Conference 2019 / Keynote Speakers

Dr. Russell Lang, BCBA-D

Keynote Presenter

Title: Ethics of Evidence-based Practice and the Dangers of Pseudoscience

Abstract

This presentation begins by comparing the different definition of evidence-based practice offered by various organizations. Next, the importance of the evidence-based practice movement and the dangers of pseudo-scientific practices in the education and treatment of people with developmental and intellectual disability are discussed. The majority of the presentation will then focus on the common characteristics of pseudo-scientific (“fad” and “junk science”) intervention through discussion of the most popular pseudo-scientific interventions provided to people with disability. Finally, the presentation concludes by identifying strategies for behavior analysts who need to advocate for evidence-based practice while working in challenging applied contexts in collaboration with other disciplines. This presentation is rooted in the Behavior Analysts’ Code of Ethics and specific ethical guidelines and considerations are offered.

Objectives

  1. The participant will be able to define Evidence-Based Practice and note similarities and differences in how EBP is defined across disciplines (e.g. Medicine, Psychology and Education).
  2. The participant will be able to identify and describe the common characteristics of pseudo-scientific practices and describe how such practices can cause harm to clients and their families.
  3. The participants will be able to identify 5 of the most common pseudo-scientific practices provided to children with disability.
  4. The participant will be more prepared to advocate for the use of EBPs with their clients.

Title: Collateral Benefits of Operant Play Interventions for Children with Autism

Abstract

This presentation will present the findings from two peer-reviewed studies. First, a meta-analysis of collateral behavior changes that have been reported in peer-reviewed intervention studies involving children with autism will be presented with a focus on the findings related to play behavior. Next, an intervention study that will improve the functional play of three children with autism will be presented with an emphasis on behavioral variability, generalization, maintenance, and indices of happiness. Finally, the need for an operant taxonomy for play behaviour will be discussed.

Objectives

  1. The participant will be able to describe the typical development of play behaviour and identify the important learning opportunities that arise during various forms of play.
  2. The participant will be able to list common play deficits and excesses observed in the play behaviour of children with autism and describe how these may affect other domains of development.
  3. The participant will be able to describe how lag schedules of reinforcement may be able to facilitate improvements in play diversity and support response and stimulus generalization related to newly acquired play skills.

Biography

Russell Lang, Ph.D., BCBA-D, is an Associate Professor of Special Education and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral (BCBA-D) at Texas State University. He is also the Executive Director of the university-based Clinic for Autism Research Evaluation and Support (CARES). He earned a doctorate in Special Education with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and early childhood developmental disabilities from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Lang completed a post-doctoral researcher position at the University of California in Santa Barbara. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed research papers and books concerning the education and treatment of children with autism and other developmental disabilities. His primary research interest is in improving playing skills and decreasing challenging behaviors in individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Lang’s research is most often conducted in applied settings including children’s homes and schools.  He serves as an Associate Editor for The Journal of Child and Family Science, Advances in Neurodevelopmental Disorders, and the Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. He is a member of the editorial review boards for Journal of Development and Physical Disabilities, Developmental Neurorehabilitation, Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disorders, Journal of Behavioral Education, Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Behavior Modification. He is a former board member for Journal Applied Behavior Analysis.

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Dr. Claire St. Peter, BCBA-D

Keynote Speaker

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

Abstract

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. This issue is not a uniquely American problem—in Australia, behavior analysts are also beginning to be called to deal with severe behavior in the schools. 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 may teachers need frequent training and supports to become successful implementers. Yet, providing intensive supports when resources are minimal can be a challenging. To sustain behavior-analytic practice in schools, our trainings must meet 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.

Learning objectives:

Participants will be able to:

  1. Describe why measuring implementation fidelity is important
  2. Describe three ways to adapt behavioral skills training for educational contexts
  3. List steps to modifying behavioral skills training for schools
  4. Provide exemplars of the possible growth in skills following modified behavioral skills training

Title: Impacts of Reduced Treatment Integrity on Intervention Outcomes

Abstract:

The term treatment integrity refers to the extent to which interventions are implemented as they are designed. For over 20 years, there have been calls for increased reporting of treatment integrity in research and consideration of treatment integrity in clinical practice. Yet, treatment integrity remains an infrequent research topic and rare practice consideration. In this presentation, I describe several studies evaluating naturalistic levels of treatment integrity across several procedures and relate those data to the likely impact that reduced integrity had on treatment outcomes for clients. I hope to convince the audience that evaluations of treatment integrity are critical for research and practice if we hope to create sustainable change in socially significant behavior.

Learning objectives:

Participants will be able to:

  1. Define treatment integrity
  2. Identify measures of treatment integrity
  3. Categorize integrity failures as omission or commission errors
  4. Describe naturalistic levels of treatment integrity
  5. Identify situations in which low integrity may be detrimental to treatment outcomes

Biography

Dr. Claire St. Peter received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 2006. She is currently a Professor of Psychology and the Coordinator of the Behavior Analysis program area at West Virginia University. Dr. St. Peter’s research focuses on 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 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, and 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. Her research and clinical practice have resulted in over $2 million in grants and contracts, and more than 50 peer-reviewed publications.

 

 

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Keynote Change

In a change to the original line-up, we are very saddened to say that Dr. Cynthia Anderson is no longer available to present her keynote addresses at our annual conference in July. However, we are delighted to report that Dr. Claire St. Peter has agreed to share her knowledge and expertise in the area of teacher training and treatment integrity.