2019 Abstracts and Learning Objectives

Pre-Conference Workshops

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

Evelyn Gould, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA
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

Greg Hanley, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Western New England University

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

2018 Abstracts and Learning Objectives

Pre-Conference Workshops

Ruth M. DeBar, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Caldwell University

Dr. Ruth DeBar is a Doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Behavior Analyst. Dr. DeBar is Professor from Caldwell University where she teaches in the Department of Applied Behavior Analysis. She also serves as a Clinical Supervisor for the Center for Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis at Caldwell University. She earned her Master’s degree from Northeastern University via The New England Center for Children and completed her Ph.D. at The Ohio State University. She has published several peer-reviewed articles in journals like Behavior Analysis in Practice and in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and has lead professional workshops on various topics relevant to serving individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Her current research interests include functional behavior assessment, preference, choice, social validity and use of video-based instruction to teach a range of adaptive skills including social skills, vocational skills and engagement in exercise.

Verbal Behavior-Milestones and Placement Program: How to do It and Make the Most of It

The Verbal Behavior-Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) is a criterion-referenced assessment based upon children of neuro-typical development which assesses foundational skills from birth to four years of age. The VB-MAPP also assesses language using BF Skinner’s taxonomy across the basic verbal operants and can be used to identify barriers that compete with skill acquisition. The VB-MAPP can be useful for developing individualized programs for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Practitioners with understanding of the basic principles of applied behavior analysis can be taught to administer the VB-MAPP. The focus of this workshop will be to learn about the VB-MAPP, how to administer it, how to score it, and to use guide a development of a program. Attendees will be provided with resources and given opportunities to practicing scoring some Milestone targets and to develop a program based upon Milesstone assessments and Barriers outcomes.

Participants will:

  1. Identify and describe components of the VB-MAPP
  2. Define and identify examples of basic verbal operants
  3. Review administrative guidelines for the VB-MAPP with emphasis on the Milestones assessment, the Barriers assessment, and the Transition assessment
  4. Discuss program development based upon the outcomes of the Milestones and Barriers assessments.

Claudia L. Dozier, Ph.D., BCBA-D

University of Kansas

Dr. Claudia Dozier is an associate professor in the department of Applied Behavioral Science at the University of Kansas and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.  Dr. Dozier’s current area of research is in assessment, treatment, and prevention of problem behavior in children with and without development disabilities and adults with developmental disabilities.  Dr. Dozier is the faculty supervisor for a preschool program and an early intensive behavioral intervention program in the Edna A. Hill Child Development Center at the University of Kansas.  She and her graduate students also consult on behavioral services provided to a large residential facility serving adults with disabilities.  She is an associate editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and serves on the editorial boards of several other behavioral journals.

Functional Behavioral Assessment and Function-Based Prevention and Intervention

Behavior disorders exhibited by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities pose challenges to instruction or place them and others at risk. Three general approaches are used to conduct functional behavioral assessments (FBAs) for the purpose of determining maintaining variables for problem behavior (Iwata, Kahng, Wallace, & Lindberg, 2000). These approaches include anecdotal (indirect) methods, descriptive (naturalistic) analysis, and functional (experimental) analysis. Results of FBAs are then used to develop a function-based intervention to reduce the occurrence of problem behavior (Hagopian, Dozier, Rooker, & Jones, 2012). Several general categories of function-based treatments have been shown to be effective including antecedent interventions, extinction, and differential reinforcement. Furthermore, recent research suggests that environments may be set up that are based on the common functions of problem behavior and empirically-validated environmental interventions in an attempt to prevent the occurrence of problem behavior (e.g., Hanley et al., 2007). In the current workshop, general approaches to FBAs and the challenges of these methodologies will be addressed. In addition, recent research addressing these assessment challenges and the resulting modified FBA methodologies will be discussed. Furthermore, prevention procedures will be reviewed that are based on the outcomes of previous research Page 2 of 2 in the area of assessment and treatment of problem behavior. Finally, individualized intervention procedures and procedures for programming for maintenance and generalization will be reviewed.

Participants will:

  1. Be able to describe the advantages and disadvantages of different types of functional analysis methodologies.
  2. Describe different function-based interventions, including those without the use of extinction procedures.
  3. Describe different prevention procedures to decrease the occurrence of problem behavior.


Janet Twyman at annual conference and workshop

Janet Twyman, Ph.D.

University of Massachusetts Medical School/Center on Innovations in Learning

Throughout her career a preschool and elementary teacher, school principal and administrator, university professor, instructional designer, and educational consultant, Dr. Twyman has been a proponent of learning technologies that produce individual and system change. A sought-after speaker nationally and internationally, Dr. Twyman has presented on leveraging new technologies for diverse learners and settings at the United Nations. She has served on the boards of numerous organizations including the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies (chairing the Education Group) and PEER International (assisting township schools in Port Elizabeth, South Africa). In 2007-08 she served as President of the Association for Behavior Analysis International and in 2014 was named an ABAI Fellow. Formerly the Vice President of Instructional Development, Research, & Implementation at Headsprout, currently Dr. Twyman serves as the Director of Innovation & Technology for the U.S. Dept. of Education funded Center on Innovations in Learning and is the founder and Chief Learning Scientist at blast: A Learning Sciences Company. She holds faculty appointments as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and a Full Professor of Behavior Analysis at the Florida Institute of Technology. She has published and presented widely on instructional design, evidence-based innovations in education, and systems that produce meaningful differences in learners’ lives. For her distinguished contributions to educational research and practice she has received the 2015 Wing Award for Evidence-based Education and the 2017 American Psychological Association Division 25 Fred S. Keller Behavioral Education Award.

The Teaching Machine in the Digital Age: The Convergence of Education, Technology, & Behavior Analysis

Behavior analysis has had a role in effective, efficient education “technology” since Skinner’s development of the teaching machine in the 1950’s. Major contributions in behavioral education—such as Skinner’s technology of teaching, Keller’s personalized systems of instruction, Markle’s instructional design and concept formation, Lindsley’s precision teaching, Heward’s active student responding, Johnson & Layng’s generative instruction—have provided a foundation for meaningful, system-wide change in teaching and learning. Recent substantial changes in education policy and practice, such as personalized learning and competency-based education, share critical features with behavior analysis. The explosion of digital technologies, an increased understanding of their capabilities, and a newfound emphasis on measurement and analytics enhance our ability to improve student learning and enhance teacher expertise. Behavior analysts can leverage advances in learning science and digital tools to make teaching and learning more efficient, more effective, more enjoyable, and applicable to a larger set of learning areas. We will examine various instructional technology tools while discussing the congruence between behavior analysis and enhanced opportunities in education for greater learning and better outcomes for all.

Participants will:

  1. Given a description of the current context, participants will describe a current educational trend (e.g., personalized learning, competency-based education, embedded assessment, intelligent instruction & adaptation) and how it relates to behavior analysis
  2. Given a demonstration of various instructional technology tools, participants will identify at least 3 technology tools containing behavioral features that they can use in their current teaching or learning environments
  3. Given a discussion of the changing digital world, participants will identify current and future opportunities for behavior analysts outside of traditional settings
Van Camp headshot at annual conference and workshop

Carole Van Camp, Ph.D., BCBA-D

University of North Carolina Wilmington

Dr. Van Camp received her Ph.D. from Louisiana State University under the direction of Dorothea Lerman, Ph.D. She completed her Internship with University of Florida and The Department of Children and Families, Behavior Analysis Services Program, where she later became Director of Research. She is currently an associate professor at UNCW and Director of the Severe Behavior Program and Director of Clinical Research at the Center for Pediatric Behavioral Health. Dr. Van Camp has published research on the topics of functional assessment and function-based treatments, caregiver training in child welfare, and physical activity in typically developing children. She has served on the Board of Editors of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, where she has also served as a guest Associate Editor.

Physical Activity in Children: Measure, Assessment, and Intervention

Physical activity is linked to better health outcomes for all individuals; as such, the Center for Disease Control have recommended that children engage in 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per day. In this presentation, I will describe research focusing on a) identifying objective, reliable, and practical measures Page 2 of 3 of physical activity including (direct observation, pedometers, accelerometers, and heart rate monitors), b) determining individualized criteria MVPA, and c) evaluating the effectiveness of interventions to increase physical activity.

Participants will:

  1. Identify objective behavioral measures of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in children
  2. Describe individualized assessment designed to determine heart rate ranges indicative of MVPA in children
  3. Describe interventions designed to increase MVPA in children
Pilgrim picture for annual conference and workshop

Carol Pilgrim, Ph.D.

University of North Carolina Wilmington

Dr. Carol Pilgrim received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 1987 with a specialization in the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. She is currently Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she has been honored with a Distinguished Teaching Professorship (1994-1997), the North Carolina Board of Governors Teaching Excellence Award (2003), the Faculty Scholarship Award (2000), and the Graduate Mentor Award (2008). She received the Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award and the College of Arts and Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award in 1992, the ABAI Student Committee Outstanding Mentor Award in 2006, and the ABAI Distinguished Service to Behavior Analysis award in 2017. Her research contributions include both basic and applied behavior analysis, with an emphasis in human operant behavior, relational stimulus control, and the early detection of breast cancer. Dr. Pilgrim has served as editor of The Behavior Analyst, associate editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and The Behavior Analyst, co-editor of the Experimental Analysis of Human Behavior Bulletin, and as a member of the editorial boards of those and several other journals. She is a Fellow of the Association for Behavior Analysis International and of Division 25 of the American Psychological Association. She has served as President of the Association for Behavior Analysis, the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis, Division 25 of the American Psychological Association, and the Southeastern Association for Behavior Analysis. Additionally, she has been Member-at-large of the Executive Council of ABA and Division 25, and member of the Boards of Directors of the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis, and the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.

Translational Research and Stimulus Equivalence: A Case Study in the Benefits of Integrated Basic, Applied, and Conceptual Behavior Analysis

There can be little doubt that Sidman’s original definition of stimulus equivalence (Sidman & Tailby, 1982), based on the mathematical properties of reflexivity, symmetry, and transitivity, provided a critical starting point for a behavior-analytic examination of complex human repertoires often described in cognitive terms. As important as this starting point has proved to be, recent findings in equivalence research indicate that the original definition may not capture well the full range of emergent behavior patterns that are possible. Restricting ourselves to only those mathematical properties may underestimate the power and the promise of equivalence approaches for understanding and establishing necessary functional skills. This talk will review the basic equivalence approach, and then provide examples of emergent patterns that go far beyond the properties of reflexivity, symmetry, and transitivity. In doing so, the talk will highlight the benefits of lessons learned in applying equivalence approaches for basic science, and the potential that lies in application of new laboratory findings for furthering the impact of equivalence approaches.

Participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the basic stimulus-equivalence paradigm
  2. Describe examples of emergent performances that result from equivalence approaches in addition to reflexivity, symmetry, and transitivity
  3. Describe the potential applied implications of an expanded definition of equivalence
St Peter headshot for annual conference and workshop

Claire St. Peter, Ph.D., BCBA-D

West Virginia University

Dr. Claire St. Peter received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 2006. She is currently an Associate Professor of Psychology and the Coordinator of the Behavior Analysis program area at West Virginia University. Dr. St. Peter’s research focuses on the development of assessments and interventions for challenging behavior, including the challenging behavior displayed in school contexts. She is interested in evaluating naturalistic conditions of intervention implementation, including effects of degraded integrity on intervention efficacy and conditions that result in a relapse of previously treated behavior. She has also conducted research on the dissemination of behavioral approaches. She is a former Associate Editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. She currently serves the editorial boards of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and Perspectives on Behavioral Science, and is a Senior Editor for Education and Treatment of Children.

Supporting Teachers as Behavioral Engineers: Creating High-Quality Trainings for School Contexts

American teachers are increasingly asked to manage difficult behavior in the classroom, and consistently report feeling unprepared to do so. To have the greatest positive impact on child behavior, teachers must be able to implement high-quality, empirically based interventions. Behavior analysts can assist teachers by determining teachers’ skill sets and the fidelity with which teachers implement procedures. These fidelity data can serve as quality indicators as teachers receive additional training. Data from our research group suggests that teachers need frequent training and supports to become successful implementers. To sustain behavior-analytic practice in schools, our trainings must meet Page 3 of 3 both our quality standards and be “do-able” for school districts. I will describe three ways that behavior analysts can adapt well-established behavioral skills training to increase our impact in educational contexts.

Participants will:

  1. Describe why measuring implementation fidelity is important
  2. Name at least two ways to measure implementation fidelity
  3. Assess generalization of skills across various forms of behavioral intervention
  4. Describe three ways to adapt behavioral skills training for educational contexts
Learman headshot

Dorothea C. Lerman, Ph.D., BCBA-D

University of Houston Clear Lake

Dorothea Lerman is currently a Professor of Psychology at the University of Houston – Clear Lake, where she directs a master’s program in behavior analysis and serves as Director of the UHCL Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. She received her doctoral degree in Psychology from the University of Florida in 1995, specializing in behavior analysis. Her areas of expertise include autism, developmental disabilities, early intervention, functional analysis, teacher and parent training, and treatment of severe behavior disorders (e.g., aggression, self-injury. Dr. Lerman has published more than 80 research articles and chapters, served as Editor-in-Chief for The Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Behavior Analysis in Practice and has secured more than $2 million in grants and contracts to support her work. She was the recipient of the 2007 Distinguished Contribution to Applied Behavioral Research Award and the 2001 B.F. Skinner Award for New Researchers, awarded by Division 25 of the American Psychological Association. She also was named a Fellow of the Association for Behavior Analysis-International in 2008. Dr. Lerman is a Licensed Psychologist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Soaring Beyond the Nest: Preparing Individuals with Autism for Life After High School

An increasing number of individuals with autism are entering adulthood without adequate preparation for successful transitions to work or college. Behavior analysts have much to offer these individuals as they prepare for life after high school. This presentation will provide an overview of skills critical to success in maintaining employment and for successfully navigating post-secondary education environments. The presentation will focus on how to assess and teach effective social skills in work and college settings. Outcomes of research and practice for teaching job-related social skills and for providing supports to college students with autism will be described.

Participants Will:

  1. Describe skills critical to success at work and college
  2. Identify gaps in the literature on preparing individuals with autism for employment and post-secondary education
  3. Describe a general methodology for assessing conversation and job-related social skills
  4. Describe the components of behavioral skills training
  5. Identify essential elements of support for college students with autism

Moderator: Jennifer R. Zarcone, Ph.D., BCBA-D

May Institute

Panel: Women as Leaders in Behavior Analysis

This year at MABA we will have several prominent women in our field sharing their research and knowledge in behavior analysis as keynote speakers. In addition to their presentations, there will be a panel that will focus on the successes and barriers that they have each experienced as they have developed into leaders in our field. Specifically, we will be learning about barriers to success in their roles as clinicians, academics, researchers, and administrators. The panel will also discuss ways that the members have been able to strike a balance between their careers, family, and other demands. Finally, the panel will also provide attendees with information on how to move effectively into leadership positions in our field.

Participants Will:

  1. Be able to identify potential obstacles to their professional growth and ways that the obstacles may be minimized
  2. Learn new ways that they can maximize opportunities for leadership not just for themselves but for those individuals they mentor
  3. Identify ways to promote equality and equity in their individual communities (clinic, lab, classroom, program)