION #4
“Assessment and Treatment of Food Refusal in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder"
by Ben Sarcia, MA, BCBA, LBA
and Macarena Fernandez, MA, CCC-SLP, BCBA, LBA
Ben Sarcia is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst for Verbal Beginnings, LLC. He is the director of the Healthy Beginnings program that targets food selectivity and skill deficits related to eating. He began his experience with the treatment of feeding disorders at the Southeastern Pennsylvania Autism Resource Center as a graduate student. After completing a master’s degree in clinical psychology, he went on to work as a behavior analyst in the Feeding Disorders Continuum at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD. Ben’s research interests include functional analysis of inappropriate mealtime behavior, as well as exploring the long term outcomes of children treated for food refusal utilizing an applied behavior analytic approach.
Food selectivity and refusal is common in children with and without developmental delay. Autism spectrum disorder adds an additional layer of complexity as refusal at mealtime rarely resolves on its own and behavior analytic intervention to address refusal must consider not only the function of this behavior, but also how to effectively teach the child to eat new foods in a manner that can be generalized outside of the clinic setting and implemented by caregivers. Often times, caregivers are directed to non-behavioral interventions that do not account for the function of behavior and thus do not effectively address problematic mealtime behavior in a way that produces meaningful gains. Therefore, success in developing appropriate replacement mealtime behaviors considers the child’s current food repertoire, skill deficits, performance deficits, learning style, and the feasibility of implementation of intervention in the home, school, and community settings. That being said, it is important to recognize physiological symptoms that may necessitate consultation with interdisciplinary team members.
- Identify features of food selectivity common to children with autism spectrum disorder
- List sources of stimulus control for food refusal
- State when it is necessary to coordinate with interdisciplinary team members
- Describe treatment of food refusal using the basic principles of applied behavior analysis
- Identify the differences between non-behavioral approaches to food refusal versus intervention utilizing the basic principles of applied behavior analysis
- State implications for caregiver training and generalization of appropriate mealtime behavior outside of the clinic setting
BREAKOUT SESSION #5
“Decreasing Burnout in Direct Care Staff"
by Becca Tagg,
PsyD, MSCP, NCSP, BCBA-D
Dr. Becca is the executive director of Del Mar Center for Behavioral Health, a multidisciplinary clinic in southeastern North Carolina. She is also an instructor for Ball State’s graduate program in ABA. She is passionate about leadership, mentorship, and wellness after experiencing burnout earlier in her career. She has worked in a variety of settings and with various populations with different diagnoses over the course of her career. As a licensed psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Dr. Becca uses her unique blend of knowledge to help individuals and organizations get clear on their values and take steps towards them. When we’re moving towards our values, we feel fulfilled. To help spread this message further, Dr. Becca started the ABA Business Builders Facebook group and The Business of Behavior Podcast. Dr. Becca is committed to strong clinical practices and superior leadership and training all while continuing to nourish the other areas in life in order to flourish.
Burnout is one of the reported reasons that direct care staff, like Registered Behavior Technicians, leave the field. This comes at a high cost for organizations, families served, the field, and the individual. When behavior analysts know the risk factors of burnout and can identify the behaviors that may indicate burnout, we can implement interventions to help our supervisees and colleagues move towards wellness and away from burnout.
- Identify 3 risk factors of burnout
- Name 3 behaviors that may indicate burnout
- Learn 2 strategies for decreasing burnout in direct care staff
BREAKOUT SESSION #6
“Best Practices for Social Emotional Learning & Promoting Social Skills"
by Elena M Zaklis,
Elena Zaklis M.A., BCBA, LBA is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at Family Compass PLLC in Reston, Virginia. Elena provides services for children and adolescents with developmental disabilities. She facilitates social skills groups for children, teens and social groups for girls. One of her goals is to provide support for young women with autism spectrum disorders in their academic and community settings. She also leads parent training groups and works with families individually. Elena collaborates with schools to help develop a culture and climate that promotes social emotional learning in all classrooms. She leads training sessions for school administrators, and staff on social skills and behavior management techniques. Elena started her career at The Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center (DDDC) at Rutgers University. While at the DDDC she worked as a Training Coordinator at Douglass Outreach. She worked with families, consulted to public schools, and private organizations. In 2015, she joined a psychology practice Behavior Therapy Associates in Somerset NJ and was the Director of the HI-STEP social skills program at the Pennington location until she moved to Virginia in 2018.
Social skill deficits have been associated with negative outcomes in educational achievement, interpersonal relationships, independent living, self-esteem, employment, and psychological well-being. Students with such difficulties may include a range of diagnoses such as ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder or some students may not have a special education classification. The academic and behavior difficulties may commonly present across settings and children may experience trouble coping with various stressors. Social Emotional Learning/Social Skills are critical for establishing and maintaining successful relationships, employment, navigating daily living skills, and becoming more independent. This workshop will discuss best practices for social-emotional learning including strategies to foster success in inclusive settings. Evidence-based approaches include assessment of skills, identifying goals, direct instruction of social-emotional learning, naturalistic approach to teaching social skills, integrating skills throughout the day, the generalization of skills, parent training, peer modeling, and behavioral rehearsal.
- Identify functional goals for social-emotional learning
- Select evidence-based intervention methods for teaching social skills
- Promote social-emotional learning/social skills in various settings
VABA will be using CEU Helper for this conference. You will have the opportunity to purchase CEUs prior to the event or after. The purchase price is $30. This price covers all CEUs earned on March 23 with a maximum available of 6. Note that workshop CEUs (3 each) are included. To purchase CEUs read below:
Please note that the BACB does not warrant, endorse, sponsor, or approve or partner with any VABA events or instructors.
At this year’s conference, we are offering a total of 6 continuing education credits (outside of the workshops – 3 workshop CEU’s are included if you attend one of those events). To obtain CEUs, you must download and use CEU Helper. If you need help checking in and out, there will be volunteers available to help you. Then pay the $30 flat fee for 1 to 6 CEUs. Payment can be submitted:
- In person at the conference,
- By mail to: PO Box 27692, Richmond, Virginia 23261
- Via PayPal (for an extra fee) using the button below.
You will receive your certificate within 45 days of the event via email. If you make payment after that time period, please allow up to 2 (two) weeks. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions regarding CEUs. Note that if you attended the workshop, your CEUs are included and may be sent separately. Virginia Association for Behavior Analysis is a Type 2 ACE Provider for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board®