2023 Speakers


Florence DiGennaro Reed, Ph.D., BCBA-D
University of Kansas

Kate Peterson, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Featured Conference Speakers

Yulema Cruz, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Rutgers University

Einar Ingvarsson, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA
Virginia Institute of Autism (VIA)

Danny Conine, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Georgia State University

Tara Fahmie, Ph.D., BCBA-D
University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe Meyer Institute

David Cox, Ph.D., M.S.B., BCBA-D
Rethink First


9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Presenter: Florence DiGennaro Reed, Ph.D., BCBA-D
BACB #: 1-04-2063
Event Type: Invited Workshop, 3 hrs.
CEU Eligibility: 3 credits (SUPERVISION CEUs)

Dr. Florence DiGennaro Reed, a board certified behavior analyst, received a doctorate in school psychology from Syracuse University. She also completed a clinical post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute for Child Development and a pre-doctoral internship in clinical psychology at the May Center for Education and Neurorehabilitation and the May Center for Child Development. Presently, Florence is a Professor in the Department of Applied Behavioral Science at the University of Kansas where she serves as departmental chairperson and directs the Performance Management Laboratory. Her research examines effective and efficient staff training and performance improvement practices. Florence has published 90 articles and book chapters and two edited books on a variety of topics including training, performance management, assessment, and intervention. With co-authors Drs. Gregory Madden and Derek Reed, Florence recently published a textbook titled An Introduction to Behavior Analysis. Moreover, Florence has been an Associate Editor for Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Journal of Behavioral Education, and Behavior Analysis in Practice.
Workshop Title: Building a Strong Team and Work Culture

Abstract: Staff turnover has negative ramifications for service quality, is costly for organizations, and negatively affects remaining employees. Turnover rates in human service settings reached over 100% during the SARS-COV-2 pandemic and remain high. These numbers have highlighted the need to proactively prevent turnover by using research-supported practices. The purpose of this workshop is to teach supervisory skills that build a positive work culture, facilitate teamwork, and decrease turnover. Hands-on activities will supplement didactic instruction.

Learning Objectives:
1. The participant will be able to describe negative effects of staff turnover.
2. The participant will be able to identify proactive and reactive supervisory practices to build a positive work culture.
3. The participant will be able to identify barriers to effective supervision and brainstorm how to resolve.

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Presenter: Kate Peterson, Ph.D., BCBA-D
BACB #: 1-09-5639
Event Type: Invited Workshop, 3 hrs.
CEU Eligibility: 3 credits

Dr. Kathryn Peterson specializes in the assessment and treatment of pediatric feeding disorders. Dr. Peterson serves as the Director of Intensive Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program at Children’s Specialized Hospital. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and an affiliate faculty member in the Rutgers Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology. She previously earned a Ph.D. in behavior analysis and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), where she subsequently served as an assistant professor for five years. She has published research in numerous peer-reviewed journals, authored book chapters, and conducted trainings and presentations both nationally and internationally. Dr. Peterson serves on the board of editors and as a guest associate editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. She has served as a routine ad-hoc reviewer and associate editor for flagship journals, such as Behavior Analysis in Practice, Behavior Analysis: Research and Practice, and Pediatrics. She was the 2016 recipient of the Award of Excellence from the Heartland Association for Behavior Analysis; the 2017 recipient of the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior’s Contribution of the Year award; and the 2021 recipient of the Pennsylvania State University’s People to Watch award. She has fulfilled numerous roles on the boards for the Heartland and Nebraska Associations for Behavior Analysis, and she has secured grant awards through UNMC’s Pediatrics, Diversity, and the Munroe-Meyer Institute’s guild funds to support her research.

Workshop Title: Recent Advancements in the Treatment of Pediatric Feeding Disorders: Examining Social Validity, Safety, and Assessment

Abstract: It is critical to identify methods to enhance the social validity of behavior-analytic treatments and services. Recent trends in behavior-analytic research show that researchers and practitioners are interested in finding ways to improve the social validity of interventions (Ferguson et al., 2018). Currently, the most empirically supported intervention for pediatric feeding disorders is escape extinction (non-removal of the spoon), and there is a growing body of evidence to support the use of various antecedent- and reinforcement-based alternatives. Although escape extinction is well-established, some may view this intervention to be more intrusive, which can lead to questions and misconceptions related to its social validity. The purpose of this workshop is to explore social validity as it relates to various treatments for pediatric feeding disorders. More specific, I will review (a) various objective measures of social validity and how they have been applied to feeding-disorders treatments, (b) methods for maintaining a safe environment for assessment and treatment, and (c) alternative interventions that have resulted in increased food consumption in the absence of escape extinction.

Learning Objectives:
1. Attendees will identify the primary components of social validity and how practitioners can include these measures into their services using objective tools.
2. Attendees will describe components of a demand hierarchy assessment and learn how to incorporate the assessment into treatment planning.
3. Attendees will define ways to monitor a child’s safety during the assessment and treatment of feeding disorders.


9:00 am – 9:50 am
Presenter: Yulema Cruz, Ph.D., BCBA-D
BACB #: 1-06-3120
Event Type: Invited Talk, 50 min
CEU Eligibility: 1 credit (SUPERVISION CEU)

Dr. Yulema Cruz received an PhD in Education with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) from Nova Southeastern University. She is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral with over 20 years of experience in the field. Her academic interests include ethics and supervision in ABA, the latter of which was the topic of her dissertation. Dr. Cruz is an assistant teaching professor at Rutgers University, and the practicum coordinator for the Department of Applied Psychology. She has also taught courses in Spanish as an adjunct for UNIBE, in the Dominican Republic. Additionally, Dr. Cruz is an ABA consultant and supervisor who works in the development of supervision systems, and the dissemination of ABA to other countries and languages. She co-owns KHY ABA Consulting Group, Inc. Dr. Cruz also provides ethical advice in the area of supervision as part of the international www.ABAEthicshotline.com and was president of the Florida Association for Behavior Analysis from 2019-2021.

Title: Teaching Supervisory Skills to Behavior Analysts and Improving Therapists Skills
Abstract: This presentation will focus on discussing a systematic method of training and evaluating Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) supervisors. The study employed a concurrent multiple baseline across subjects design to assess the use of a behavioral skills training (BST) modified protocol designed to teach BCBA®s and BCBA-D®s to supervise therapists administering discrete trial teaching (DTT) sessions for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Therapists’ performances before and during their supervisors’ training was also assessed. Results revealed that the implementation of systematic supervision training improved supervisor and therapist performances when compared to baseline values.

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss a method of teaching and evaluating BCBA® supervisory skills.
2. Examine a means to provide ongoing evaluation of therapists’ DTT skills.
3. Review a process to prioritize DTT-related feedback provided to the therapist.

10:10 am – 11:00 am
Presenter: Einar Ingvarsson, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA
BACB #: 1-08-4390
Event Type: Invited Talk, 50 min
CEU Eligibility: 1 credit

Einar T. Ingvarsson is the Director of Training and Research at Virginia Institute of Autism (VIA), where he oversees staff training, professional development, and research projects. Einar holds a master’s degree in behavior analysis from the University of North Texas and a Ph.D. in behavioral psychology from the University of Kansas. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and is a Licensed Behavior Analyst in Virginia. He currently teaches behavior analysis courses at the University of Virginia School of Education and Human Development. Einar has authored over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles and several book chapters. He previously served as associate editor for both the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA) and The Analysis of Verbal Behavior (TAVB), and currently serves on the editorial boards of JABA, TAVB, Behavioral Interventions, and European Journal of Behavior Analysis.

Title: The Intersection of Virtual Reality and ABA: Peer Social Skills and Driving Simulation

Abstract: Virtual reality (VR) interventions have become increasingly widespread in various fields, and applied behavior analysis is no exception. Much of the published research on VR within ABA has focused on training staff and treatment implementers; however, VR also holds promise as an intervention approach for clients and consumers of ABA services. This talk will provide an overview of the current status of behavior analytic research in this area, as well as examples of two research projects. The first includes young children with ASD and involves measuring acquisition of peer social skills within a VR environment as well as generalization to “real world” setting with actual peers. The second project involves mixed-reality training on safe driving skills with adolescents and young adults with ASD. Both projects offer lessons on collaborations with other disciplines and technology developers.

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to describe the benefits and limitations of utilizing VR in ABA interventions
2. Participants will be able to describe crucial instructional design components in VR interventions
3. Participants will be able to give examples of how to measure generalization from VR environments to the real world

11:20 am – 12:10 pm
Presenter: Danny Conine, Ph.D., BCBA-D
BACB #: 1-18-30028
Event Type: Invited Talk, 50 min
CEU Eligibility: 1 credit

Daniel Conine is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst – Doctoral and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Learning Sciences at Georgia State University. He serves as Program Coordinator for the college’s Applied Behavior Analysis Master’s program. Conine received his doctorate and master’s degrees in psychology from the University of Florida. He has worked in a variety of clinical and research contexts throughout his career providing behavior-analytic services to children and their families, including services related early intervention and language development, the treatment of challenging behavior, and caregiver training and supports.
Conine conducts research primarily on behavior-analytic interventions for individuals with autism, with an emphasis on communication skills, verbal behavior, and identifying effective reinforcers. His research aims to improving the overall efficiency of interventions by targeting behavioral cusps, incorporating preference assessment, and studying strategies that promote generalization, maintenance and emergent learning. Conine also focuses on research related to the ethics and social validity of behavioral interventions. Conine has published peer-reviewed research in a wide range of behavior-analytic journals, and currently sits on the editorial boards for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Behavior Analysis in Practice.

Title: Practice-to-research gaps in preference and reinforcer assessment for individuals with developmental disabilities: What we’ve learned lately, what we still don’t know, and why it’s important

Abstract: For decades, applied behavior analysis has enjoyed the benefits of a robust technology known as stimulus preference assessment (SPA). A wide variety of validated SPA methods exist, which produce rank-ordered hierarchies of stimuli that are correlated with reinforcer efficacy. However, data from the past decade also suggest that these technologies may not be used in practice with sufficient frequency to account for how often preferences can shift in contemporary clinical contexts. This presentation will cover some recent findings regarding practical matters in SPA administration (e.g., assessment duration, types of stimuli), as well as new data suggesting that the research literature may not have fully “caught up” to study some methods of gauging preference that might nonetheless be commonly employed in clinical and educational practice. The importance of closing this practice-to-research gap will be highlighted, including implications for both clinical practice and future research.

Learning Objectives:
1. Summarize the strengths and limitations of established stimulus preference assessment (SPA) methods and their utility in various clinical contexts.
2. Describe recent findings on practical considerations in SPA administration, including assessment duration and types of stimuli used.
3. Recognize potential gaps in the empirical literature regarding preference assessment approaches commonly used in practice.

1:40 pm – 2:30 pm
Presenter: Tara Fahmie, Ph.D., BCBA-D
BACB #: 1-11-9297
Event Type: Invited Talk, 50 min
CEU Eligibility: 1 credit

Dr. Tara Fahmie is an Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Severe Behavior Program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe Meyer Institute. She previously held an appointment as associate professor at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). She earned her master’s degree from the University of Kansas and her PhD from the University of Florida. Dr. Fahmie is a BCBA-D and has over 15 years of experience implementing behavior analysis with various populations in clinics, schools, and residential settings. Her main area of expertise is in the assessment and treatment of severe problem behavior; she has conducted research, authored chapters, and received grants for her global work in this area. Her initial interests in the functional analysis of problem behavior and acquisition of social skills in young children led to her emerging passion for research on the prevention of problem behavior.

Title: Opposing trends in functional analysis research and where to go from here

Abstract: The past decade of functional analysis research shows an interesting divergence in trends toward efficiency, on one side, and precision on the other. Sometimes, these trends are in opposition; however, both have an important place in our science. This talk will describe several advancements in functional analysis research with a particular focus on assessment validity. The talk will include a review of published research, outcomes of emerging research from the presenter’s lab, and the presenter’s opinion on the most productive way to move forward.

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will distinguish between concurrent and predictive validity
2. Participants will describe three ways to make a functional more efficient without compromising the accuracy of outcomes

3:00 pm – 3:50 pm
Presenter: David Cox, Ph.D., M.S.B., BCBA-D
BACB #: 1-11-9530
Event Type: Invited Talk, 50 min
CEU Eligibility: 1 credit

Dr. David J. Cox, Ph.D., M.S.B., BCBA-D has worked within the behavioral health industry for 17 years. He began work in behavioral health by providing and then supervising Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) programs for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. After 8 years of clinical work, Dr. Cox went back to school to earn his PhD in Behavior Analysis from the University of Florida (2018), Post-Doctoral Training in Behavioral Pharmacology and Behavioral Economics from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (2020), and Post-Doctoral Training in Data Science from the Insight! Data Science program (2020). Since 2014, Dr. Cox’s research and applied work has focused on how to effectively leverage technology, quantitative modeling, and artificial intelligence to ethically optimize behavioral health outcomes and clinical decision-making. Based on individual and collaborative work, Dr. Cox has published 50+ peer-reviewed articles, four books, and 165+ presentations at scientific conferences.

Title: Advanced Analytics and Patient Outcomes in Applied Behavior Analysis

Abstract: Patients, their caregivers, and payers often want to know exactly what they will get when receiving ABA and for how long it will last. They also often want to know how they can identify ABA providers who are better at providing ABA services compared to other providers. However, the complexity of ABA service delivery and idiosyncratic intervention and goal design make answering questions around patient outcomes challenging. In this presentation, we review categories of quality measurement stakeholders often seek and how advanced analytics (e.g., statistical modeling, machine learning) allow us to answer questions about patient outcomes. Specifically, we show one way that ABA providers and payers can model and predict patient outcomes as a function of each patient’s unique clinical profile. From there, all stakeholders can identify which patients are making progress above, at, or below expectations so that relevant action can be taken accordingly. Further, as outcome measures gain adoption, advanced analytics offer opportunities for bringing applications of artificial intelligence to bear on ABA such as: ABA hours / dosage recommender systems, patient-provider matching, treatment pathway analysis, and dynamic treatment recommender systems to optimize patient outcomes.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the three types of quality measures and provide examples from ABA.
2. Describe three methods for identifying patient profiles to account for clinical severity in analytics of patient outcomes.
3. Describe how advanced analytics allow for predicting patient outcomes in ABA that can inform conversations around quality measurement, provider comparisons, and improved clinical decision making.