2021 Speakers

Pre-Conference Workshops

Tyra Sellers, JD, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Behavior Analyst Certification Board

Anibal Gutierrez, Ph.D., BCBA-D
University of Miami

Featured Conference Speakers

Anna Ingeborg Pettursdottir, Ph.D.
Texas Christian University

Bill Ahearn, Ph.D., BCBA-D
New England Center for Children

Jeanne Donaldson, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Louisiana State University

Manish Vaidya, Ph.D.
University of North Texas

Lindsay Mehrkam, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Monmouth University

Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi, Ed.D., BCBA
ULEZI, LLC

WORKSHOPS: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2021

Tyra Sellers, JD, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Behavior Analyst Certification Board

9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Presenter: Tyra Sellers, J.D., Ph.D., BCBA-D
BACB #: 1-03-1167
Event Type: Invited Workshop, 3 hrs.
CEU Eligibility: 2 supervision and 1 ethics

Dr. Tyra Sellers works in the Ethics Department at the Behavior Analyst Certification Board; she received her Ph.D. from Utah State University in 2011 and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She earned a B.A. in Philosophy and M.A. in Special Education from San Francisco State University, and J.D. from the University of San Francisco. Dr. Sellers has over 20 years of clinical experience working with individuals with disabilities, spanning from EIBI through adult services in a wide variety of settings (public and non-public schools, vocational settings, in-home, clinics). Her research interests include ethics, effective supervision, behavior variability, choice, functional analyses, and behavioral interventions. She co-authored a book on supervision and mentorship and serves on the board for several journals.

Workshop Title: Strategies for Effective Supervision

Abstract: The growing number of individuals working to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts® (BCBA®) may be placing a strain on supervisory resources and likely resulting in new BCBAs serving as supervisors. Many behavior analysts receive little, if any, direct instruction on how to be an effective supervisor. Whether supervisors are aware of it or not, their supervisory practices will directly impact the future behavior of their trainees who will go on to serve in a supervisory role in the near or distant future. This workshop will focus on strategies for developing critical skills needed to not only provide high-quality supervision, but also to place supervisees on a path to become high-quality supervisors in the future. In this workshop we will work to develop an understanding of the critical features and components of providing high quality supervision. We will cover: the need to engage in self-reflection and build a strong relationship from the outset, considerations for taking a competency-based approach to supervisory activities that includes addressing complex but often overlooked skills (e.g., problem solving, time management, organization, and interpersonal communication), and strategies for taking a structured approach to incorporating ethics into the supervised fieldwork experience.

Description of Activities: This workshop will be delivered via didactic lecture with examples and interactive activities.

Instruction Level: basic and intermediate

CEUs for Supervision and Ethics: The content covered in the workshop is relevant and linked to the Behavior Analyst Certification Boards Supervisor Curriculum 2.0, 5th Edition Task List, the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts, the Code of Ethics for Behavior Analysts, and the RBT Ethics Code.

Learning Objectives: Upon completion of the workshop, participants will be able to:
1. Describe at least 2 considerations for building a competency-based supervisory curriculum.
2. Describe the steps in a structured problem-solving approach.
3. Describe two things, other than the BACB codes of ethics, to include in supervisory practices.

Anibal Gutierrez, Ph.D., BCBA-D
University of Miami

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Presenter: Anibal Gutierrez, Jr., Ph.D., BCBA-D
BACB #: 1-02-0783
Event Type: Invited Workshop, 3 hrs.
CEU Eligibility: 3 credits

Dr. Anibal Gutierrez is a Division Director at the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (UM-NSU CARD) and Research Associate Professor at the University of Miami. He is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with experience in the assessment and treatment of problem behavior and in the development of adaptive skills for individuals with autism. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from the University of Florida. Dr. Gutierrez’s current research interests focus on early intervention, variables related to treatment effectiveness for individuals with autism, and the use of technology to bring about behavior change.

Workshop Title: Development and Validation of the Motor and Vocal Imitation Assessment (MVIA) and Intervention Guide

Abstract: The Motor and Vocal Imitation Assessment (MVIA) is an empirically validated hierarchy of imitation skills that serves as a protocol for selecting targets for imitation intervention. The MVIA provides a baseline level of imitation skills, a validated sequence of imitation skills and a method of tracking skill mastery. The MVIA contains a comprehensive compilation of features and characteristics that determine the level of complexity of imitation tasks. This compilation of features and characteristics is the product of previous research examining the development of imitation. Research suggests that use of the MVIA can result in better intervention outcomes for imitation skills.

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to describe the relationship between imitation and outcomes for individuals with ASD.
2. Participants will be able to describe the hierarchy of difficulty in imitation skills.
3. Participants will be able to administer the MVIA as an assessment tool.
4. Participants will be able to use the MVIA to select imitation skills for intervention.
5. Participants will be able to use the MVIA to track imitation skill mastery.

CONFERENCE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2021

Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi, Ed.D., BCBA
ULEZI, LLC

9:00 am – 9:50 am
Presenter: Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi, Ed.D., BCBA
BACB #: 1-18-29303
Event Type: Invited Talk, 50 min
CEU Eligibility: 1 credit

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, Co-Founder of Pivot 2 Inclusion and Shaping Leaders. She serves as a court appointed special advocate, for children in the Illinois foster care system. She is also an Advisory Board member for Black Applied Behavior Analysts, an Advisory Board Member for the NEXT for Autism organization, Board member for the Illinois Association for Behavior Analysis and an Affiliate Chapters Board Member for the Association for Behavior Analysis International. Dr. Cirincione-Ulezi serves as a subject matter expert for the Behavior Analysis Certification Board and has published in the Journal Behavior Analysis in Practice. She has assisted school districts in the State of Illinois in developing meaningful educational programs to meet the needs of students with autism. Her research interests include supervision, mentoring, leadership and culturally humble practice within the field of ABA. She is a champion for equity, diversity and inclusion and is deeply committed to using her skills and experiences, paired with the science of applied behavior analysis, to empower the lives of the people she supports and serves, in positive and meaningful ways.

Title: Advancing the Practices of Humble Behaviorism and Cultural Humility in Behavior Analysis

Abstract: Empirically based literature suggests that the practices of humble behaviorism and cultural humility by practitioners in the field of behavior analysis may lead to more positive outcomes for stakeholders. The concept of humble behaviorism has been written about in behavior analytic journals as far back as 1991. In his article, Humble Behaviorism, Neuringer hypothesized if behaviorists were more humble, their effectiveness as scientists would increase (Neuringer, 1991). Additionally, more contemporary work around the conceptual framework of cultural humility, moves beyond the individual accountability addressed with humble behaviorism to address power differentials and institutional accountability, at an organizational level (Fisher-Borne et al, 2015). This continuing education event will serve to deconstruct and explain humble behaviorism and cultural humility, as well as, identify empirically based methods for advancing these practices to promote positive outcomes for stakeholders, in the field of behavior analysis.

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will define the terms humble behaviorism and cultural humility.
2. Participants will describe how describe how the practice of humble behaviorism and cultural humility can lead to positive outcomes for stakeholders in behavior analysis.
3. Participants will identify three empirically established methods for advancing the practice of humble behaviorism and cultural humility in behavior analysis.

Anna Ingeborg Pettursdottir, Ph.D.
Texas Christian University

10:00 am – 10:50 am
Presenter: Anna Ingeborg Pétursdóttir, Ph.D.
Event Type: Invited Talk, 50 min
CEU Eligibility: 1 credit

Anna Ingeborg Petursdottir received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Western Michigan University She is currently an associate professor of psychology and chair of the psychology department at Texas Christian University (TCU), and additionally holds an appointment as a part-time lecturer at Reykjavik University. Anna is a previous editor of The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, and a previous associate editor of both JABA and JEAB. She is the current president of Division 25 of the American Psychological Association, and a past president of the Texas Association for Behavior Analysis. Anna’s research encompasses both basic and applied interests and focuses primarily on verbal behavior, emergent stimulus control, and the relationship between the two.

Title: The Equivalence in Equivalence-Based Instruction

Abstract: The basic laboratory model used to study stimulus equivalence (SE) has been translated into an instructional technology referred to as equivalence-based instruction (EBI). The defining feature of EBI is that a minimal subset of possible relations among a class of instructional stimuli is strategically selected for teaching, and the remaining relations are left to emerge without instruction, as verified through testing. The major premise of EBI is that it is an efficient approach to teaching that saves effort relative to the alternative of teaching all target relations directly. However, this premise has been minimally subjected to empirical testing. In addition, a gap exists between basic research on SE and applied research EBI, in that the former has not examined potential differences between equivalence classes and stimulus classes in which all relations have been acquired through direct experience. I will describe a series of basic laboratory experiments on teaching arbitrary stimulus relations that aimed to begin bridging this gap. Each experiment compared the efficiency of one or more EBI arrangements with a complete or comprehensive instruction (CI) control condition in which all relations within target stimulus classes were taught directly. Additionally, we conducted tests for class expansion, transfer of function, class reorganization, and longer-term retention, in order to document potential effects of training history on the properties of the resulting stimulus classes. Overall, the results suggest EBI is more efficient than CI under some circumstances, but relative efficiency depends on EBI training structure and the relative stringency of mastery criteria. Both EBI and CI appear to produce equivalence classes with similar properties, but classes produced via EBI may be more flexible under some circumstances. Discussion will focus on claims that can and cannot be made about EBI at this point based on the strength of available evidence.

Learning Objectives:
1. Be able to describe the defining feature of equivalence-based instruction.
2. Be able to explain why teaching a smaller number of relations may not necessarily take fewer trials or less time than teaching a larger number of relations.
3. Be able to articulate advantages of the EBI approach to teaching in ways that are consistent with available evidence.

Manish Vaidya, Ph.D.
University of North Texas

11:00 am – 11:50 am
Presenter: Manish Vaidya, Ph.D.
BACB #:
Event Type: Invited Talk, 50 min
CEU Eligibility: 1 credit

Dr. Manish Vaidya is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas. He obtained his MS in Behavior Analysis from the University of North Texas under the guidance of Dr. Sigrid Glenn and his Ph.D. from the University of Florida under the guidance of Dr. Tim Hackenberg. Manish joined the faculty at UNT after a post-doctoral appointment at the University of Kansas under the guidance of Dr. Kate Saunders. In addition to his other duties, he currently serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. One of Manish’s applied research interests is in the nexus between behavior analysis and health-related concerns. In this area, he has explored the use of technology to create or augment contingencies of reinforcement in support of improved patient outcomes.

Title: On the Role of Applied Behavior Analysis in Healthcare and Medicine

Abstract: Problems traditionally thought to belong to domains outside behavior analysis (e.g., healthcare and medicine) have behavioral components that can be optimized to improve patient outcomes. A protocol to improve compliance with a medication regimen, for example, could play a significant role in improving health outcomes for some patients. This address will present four applications of behavior analytic principles designed to address a behavioral component of a medical problem in the hopes of improving patient outcomes. These areas include rehabilitation following total knee replacement surgery, problems with swallowing or Dysphagia, stress incontinence in older adults, and treatment of pediatric cancers. In each case, we will describe the nature of the clinical concern, a behavioral conceptualization of certain components and the solutions we have explored or are exploring. We hope the work leads to an appreciation of the role of applied behavior analysis in medicine and healthcare.

Learning Objectives:
1. Attendees will be able to describe three behavioral factors that impede recovery from knee replacement surgery.
2. Attendees will understand the role of surface electromyography in musculoskeletal retraining.
3. Attendees will be able to identify a potential role for applied behavior analysis in patient recovery and improved patient outcomes.

Lindsay Mehrkam, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Monmouth University

1:30 pm – 2:20 pm
Presenter: Lindsay Mehrkam, Ph.D., BCBA-D
BACB #: 1-15-17919
Event Type: Invited Talk, 50 min
CEU Eligibility: 1 credit

Lindsay R. Mehrkam is an assistant professor of psychology and Director of the Human-Animal Wellness Collaboratory (HAWC) at Monmouth University. A doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analyst, she earned her B.A. in Animal Behavior from Franklin & Marshall College and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology/Behavior Analysis University of Florida. Dr. Mehrkam studies how environmental factors influence play and other welfare indictors (including clinical problem behavior) in both people and animals. Her research projects include designing and evaluating evidence-based training, enrichment, and developing emergency preparedness intervention programs for animals in homes, shelters, zoos, aquariums, and wildlife sanctuaries, as well as developing and evaluating humane uses of animals in teaching and research. Her research has resulted in more than two dozen publications, chapters, industry awards and grants. She is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, and consultant on the use of behavior analytic approaches to animal welfare. Dr. Mehrkam also serves as the President of the Applied Animal Behavior Special Interest Group for the Association of Behavior Analysis International and as an Associate Editor for Society & Animals.
Title: Thinking Outside the Operant Chamber: Using Behavior Analysis in Applied Animal Settings to Improve Human-Animal Interactions

Abstract: The field of behavior analysis possesses a rich understanding of environment-behavior relations, in large part, due to the study of animals in controlled laboratory settings. An important consideration of the use of animals in teaching and research, however, is to ensure good animal welfare and maintain positive human-animal interactions. Because animal welfare is assessed, evaluated, and treated on an individual level and often relies on direct observations of behavior, behavior analytic applications are well positioned to contribute to this critical topic. This talk will focus on how behavior analytic principles are being used to better understand controlling environmental variables of various welfare indictors in animals in order to develop science-based training and enrichment evaluations and humane education interventions. This will be highlighted through examples of applied behavior analysis techniques have been successfully extended to analyzing socially significant responses in companion animals in homes and shelters, exotic animals in zoos, aquariums, and wildlife sanctuaries, and has even been used to challenge societal stereotypes of certain species. Attendees will also receive a virtual look at two on-campus animal labs at Monmouth University. the Goldfish Learning Laboratory (an aquatic EAB laboratory specializing in basic research and principles of learning) and the Applied Animal Behavior Research Clinic, which conducts human-animal interaction research and provides empirically based training and enrichment service to community dogs and cats and their caregivers. Finally, we will discuss future directions for the continued integration of applied animal behavior and behavior analysis.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this talk, participants will be able to:
1. Identify areas of behavior-analytic research and practice with animals;
2. Describe how behavior analytic approaches can help understand and explain how successful human-animal interactions may be established and maintained;
3. Describe the role of preference assessments in engineering and evaluating enriched environments;
4. List ethical considerations that arise when using animals to teaching human learners;
5. Explain how working with animals helps demonstrate the generality of behavior change principles.

Jeanne Donaldson, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Louisiana State University

2:30 am – 3:20 pm
Presenter: Jeanne Donaldson, Ph.D., BCBA-D
BACB #: 1-08-4320
Event Type: Invited Talk, 50 min
CEU Eligibility: 1 credit

Jeanne Donaldson is currently an Associate Professor at Louisiana State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Florida and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Kennedy Krieger Institute. Her research focuses on solving problems common in early childhood and assessing child and teacher preferences for interventions. She was the 2018 recipient of the B. F. Skinner Foundation New Applied Researcher Award from APA Division 25. She is currently an Associate Editor at the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and a member of the ABAI Science Board. Dr. Donaldson is a BCBA-D and Licensed Behavior Analyst in the state of Louisiana.

Title: Reconsidering Punishment Components of Common Classroom Interventions: Missing the Forest for the Trees

Abstract: Many commonly used interventions for improving classroom behavior involve punishment components (e.g., token economies with response cost, the Good Behavior Game (GBG), time-out). Sometimes the punishment-based aspects of these procedures draw criticism from behavior analysts or other professionals (e.g., school administrators). Concern about the use of punishment-based procedures is reasonable and has a long history in our field, perhaps beginning with Skinner. Additionally, applied behavior analysts have an ethical obligation to consider the risks associated with punishment-based procedures. When making these considerations, I propose we widen our lens beyond any single component of an intervention package and consider how the environmental changes produced by introducing the intervention have altered the larger school context for the student(s).

Learning Objectives:
1. Audience members will be able to identify punishment-based components of several common classroom interventions.
2. Audience members will be able to identify reinforcement-based components of several common classroom interventions.
3. Audience members will be able to describe concerns about the use of procedures involving aversive contingencies.

Bill Ahearn, Ph.D., BCBA-D
New England Center for Children

3:30 pm – 4:20 pm
Presenter: William Ahearn, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA
BACB #: 1-00-0309
Event Type: Invited Talk, 50 min
CEU Eligibility: 1 credit

Bio: Bill Ahearn, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA, is Director of Research at the New England Center for Children. Dr. Ahearn is currently the chair of the board that licenses behavior analysts in Massachusetts and serves as Editor-in-Chief for Behavioral Interventions. He also serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and previously served on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis for about 20 years. Bill has published extensively, including on the treatment of repetitive behavior, treating pediatric feeding disorders, and examining predictions of the Behavioral Momentum metaphor. He was named the 2009 American Psychological Association – Division 25 awardee for Enduring Contributions to Applied Behavioral Research (Nate Azrin award) and as CalABA’s 2020 Outstanding Contributor. Bill is also a past-President of APBA and BABAT.

Title: Evidence-based and best practices in autism treatment: Your mileage may vary

Abstract: Applied behavior analysis is acknowledged as an evidence-based approach to providing educational and clinical services to children with autism spectrum disorders; however, applied behavior analysis consists of individually tailoring interventions to meet the educational and clinical goals of each child. This individual tailoring is a complex task for a clinician but when a systematic approach that involves regular review of progress through data analysis is utilized, best practices may become apparent. This address will discuss the concepts of evidenced-based and best practice procedures and how they are defined. For example, Response Interruption and Redirection (RIRD) has been deemed an evidence-based practice as a focused intervention strategy by The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder. A variety of redirection strategies have been shown to be effective but teaching and promoting verbal and social behavior can also produce concomitant decreases in stereotypic behavior. The latter will be shown as a best practice. Then some systematic evaluations of teaching procedures conducted with persons with autism at the New England Center for Children will be described.

Learning Objectives:
1. Attendees will be able to discuss the concept of evidence-based practice.
2. Attendees will be able to discuss the concept of best clinical practices.
3. Attendees will be able to discuss the evidence-based and best practices in treating repetitive behavior.