Hawai'i Association for Behavior Analysis

To educate, advocate for, and support both providers and consumers 
of Applied Behavior Analysis.


Keynote Speaker: Patrick C. Friman, Ph.D., ABPP

Title:  Anxiety and the Autism Spectrum: The Psychological Equivalent of Fever

Abstract: Anxiety is a term used for the most common group of psychological/behavioral problems affecting humankind. These problems are so prevalent in typically developing persons that they are like the psychological equivalent of fever. Pertinent to this presentation, these problems are even more prevalent in persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) than in typically developing persons. One obstacle to clinical progress is the term anxiety itself. It is a hypothetical term that has resisted technical definition since Freud popularized it. For example, the most authoritative book on anxiety disorders does not even attempt a definition for the first 100 pages and the one then offered is a long paragraph that itself includes a number of undefined terms. Nonetheless, a number of effective treatments are available. Although better understanding of the term and the phenomena to which it refers would advance treatment even more, the purpose of this talk is merely to describe current knowledge. For example, virtually all of the problem behaviors associated with anxiety involve either avoidance or escape. In addition, virtually all of the effective treatments involve variations of escape extinction. This talk will discuss anxiety in straightforward terms; illuminate the extent to which it affects virtually everyone to a certain degree and the extent to which it affects persons on the autism spectrum even more. It will also discuss treatment both in terms of experimental study and in terms of clinical application. Finally, because the research on treatment of anxiety in persons with ASD is so limited, the talk will extrapolate from the abundant literature on treatment of anxiety in typically developing persons.

Keynote Speaker: Caio F. Miguel, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Title: Bi-Directional Naming and Problem Solving

Abstract: We often solve problems by engaging in mediating strategies such as talking to ourselves. In order to accurately use and respond to these strategies, we must understand what we are saying. The term bidirectional naming (BiN) has been used to describe the integration of both listener and speaker behaviors that leads to speaking with understanding. In this talk, I will describe a series of studies showing that in the absence of either speaker or listener behaviors, participants often fail to solve problems in the form of matching-to-sample and categorization tasks. These results suggest that to solve complex tasks participants must be verbal. More specifically, they must react to the products of their own verbal behavior as listeners. Thus, I will propose that the BiN repertoire is one of the most important skills to be taught during early intensive behavioral intervention.

Invited Speaker: Wendy Machalicek, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Title:  Improving Outcomes for Children with Autism: Telehealth Applications for Supervision and Coaching of Early Childhood Professionals

Abstract: Behavior analysts and other early intervention providers are challenged to provide ongoing training, and coaching with performance feedback to supervises as part of ongoing case supervision related to autism service delivery. These challenges, which include high caseloads, personnel shortages, travel time, funding issues, and procedural issues, are shared by healthcare providers who have aimed to mitigate these difficulties through the use of asynchronous and synchronous telehealth modalities. Increasingly, researchers and providers in education, behavior analysis, and related fields are using telehealth to directly deliver assessment and intervention to clients and to provide training and coaching with performance feedback to caregivers and supervisees at a distance. This presentation reviews available research and guidance on the use of telehealth models, provides examples of how to effectively use telehealth in practice, and provides guidance to practitioners on the ethical and effective use of telehealth modalities such as synchronous videoconferencing to provide training and supervision at a distance.

Invited Speaker: Jason C. Vladescu, Ph.D., BCBA-D, NCSP, LBA

Title:Teaching Safety Skills to Children

Abstract: Unintentional injury is the leading cause of death for children over the age of one year. Although the specific causes of these deaths vary, a subset is the result of contact with dangerous stimuli. Along these lines, effort has been made to evaluate ways to teach children to engage in a safety response when a dangerous stimulus is encountered. Following a discussion of the need for safety skills and how safety skills are assessed, the presentation will review recent research on teaching individuals to demonstrate safety skills. Strategies for establishing a discriminated safety response, promoting a generalized safety response, and increasing the efficiency of safety response training will be presented. Recent research will be used to support recommended practices.

Invited Speaker: Tara A. Fahmie, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Title: Recent Advancements in the Prevention of Severe Problem Behavior

Abstract: Research on the functional analysis of severe problem behavior (aggression, self-injury, property destruction) has yielded a great deal of information about the conditions that give rise to and maintain such behavior in children and adolescents. These collective findings have produced a powerful technology for behavior change; however, the prevailing focus remains on the treatment of existing severe behavior. In this presentation, we will propose several strategies to prevent the initial onset of problem behavior with special focus on school-based applications. Strategies will be based on a review of emerging areas of research in both the functional analysis of problem behavior and prevention.

Invited Speaker: Dan Almeida, Ph.D., BCBA-D

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

Abstract: 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.

Invited Speaker: Christine Almeida, MSEd., EdS, BCBA

Title: Effectively Running Social Groups and What to Do to Get Your Child Ready for a Group

Abstract: Social Pragmatics is a critically important set of skills for all students, but especially those with diagnoses of autism.  The purpose of this talk is to present a protocol for the assessment and instruction of social pragmatic skills. These skills are sequenced hierarchically and demonstrate the importance of teaching more basic social interactions before addressing the more complex and nuanced aspects of play and conversation.  Also, the importance of matching the instructional format and activities to the skills taught will be explored: basic social skills are taught in 1:1 settings and more advanced skills are taught in small groups and more naturalistic social activities.

Invited Speaker: Daniel Unumb, Esq.

Title: Improving Access to ABA Through Legal Advocacy

Abstract:  Board Certified Behavior Analysts are bound by a variety of ethical requirements underscoring the need to practice in accordance with scientific knowledge and professional standards. Their ability to do so, however, may be impacted by external criteria, limitations and requirements imposed by funding sources. We will discuss key laws and legal precedents protecting your clients right to receive medically necessary ABA services and how these concepts can be integrated into your practice and advocacy efforts to protect the delivery of effective ABA services in accordance with professional standards. Topics will include Hawaii state law, the federal mental health parity act (MHPAEA), the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid Early and Periodic Screening Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) requirements, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the IDEA.

Accepted Speakers: Melaura A.E. Tomaino, Ph.D., BCBA-D & Edward S. Miguel, EdD, BCBA

Title:  Utilizing an Organizational Behavior Management Framework to Enhance Staff Performance Evaluations in a Non-Public School for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Abstract: Employee evaluations without the use of objective measurement systems consistent with an Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) framework result in subjective and often meaningless evaluation procedures. The current study evaluates the use of self-rating scales, evaluation of assigned student goal mastery and progress, and implementation of fidelity reports in evaluating employees at a Non-Public School (NPS) for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. While analysis of student goal progress and fidelity reports were procedures regularly performed at the NPS, these measures were not directly tied to an employee's evaluation and subsequent pay or position increases. The current study sought to determine whether making pay and/or position increases contingent on these variables would increase employee performance in these areas. In addition, social validity data was collected to determine whether the modifications to performance evaluations produced socially significant results for employees and administration. Study findings and performance evaluations were made available to employees for review. Results support the use of an OBM framework when evaluating employees at a NPS.

Speaker:  Kathleen Penland, M. Ed., BCBA, LBA

Title:  Shaping Supervision: Creating a Climate of Clinical Excellence

Abstract:  There are 327 billion people in the United States (US Census data). There are a total of 28,756 BCaBAs, BCBAs, and BCBA-Ds (data from the BACBⓇ). The prevalence of autism has increased 15% over the last two years to a rate of 1 in 59 children receiving an autism diagnosis (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). While we know that behavior analysis is not autism-specific, these statistics give us an idea of the overwhelming demand for behavior analysts across our country. The supervision of trainees pursuing certification is a crucial component to increasing the behavior analytic workforce. Competing contingencies for supervisors and trainees, however, often win out over taking the time that is needed to ensure a quality supervisory experience. The Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts states that, “When behavior analysts are functioning as supervisors, they must take full responsibility for all facets of this undertaking.” (5.0) This presentation will review recent research on providing effective supervision to trainees. Strategies on establishing a scope and sequence, bringing coursework to application, and how to create a climate of clinical excellence within your practice will be presented.