Special Interest Areas

A.​ Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

“ACT is based on the view that many maladaptive behaviors are produced by unhealthy attempts to avoid or suppress thoughts, feelings, or bodily sensations (Hayes, Wilson, Gifford, Follette & Strosahl, 1996). Among other components, patients are taught (a) to identify and abandon internally oriented control strategies, (b) to accept the presence of difficult thoughts or feelings, (c) to learn to “just notice” the occurrence of these private experiences, without struggling with them, arguing with them, or taking them to be literally true, and (d) to focus on overt behaviors that produce valued outcomes” (Bach & Hayes, 2002).

B. Application of ABA to Animal Training

“Both BCBA and CAAB (Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist) apply research-based techniques. Additionally, both BCBAs and CAABs have the primary goal of using those procedures to solve significant behavioral problems. If an individual can effectively use differential reinforcement to resolve a dog’s problem behavior, it seems logical that he or she could also implement an equivalent procedure with a human being. That ability to be able to apply knowledge in multiple populations (e.g., human and canine) is a goal within the field of behavior analysis” (Gray & Diller, 2017).

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C. Health and Wellness

“Chronic health conditions are predominant in the USA. Health coaching has demonstrated significant results in increasing health-promotion behaviors that impact the development or progression of chronic health conditions (Simmons & Wolever, 2011). Behavior analysis also has contributed to this body of research with effective behavior-change procedures (Allen & Hine, 2015). While often not cited, the methodology used in health coaching utilizes many principles that align with applied behavior analysis” (Finn & Watson, 2017). 

D. Pediatric Feeding

“There are two reasons why it is difficult to develop standard treatment protocols for children with feeding problems. The first is that feeding problems are not homogeneous; no two are ever exactly alike. Second, treatment goals may change as treatment progresses and new behaviors are encountered. Therefore, it is best to understand the factors controlling a child’s food intake and mealtime behaviors and the various behavioral principles underlying the treatment procedures rather than to become dependent on a single technique or set of techniques (Linscheid, 1999). With this knowledge comes the ability to adapt treatments to specific problems and to change procedures based on child responses” (Linscheid, 2006).

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E. Precision Teaching

“Precision Teaching offers scientifically derived attributes from Skinner’s experimental analysis of behavior (Lindsley, 1991) that make it eminently valuable for teachers of students with autism. Precision Teaching offers the following. (i) Frequency as a standard and universal measure of behavior. (ii) The Standard Celeration Chart, which permits a standard visual display of data. (iii) Procedures for building fluency, specifically retention, endurance, and application of instructional content, that all address specific learning characteristics of students with autism. (iv) Precise descriptions of behavior. (v) Guidelines for making daily Standard Celeration Chart-based decisions” (Kubina Jr, Morrison, & Lee, 2002). “Precision Teaching works best when combined with effective curricula or educational or therapeutic approaches (Lindsley, 1997). For example, the curriculum Direct Instruction, a research-based approach for teaching children academic skills, becomes even more effective when combined with Precision Teaching” (Kubina Jr, Morrison, & Lee, 2002). 

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F. Treatment of Toileting Challenges

“The field of applied behavior analysis provides an ample body of literature that spans over four decades and describes effective toilet training programs in applied settings. Early models (e.g., Azrin & Foxx, 1974; Van Wagenen, Meyerson, Kerr, & Mahoney, 1969) relied on intense yet short periods of intervention coupled with direct clinical support to maximize learning. A seminal article written by Azrin and Foxx remains a staple in current practice for toilet training; more recent literature follows the underpinnings of their findings though points toward less focus on the concept of rapid training and instead concentrates on a durable life skill readily implemented in nonclinical settings” (Cocchiola, Martino, Dwyer, & Demezzo, 2012).

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G. Sleep Training

“A lack of adequate sleep has been shown to adversely impact cognitive functions (i.e., memory consolidation, learning acquisition, attention, executive functioning, brain maturation) [18,19,22-26], as well as daytime behavioral adjustment, and temperament regulation [26-28]. Improving sleep is a priority and perhaps more so in young children with ASD in whom development has already been compromised. In view of the detrimental effects of inadequate sleep on cognitive and daytime behavioral adjustment, addressing sleep disturbances early in life is imperative for these children to maximally benefit from therapies targeting core deficits of ASD. Moreover, improving young children’s sleep has the potential to decrease parental stress and improve family functioning” (Johnson et al., 2013).

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For those of you interested in Special Interest Areas we encourage you to connect with other BDA employees to share with and learn from each other on how to apply Special Interest Areas in your current role or for special BDA related projects. 

If you have questions that your peers are unable to answer, please feel free to reach out to one of our in house experts for a quick tip!

Select any of the 'Subject Matter Experts' names above to send them an email!

Brett DiNovi & Associates, LLC

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