Presentation Schedule

2019 Speakers

Pre-Conference Workshops

Janet Twyman, Ph.D.
University of Massachusetts Medical School/Center on Innovations in Learning

Evelyn Gould, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA
Denisha Gingles, M.S., BCBA, LBA
McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Featured Conference Speakers

Thomas Critchfield, Ph.D.
Illinois State University

Ellie Kazemi, Ph.D., BCBA-D
California State University, Northridge

Iser DeLeon, Ph.D., BCBA-D
University of Florida

Bethany Raiff, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Rowan University

Jeff Tiger, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Marquette University

Valerie Volkert, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Emory University School of Medicine

2019 Abstracts and Learning Objectives

9:00 am-12:00 pm

Janet S. Twyman, Ph.D., BCBA, LBA

Blast: A Learning Sciences Company
Center on Innovations in Learning

Dr. Janet Twyman is an education innovator, thought leader, and founder of blast: A Learning Sciences Company.  She’s also the Director of Innovation and Technology for the Center on Innovations in Learning, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Univ. of Mass. Medical School, and formerly the Vice President of Instructional Development, Research, & Implementation at Headsprout. Her numerous articles, book chapters, and presentations cover behavior analysis, instructional design, technology, and educational systems; she also co-edited two books on educational innovation and personalized learning. She has presented to and worked with education systems, organizations, and institutions over 50 states and countries, including speaking about technologies for diverse learners and settings at the United Nations. She serves on several boards and committees, and co-chairs the education group for the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. In 2007-08 she served as the President of the Association for Behavior Analysis and in 2014 was named an ABAI Fellow. For her distinguished contributions to educational research and practice she received the 2015 Wing Award for Evidence-based Education and the 2017 American Psychological Association Division 25 Fred S. Keller Behavioral Education Award.

Integrating Technology into Practice: Who, What, Why, When, Where, How

Modern digital technologies such as apps, hardware, and adaptive devices can help persons with autism (and all students) learn new skills and provide opportunities for practice, application, and problem-solving. These tools can individualize learning, and help learners schedule their day, participate in socialization opportunities with peers close by or across the globe, and even help them find a voice. Teachers and parents now can know in “real time” what’s been learned or what might need more attention. Learners reap greatest benefit from technology when their teachers apply knowledge of behavioral concepts/principals to select and use these tools. Yet educators still say, “I’d like to use more technology in my teaching, but I’m not sure what or how.” “My learner likes playing on the tablet, but how can I make it more educational?” An attempt to address these familiar quandaries will be made via interactive demonstrations of digital technologies and suggestions on how to maximize their effectiveness in an instructional setting. Several digital and hardware technology tools will be reviewed within the categories of instruction/academics, social skills/behavior management, organizational/productivity, and communication/collaboration. During demonstrations and interactive activities participants will learn about various applications and tools, identify any correspondence with evidence-based behavioral principles, and evaluate if and how each might be useful in their instructional context.


  1. Participants will identify research-based instructional, reporting, and usability components of educational hardware, software, and apps.
  2. Participants will use a rubric to identify research-based instructional, reporting and usability components of educational apps.
  3. Participants will state at least three considerations in selecting and evaluating technology for instruction and school-based autism interventions.
  4. Participants will identify examples and non-examples of apps that provide differentiated learner feedback following correct responses and errors.
  5. Participants will practice creating app-based instruction to provide individualization across learners.
  6. Participants will identify at least three “technologies” (tools or processes) that they will (1) try, and (2) objectively evaluate the impact of, at an individual, classroom, or system level.

Registrants will be required to bring their own tablet or laptop to the workshop, to be used during the hands-on activities. Prior to the event, registrants may be asked to download a few free or free-trial applications for use during the workshop. Seating will be limited.

1:00 pm-4:00 pm

Evelyn Gould, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA
Denisha Gingles, M.S., BCBA, LBA

Harvard Medical School (Evelyn Gould)
Signature Behavior Analytic Services (Denisha Gingles)

Evelyn Gould is a Clinical Behavior Analyst and Research Associate at the Child and Adolescent OCD Institute (OCDI-Jr), at McLean Hospital | Harvard Medical School. The OCDI-Jr is a residential and partial hospitalization program for children and adolescents struggling with treatment refractory OCD and related disorders. Evelyn has extensive experience working with families of children with autism and other learning and behavior challenges across settings, and is a clinical consultant for FirstSteps for Kids in Los Angeles, and the New England Center for OCD and Anxiety in Boston. Evelyn is actively involved in research on parent and practitioner training, clinical assessment and treatment design, and behavioral interventions for parents and children. She is also passionate about social justice and addressing issues of diversity and equity within Behavior Analysis and beyond. Evelyn is actively involved in a variety of Special Interest Groups and Task Forces within the ABAI and ACBS communities, and is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science and Editorial Board Member for Behavior Analysis in Practice.

Denisha Gingles is a Board Certified and Licensed Behavior Analyst, currently residing in the state of Maryland. To date, she has provided services in Missouri, New York, as well as Kenya, Africa. She is the Clinical Director and CEO of a full-service agency in Baltimore that provides behavioral services to children, teens, and young adults. Denisha graduated from the University of Baltimore with a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and received her BCBA certification through Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts. Her interests include multicultural competency, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy,  social justice, supervision/staff/parent training, and behavior assessment and intervention. In addition to behavior analysis, Denisha is a social justice activist and advocate; her key issue areas include criminal justice reform, education reform, and racial justice. Furthermore, she facilitates anti-oppression workshops focused on privilege and social systems with a goal of creating change agents to work as an accomplice for other targeted and marginalized groups.

Diversity and Equity in ABA

The topic of diversity is gaining increased attention from within the field of Behavior Analysis, however, more than discussion and values statements are needed to facilitate widespread behavior change. This workshop will highlight current literature and existing disparities within ABA, and identify specific actions that might move us towards a more diverse and equitable field. Participants will explore issues of representation and justice, including issues related to privilege and oppression within the field of ABA, via didactic instruction, targeted small and large group discussions, and a variety of experiential exercises. Ethical considerations for working with diverse populations will be discussed, and issues that arise when cultural and diversity variables are ignored explored. Participants will be asked to consider the role of private events, specifically verbal behavior (including rule-deriving and rule-following) and experiential avoidance, in the development and maintenance of oppression and inequity. Finally, participants will be empowered to create their own personal committed action plan to establish meaningful behavior change that directly benefits clients, colleagues and beyond.


  1. Identify sources of inequity, oppression and privilege within the field of ABA.
  2. Discuss ethical issues that arise when we ignore our own contributions to cultural disparities within our field
  3. Create an action plan for embedding equitable practices into our own work environment
  4. Develop an evaluation plan to determine the effectiveness of our action plan

8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Conference (Schedule TBD)
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Reception and Expo

Valerie M. Volkert, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Marcus Autism Center

Dr. Volkert, an Associate Professor (Pediatrics), is a psychologist program manager in the Children’s Multidisciplinary at Marcus Autism Center. She received her doctorate in school psychology from Louisiana State University in 2007. She was previously faculty at the Munroe-Meyer Institute, and adjunct faculty at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where she became the Training Director for the Applied Behavior Analysis Ph.D. Program and Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders. In 2015, Dr. Volkert joined the Marcus Autism Center. She sees patients in the intensive day treatment and outpatient clinics of the Feeding program, supervises interns and residents, and pursues lines of clinical research. Of particular interest are treatments to increase advanced feeding skills (e.g., self-feeding and chewing). She has authored four book chapters and published 31 peer-reviewed research studies in multiple journals, including the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, the Journal of Pediatrics, Research in Developmental Disabilities, Behavior Modification, and Behavior Analysis in Practice. Dr. Volkert served as the Editorial Assistant for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis from 2008 to 2010. She serves on the board of editors for two journals and as a guest associate editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

An Overview of Interventions to Address mealtime Behaviors
Interfering with Swallowing

After initial treatment with well-established interventions such as
nonremoval of the spoon and reinforcement to increase acceptance of pureed food or liquid, children diagnosed with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (aka pediatric feeding disorder) often engage in other problematic behaviors that interfere with swallowing. Two common difficult behaviors that practitioners may encounter are expulsion (spitting food out) and packing (holding food in the mouth). However, difficulties can also arise when transitioning between pureed and table food when a child cannot or will not chew. The current presentation will first review interventions to reduce expulsion and packing and then preliminary research to address chewing in children with pediatric feeding disorders.


  1. The audience will become familiar with problematic mealtime behavior that goes beyond initial acceptance of the bite.
  2. The audience will learn about interventions to address expulsion and packing.
  3. The audience will be able to describe treatment to increase chewing.

Iser G. DeLeon, Ph.D., BCBA-D

University of Florida

Dr. Iser DeLeon earned his Ph.D. at the University of Florida, where he is
now Professor in the Department of Psychology. Prior positions include Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Director of Research Development for the Department of Behavioral Psychology at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. Dr. DeLeon is a Fellow of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and has served the behavior analysis community in multiple roles including President of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Associate Editor for both Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, and President of the Maryland Association for Behavior Analysis. His research has focused on assessment and treatment of problem behavior in persons with neurodevelopmental disorders, identification of preferences and determinants of choice, and translation of basic behavioral processes towards enhancing therapeutic and instructional outcomes.

Rethinking “Social Motivation” in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Some theories of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) implicate a
neurobiologically driven insensitivity to social reward as the basis for social deficits, and less directly, other core diagnostic symptoms of ASD. This is sometimes referred to as the Social Motivation Theory of Autism and has, on occasion, been used as a basis for avoiding social reinforcers when working with children with ASD. I will review and discuss evidence, from my lab and others, for and against this insensitivity. I will specifically consider: (a) studies on identifying or verifying socially mediated reinforcers in ASD; (b) studies that compare social and non-social reinforcers in ASD; and (c) studies that compare social reward in persons with and without ASD. I will conclude with alternative interpretations and questions that should be answered to make sense of these theories.

Jeffrey Tiger, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Marquette University

Dr. Tiger received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas and completed a post doctoral fellowship at the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders within the Munroe-Meyer Institute of the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He is currently an Associate Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Behavior Analysis Program at Marquette University. His research focuses on developing effective assessment and intervention practices for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, particularly those exhibiting significant problem behavior, while at the same time extending our knowledge of the basic processes that result in behavior change. Dr. Tiger received the Division 25 BF Skinner New Researcher Award from the American Psychological Association in 2012. He is a current associate editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and also serves on the editorial boards of Perspectives on Behavioral Science and Behavioral Development.

On the Validity of Functional Analysis Models

Behavior analysts are charged to conduct assessments to inform intervention selection, but evaluating the quality of assessments is typically not part of research methods training in our field. This presentation provides a “how-to” tutorial on assessing the validity of behavioral assessments in terms of sensitivity, specificity, divergent validity, and outcome validity and applies these concepts to the literature base of isolated and synthesized contingency functional analyses. Areas of strength and areas of additional needed evidence will be discussed for each approach.


  1. Participants will be able to define the constructs of convergent validity, divergent validity, sensitivity, specificity, and outcome validity.
  2. Participants will be able to apply the above concepts to evaluate existing functional analysis models.
  3. Participants will be able to identify important areas of future research to improve the evidence base of functional analysis models.

Thomas Critchfield, Ph.D.

Illinois State University

Tom Critchfield is Professor of Psychology at Illinois State University. He holds a PhD in Behavior Analysis at West Virginia University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is a Fellow and Past President of the Association for Behavior Analysis International and Division 25 of the American Psychological Association, and has served as Associate Editor for Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior , Perspectives on Behavior Science, Mexican Journal of Behavior Analysis, and Conch Republic Archives of Psychology. His interests include derived stimulus relations, punishment and negative reinforcement, effective instruction, and the process of bench-to-bedside scientific translation.

The Story of a Good Story: Some Observations on the Marketing of Behavior Analysis


Recent years have seen increasing acceptance of two propositions. First, speaking to non-behavior analysts about behavior analysis is a problem in behavior. Second, contrary to suggestions from behavior experts as noteworthy as Skinner, “our” failures to inspire are not “their” fault. As with all problems in behavior, the dissemination of behavior analysis requires meeting the organism (listener) where it is. A key problem is that our discipline has done almost no systematic functional analysis of “where the organism is” or how listeners respond to various kinds of persuasive verbal behavior. Drawing upon very limited research from inside our field, and some from elsewhere, I will define some of the parameters of the problem at hand – though no best-practices recommendations should be expected, because none currently are available. Those interested in evidence-based dissemination must be prepared to move beyond “common sense” and trial-and-error to the systematic study of how our listeners react to our verbal behavior.


  1. Identify selected aspects of the communication problem inherent in disseminating behavior analysis.
  2. Identify two factors that contribute to communication that is perceived as pleasant and important.

Bethany Raiff, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Rowan University

Dr. Raiff is an Associate Professor at Rowan University and an Investigator at the Center for Technology and Health at Dartmouth College. Dr. Raiff’s primary research interests include developing and evaluating the integration of technological innovations with behavioral interventions for promoting healthy behavior. Dr. Raiff has received several NIH grants to develop internet and videogame-based interventions intended to overcome barriers to using contingency management for smoking cessation and diabetes management.  Dr. Raiff was the 2015 recipient of the B. F. Skinner New Researcher Award for Applied Research, from Division 25 of the American Psychological Association, she is a Guest Editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, and she is on the editorial board for the journal of Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.

Using Technology to Overcome Barriers to Delivering Behavioral Interventions for Healthy Behavior

Contingency management (CM) interventions, which involves delivering desirable consequences contingent on objective evidence of health behavior, have been widely studied and shown to be effective at initiating a number of different health behaviors, such as cocaine and smoking abstinence, as well as diabetes management. Unfortunately, a number of barriers exist that prevent the widespread adoption and dissemination of CM, including accessibility, convenience, cost, and sustainability. To address some of these concerns, we developed an Internet and Mobile phone-based contingency management intervention, where participants earn monetary incentives contingent on web-camera verified evidence of smoking abstinence. Not only has this CM intervention been effective at initiating smoking abstinence (43% of videos submitted indicate smoking abstinence, compared with only 14% of videos submitted by a control group), participants have also rated the intervention favorably on a number of dimensions. We have also successfully extended the Internet-based CM procedure to a novel populations and target behavior; namely, teenagers diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes who are not adhering with their blood glucose testing recommendations. To overcome additional barriers to Internet-based CM, such as the cost of incentives and long-term sustainability, we are currently developing a videogame-based CM intervention. Smokers will earn game-based resources, or access to special features in the game, in place of monetary incentives. Videogame-based CM will promote widespread access to an innovative, fun, sustainable intervention at a relatively low cost, thereby offering the potential to have a substantial public health impact.


  1. Be able to explain how contingency management has been used to influence health behaviors.
  2. Be able to identify primary barriers to implementing contingency management broadly.
  3. Be able to describe how technology has been/could be used to overcome barriers to implementing contingency management.

Ellie Kazemi, Ph.D., BCBA-D

California State University Northridge

Dr. Kazemi is a Professor at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) where she has developed and teaches undergraduate and graduate coursework in behavior analysis for the past 10 years. She founded the Masters of Science Program in Applied Behavior Analysis in 2010 and has collaborated with the CSUN community to provide graduate students high quality supervision experiences. She currently has two different lines of research. Her applied research interests involve identification of efficient, effective strategies for practical training, supervision, and leadership. Her laboratory research involves leveraging technology (e.g., robotics, virtual or augmented reality) for efficient training and feedback using simulations. She is currently working on several nationwide projects (e.g., with FEMA and NASA) with a focus on effective training and behavioral outcomes. She has received several mentorship awards including the ABAI Best Mentor Award, the Outstanding Faculty Award, the Outstanding Teaching Award, and the Outstanding Service Award. She has published articles and book chapters on a variety of topics including training, staff turnover, and the use of technology in behavior analysis. She is the leading author of a handbook written for both supervisors and supervisees titled, Supervision and Practicum in Behavior Analysis: A Handbook for Supervisees.

Effective Leadership and Supervision

Behavior analysts are expected to lead treatment teams by training support staff to implement behavioral procedures and supervising their procedural integrity. However, many behavior analysts were not formally trained for such leadership positions. In this talk, I will address some of the common barriers supervisors face and provide practical tips for efficient, effective leadership and supervision of staff.


  1. Discuss the primary functions of effective supervision
  2. Explain how to give feedback effectively
  3. Explain how a supervisor can set clear expectations for performance