Conditioning Ourselves as Reinforcers: How We Can Succeed in Public Schools

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About the presentation:

During the past 20 years, ABA has been demonstrated as the most supported, evidence-based treatment for autism. Also during this time period, the BCBA credential was established and provided a national standard of practice for ABA practitioners. These developments have resulted in the steady growth of BCBAs nationally and to the expansion in hiring of BCBAs in public schools. However, ABA is still unfamiliar and misunderstood in many public school districts. This talk will discuss reasons why ABA continues to struggle for acceptance and strategies to improve our relationships with educators, administrators, and related service providers. Focus will be placed on how to establish ourselves as reinforcers and how to facilitate collaborative and effective ABA service delivery. These points will be illustrated in a case example of a public school system in a mid-sized city in Massachusetts that grew its ABA department from1 to 11 BCBAs over a 11 year span.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify a minimum of 3 reasons why ABA struggles to be accepted in public schools
2. Provide an example of how the competing behavior model can be used to identify the function of public school staff’s behavior.
3. State a minimum of 3 strategies that will increase success in providing public school consultation.

About the presenter:

Dan Almeida is the District Supervisor of ABA Services for Newton, MA Public Schools. He has provided ABA services to students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and related disabilities for over 30 years. He has conducted professional development workshops in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) since 1998 and currently is adjunct faculty at UMASS-Boston, teaching classes in certificate and graduate degree programs in ABA.