Alice Shillingsburg, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Title: Ethical Considerations for Behavior Analysts Working with Children with Developmental Disabilities

Behavior analysts encounter a variety of ethical concerns when working with individuals with developmental disabilities. As practitioners, researchers, and teachers we are bound by numerous guidelines related to competence, empirical support, and patient rights among others. From establishing a professional relationship with a new client to designing and implementing appropriate assessment and intervention protocols, behavior analysts must consider and prepare for ethical issues. Some ethical guidelines pervade every detail of the work we do, others are consulted regularly, and others may rarely come up. At all times, however, it is necessary to be well versed in the ethical guidelines so that in all cases, ethical procedures can be followed. This workshop will cover some of the most common ethical concerns and customary practices to prevent or deal with those situations. Additionally, less common concerns and often underemphasized guidelines will be discussed with strategies to ensure compliance for the practicing and supervising behavior analyst. Lastly, new and emerging issues in the practice of behavior analysis such as, the use of technology, telehealth, and social media will be discussed.

3 Learning Objectives:
1. Describe special considerations relevant to assessing and treating individuals with developmental disabilities
2. Describe relevant ethical concerns that might emerge when considering the use of technology during assessment and treatment
3. Describe ethical considerations when providing supervision and training

Georgia Association for Behavior Analysis

9th Annual Conference  |  November 11-12, 2016


Friday November 11th: Ethics Workshop (3 CEUs)



Saturday November 12th: Invited Speakers (6 CEUs) 8:00am – 4:35pm


Sung Woo Kahng, Ph.D., BCBA-D: Facts & Fictions about the Functional Analysis of SIB

Bio: Sung Woo Kahng is an associate professor in the Department of Health Psychology at the University of Missouri and the Director of the Applied Behavioral Intervention Service of the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. He was recently appointed chair of MU’s Department of Health Psychology. Prior to his current position, he was a faculty member in the Department of Behavioral Psychology and a senior behavior analyst on the Neurobehavioral Unit at the Kennedy Krieger Institute as well as an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Kahng graduated from Kalamazoo College with a bachelor's of arts in psychology and received his Ph.D. in behavior analysis from the University of Florida. He is currently an Associate Editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis where he also served on the Board of Editors. Additionally, he is on the Board of Editors for Behavioral Intervention and has served as an ad hoc reviewer for numerous other journals. He is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Behavior Analyst in the State of Missouri. Dr. Kahng is the recipient of the 2003 B.F. Skinner New Researcher Award given by Division 25 of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Kahng has co-authored over 70 peer reviewed articles and chapters. The focus of his research and clinical work has been on assessing and treating behaviors exhibited by individuals with developmental disabilities. He is also interested in a broader research agenda, which includes topics related to obesity and aging. Finally, he has mentored numerous undergraduate, master’s level, and predoctoral students as well as post-doctoral fellows.

Abstract: The functional analysis of problem behaviors (Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Richman, & Bauman, 1982/1994) exhibited by individuals with developmental disabilities has become the gold standard of care during the treatment of these problem behaviors. Yet, there are commonly held misconceptions about its use. This presentation will discuss commonly held views about the use of functional analyses in practice (e.g., too difficult, not useful for all behaviors/individuals, unsafe) in terms of what are valid and invalid concerns.

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Dr. Michael Perone, PhD: Like Sands through the Hourglass, So Are the Causes of Our Behavior

Bio: Michael Perone earned his PhD in 1981 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He was an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington before joining the faculty at West Virginia University in 1984, where he is a professor of psychology and an associate dean. His research is concerned with developing laboratory models of behavioral processes involved in problem behavior such as failures of self-control.

Abstract: Behavior and its and antecedents and consequences occur over time. Behavior analysts have studied how behavior is distributed over time (e.g., measuring response rates, interresponse times, latencies, and pauses), how the time between an instance of behavior and a consequence affect the future probability of the behavior (e.g., in studies of delayed reinforcement and delay discounting), and how control by a stimulus changes over time (e.g., in remembering and forgetting). This presentation will consider several lines of research thematically linked to the role of time in behavioral processes. In some cases time really matters; in other cases, not so much. I will try to put these findings into theoretical perspective and explore their practical and clinical implications.

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Dr. Thomas Higbee, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA: Interventions Based on Stimulus Control to Promote Varied Verbal Behavior and Complex Social Play in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Bio: Dr. Thomas S. Higbee is a Professor of Special Education and Rehabilitation at Utah State University and Director of the Autism Support Services: Education, Research, and Training (ASSERT) program, an early intensive behavioral intervention program for children with autism that he founded in 2003. He is a doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D) and a Licensed Behavior Analyst in the state of Utah. His research focuses on the development of effective educational and behavioral interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders and related disabilities as well as the development of effective training strategies for teaching parents and professionals to implement effective interventions. He is a former associate editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA) and a current associate editor for the European Journal of Behavior Analysis and the International Journal of Behavior Analysis and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Higbee is committed to the dissemination of effective behavioral interventions and has helped to create intensive behavior analytic preschool and school programs for children with autism and related disorders in Brazil, Russia, Portugal, and throughout his home state of Utah. He is the past president of the Utah Association for Behavior Analysis (UtABA) and currently serves as a member of the Practice Board of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and the Psychologist Licensing Board of the state of Utah.

Abstract: The presence of rigid and repetitive behavior patterns is a defining characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In young children with ASD, this rigidity can be found both in verbal behavior and play behavior. Providing individuals with ASD with supplemental visual cues to engage in varied behavior, in combination with differential reinforcement, has been shown to effectively produce varied behavior. In the current presentation, studies will be presented that illustrate the effects of these stimulus control procedures on both verbal behavior and complex social play in young children with ASD. Strategies for transferring stimulus control to natural environmental cues will also be described and discussed.


Dr. Anna Ingeborg Petursdottir, PhD: Using Stimulus Pairing Procedures to Increase Vocalizations: Possible Recommendations for Clinicians

Bio: Dr. Anna Ingeborg Petursdottir is an associate professor of Psychology at Texas Christian University. Her research focuses primarily on verbal behavior acquisition and the interplay between verbal behavior and derived stimulus relations. Dr. Petursdottir is an associate editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and a past editor of The Analysis of Verbal Behavior. She currently serves as the Publication Board Coordinator of the Association for Behavior Analysis. Dr. Petursdottir is also a past president of the Texas Association for Behavior Analysis.

Abstract: It has long been hypothesized that the early cooing and babbling of infants are shaped into native-language speech sounds via auditory feedback from their own voices. In behavioral terms, vocal response products that resemble speech sounds in the infant’s environment function as reinforcers for vocalizing. Clinicians and researchers have translated this hypothesis into stimulus-stimulus pairing interventions intended to increase novel vocalizations of nonverbal children with autism and other developmental disabilities. These interventions aim to increase the reinforcing value of previously non-reinforcing speech sounds by pairing them with primary or other established reinforcers. Although the idea is conceptually sound, the literature to date has produced mixed results. In this presentation, I will discuss possible reasons for the inconsistent effects reported in the literature and provide tentative recommendations for clinicians, based on the existing literature and experience from my lab.


Dr. Michael Kelley, PhD, BCBA-D: Translational Research’s Potential Impact on Application

Bio: Dr. Kelley received his doctorate in School Psychology with an emphasis in Behavior Analysis from Louisiana State University in 2003. Dr. Kelley has held faculty positions at Marcus Institute at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, the University of Southern Maine in Portland, ME, and The Munroe-Meyer Institute at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, NE. His research interests include assessment and intervention for severe behavioral disorders, pediatric feeding disorders, the symptoms of autism, and treatment relapse. Dr. Kelley has served on the Board of Editors for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA) and the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (JEAB), and has served as Associate Editor for JABA. He has also served as a Co-Principal Investigator for several federally funded grants. Abstract: The field of applied behavior analysis (ABA) evolved from the experimental analysis of behavior. Primary strengths of ABA include its foundation of basic principles, reliance on analysis and experimental designs, and links to conceptual systems. However, applied practice sometimes progresses in the absence of direct influence of its historical roots - basic and translational research. Like others, I argue in favor of direct links between basic and applied research for advancing behavior analytic practice. First, I provide a discussion of the value of linking basic and applied research (i.e., translational research). Next, I provide examples of ways to model common applied assessments and treatments. Finally, I argue that translational research has the potential to (a) provide a general framework for better understanding existing assessments and treatments, (b) elucidate areas of potential improvement and future research for applied technologies by way of coordinated translation of basic principles, (c) stimulate direct connections between basic and applied researchers, and (d) set the stage for improving and developing applied technologies.

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Dr. George H. Noell, PhD, BCBA: Treatment Plan Implementation in Child Behavior Therapy and Education

Bio: Dr. Noell is a professor of psychology at Louisiana State University and Director of the doctoral program in school psychology. His research has focused on improving the quality and implementation of treatment plans for children in need of behavior therapy and academic intervention. Dr. Noell has been engaged in educational policy work that has sought to develop data analytic systems that time sensitive and long term policy making. He has been engaged with partners in Louisiana and nationally examining methods for assessing the quality of teacher preparation. Dr. Noell’s scholarship has been acknowledged by election to scholarly societies, awards, grants, research journal editorial board appointments, and an appointment as editor-in-chief.

Abstract: The scientific literature demonstrates that the most effective interventions for children and youth typically require implementation of treatment in their natural environments by in-vivo care providers such as parents and teachers. These findings align with applied behavior analytic practice. Research and field experience have also demonstrated that simply providing care providers directions or plans is typically in sufficient to assure treatment implementation. This session will focus on findings relevant to assuring implementation of intervention plans in the natural environment with a particular focus on teachers as the treatment agents. The session will describe conceptual issues surrounding the assessment and assurance of treatment implementation in applied settings. Additionally, the session will review findings regarding procedures that have been found to be effective in supporting intervention implementation as well as often repeated hypotheses about factors mediating treatment implementation that have not been supported by data. The session will conclude with a focus on future directions and the application of a behavior analytic science of treatment implementation across contexts.

Poster Session 5pm – 7pm (tentative)

Posters should meet the following guidelines:
- Presenters may arrive 15 min prior to the start of the session to hang their poster and must take down their poster within 15 min of the end of the session. Presenters may also hang their poster during lunch or one of the afternoon breaks.
- Posters may not be larger than 48”x36"
- Easels and clips will be supplied for hanging
- No electrical outlets or other technology supports will be provided
- Tables will not be provided
- Presenters should stand by their poster throughout the session
- Use large fonts (20 pt or larger) that are easy to read

For Sponsors:
- Tables will be provided
- Please let us know whether an electrical outlet is required and we will do our best to provide one