Intergenerational Leadership and Supervision

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About the presentation: 

The field of behavioral science is evolving.  Tracing our earlier roots to the works of Pavlov, Watson, Thorndike, Skinner and others is an important part of the education and training of future leaders.  However, it is far too easy to forget the societal contexts in which these pioneers operated.  This presentation makes the case that operating across generations (aka Intergenerational Leadership) poses some unique challenges.  Among those are scientific advances and cultural factors.  

For Example: How the spectrum of autism is conceptualized, diagnosed, and treated has changed dramatically over the years.  In this presentation we will examine some of the challenges that were encountered along the way, which ones are prevalent today, and which ones may predominate in the future.  Leo Kanner emigrated from what is now the Ukrane in 1924.  Beginning in 1938, he began chronicling the lives and behaviors of 11 children that resulted in his seminal paper “Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact” (Kanner, 1943).  Kanner was driven, in part, by his horror at the way state hospital patients were treated after being summarily released and assigned work as domestic servants.  His work was foundational in helping draw distinctions between what he called “Autism” and other conditions like schizophrenia. However, Kanner had difficulty understanding why most of the children he encountered there came from parents that had highly successful careers in science and noted that many of them had an “unaffectionate dynamic” in dealing with their kids.  

Another immigrant, Ole Ivar Lovaas, established the Young Autism Project at UCLA in 1962.  By 1987, he published a study (since expanded) that showed 9/19 autistic children in his clinic developed spoken language and were placed in “regular” education classes.  His follow up in 1993 found that 8 of those children had maintained their gains and were “indistinguishable from their typically developing peers”.  Dr. Lovaas was more concerned with what the children in his care needed to learn (and teaching in ways that they learn) than he was with focusing on their disability.   However, the goal of making an autistic person indistinguishable from their peers has met with significant backlash from autistic advocates who would prefer that these children grow up to be “an autistic adult who is happy, healthy and living a self-determined life”.  This issue is still being debated and it highlights the ethical quandaries faced by some in the ABA field.  We will examine some of those issues.

In 1986, after decades of progress, the mathematical theory of Chaos began to impact how many of the sciences viewed issues of prediction and projection.  One question that is often asked by families is how far my child will go and how fast will they make progress.  Chaos theory has important implications for how that question is answered.  This talk will briefly highlight a few of those implications. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to list two pioneers in the development of behavioral science that had seminal contributions but also left some troubling legacies in their wake. 
  • Participants will be able to list three types of corporate structure that allows companies to serve children and adults on the autism spectrum
  • Participants will be able to write a paragraph discussing the pro’s and potential cons strict adherence to only using “evidence based practices”.

About the presenter:

Dr. Holdsambeck is a licensed psychologist with 45 years of clinical experience delivering services to people with developmental disabilities, including those on the autism spectrum. He was one of the first in the nation to become certified in behavior analysis (#0007). The company he founded, Holdsambeck Behavioral Health, employs over 100 clinicians serving 1000+ individuals annually in California and Hawaii.  Previously he served his country as a Captain in the Air Force Reserves and his community as a tenured professor of psychology. He was selected as the 2010 distinguished colleague by the Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s department of applied behavior analysis. In 2011, he received the outstanding service award from the Cambridge Center for his work in bringing evidence-based practices to California. Dr. Holdsambeck is an author and frequent keynote speaker at International, National and State conferences.  His most recent publications are the highly acclaimed books, “Behavior Science: Tales of Inspiration Discovery and Service” (Holdsambeck and Pennypacker Eds., 2017, Omnibus as well as volumes I, II, and III).  In addition to the activities mentioned above, Dr. Holdsambeck is currently serving in his 10th year as the Executive Director of the prestigious Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies™.