UWB Crest

Experimental Analysis of Behaviour Group (EABG)

Invited Speakers

Keynotes for the meeting of the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour Group – London, March 30 - April 1, 2015


Dr. George Sugai


Dr. George Sugai received his M.Ed. in 1974 and Ph.D. in 1980 at the University of Washington. His primary areas of interests are positive behavioral interventions and support, systems change, applied behavior analysis, professional development, behavior disorders, social skills instruction, behavioral consultation, behavioral assessment procedures, and strategies for effective school-wide, classroom, and individual behavior management. In the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut since 2005, Dr. Sugai is Carole J. Neag Endowed Chair in Behavior Disorders and professor with tenure. Dr. Sugai also was on faculty at the University of Oregon and University of Kentucky, program director in an alternative school, and classroom teacher for students with behavior disorders. Dr. Sugai and colleagues have established the Center for Behavioral Education and Research (www.cber.org) in the Neag School of Education to improve academic and social behavior outcomes for students in schools by engaging in the systematic study of educational issues and interventions, and dissemination to preservice and inservice school personnel.

Dr. Sugai has published over 135 articles, numerous monographs, and a number college textbooks on effective teaching practices, positive behavior support, and applied behavior analysis. His research has emphasized effective applications of applied behavior analysis principles and school-wide PBS procedures to problems found in educational contexts. The subject populations for these research areas includes students with severe challenging behavior, students with at-risk behaviors, and students described as having behavior disorders. Dr. Sugai is currently co-director (with Rob Horner at the University of Oregon and Tim Lewis at the University of Missouri) of the national Center on Positive behavioral Interventions and Supports (www.pbis.org).


PROFESSOR DAVID L. GAST, Special Education

Department of Communication and Special Education, University of Georgia

David L. Gast is Professor of Special Education at the University of Georgia where he prepares teachers to work with children with autism spectrum disorders and moderate/ severe intellectual disabilities. He earned his Ph.D. in Child Psychology and Child Development at the University of Kansas in 1975. Dr. Gast has directed study abroad programs in Peru (1995-2005) and Ireland (2006-2015). His research interests include errorless teaching methods and observational and incidental learning by children with developmental disabilities in small group instructional arrangements. He has over 100 refereed publications in special education and psychology journals and recently co-edited a book single case experimental designs (Gast, D.L. and Ledford, J. R., 2014. Single Case Research Methodology: Applications in Special Education and Behavioral Sciences. London: Routledge)

Single Case Experimental Design: Things we know, think we know, and things that are just plain wrong.

This session will present and critique current guidelines and recommendations related to the use of single-case experimental designs (SCED) in applied research, including randomization, visual analysis of graphic data, procedural fidelity, and social validity. Specific strategies for evaluating threats to internal validity and increasing the scientific rigor of the multiple baseline design across participants, non-concurrent multiple baseline design, alternating treatments design, and adapted alternating treatments design will be forwarded. These designs will be critiqued based on Sidman’s 1960 seminal book, Tactics of Scientific Research, and the importance of “baseline logic” and “intra-subject direct replication” when using SCEDs. Attendee participation will be encouraged.

Programme of 2011 Meeting

Invited Speakers for 2011

Professor Bob Remington, University of Southampton
Professor Richard Hastings, Bangor University

Comprehensive ABA-based intervention for children with autism: Adding to the UK evidence base.

Since Lovaas’s (1987) groundbreaking evaluation of the impact of comprehensive ABA-based intervention on young children with autism, more than a dozen controlled research studies, carried out primarily in the USA, UK, Norway, Israel, Canada have demonstrated similar effects. In the past 3 years, several meta-analysis reviews have summarised this evidence and estimated the “effect size” (potency) of the outcomes achieved. Although the evidence is impressive, a more complete understanding of the delivery and outcome of ABA-based intervention awaits further research. This presentation will begin with recent meta-analytic evidence before presenting two new lines of research evidence from UK studies. The first question concerns whether the improvements in functioning achieved as a result of a 2 year “fixed dose” of early intervention are maintained once the “treatment” has come to an end. We will present post-intervention follow-up data from the Southampton Childhood Autism Programme (SCAmP), obtained after children had been in school for 2 years. We believe that the SCAmP follow-up design is unique in the research literature at the present time. The second question concerns whether positive outcomes can be achieved by delivering a comprehensive ABA-based model within the school system. There are surprisingly few data addressing this question, either in the UK or internationally. We will present outcomes for 11 children who received a comprehensive ABA-based education at the mainstream Westwood School ABA class project in North Wales. The results of both these lines of research indicate some positive outcomes for ABA, but they also raise several questions about the most effective forms of service delivery, which we will outline and discuss.

Professor Richard Hastings

Richard Hastings completed his PhD in 1994 in behavioral psychology working on the topic of challenging behavior in adults with intellectual disabilities. His focus was the extension of functional analysis to include an understanding of staff and other carers’ responses to challenging behaviors. Since that time, he has continued to carry out research in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. He now has over 120 peer review journal publications in the field, and has received in excess of £4million external grant funding to support his work with colleagues. Professor Hastings is an associate editor or on the editorial board for 14 international peer review research journals, and also acts as a consultant to several ABA organizations in the UK and to autism organizations internationally. With Professor Bob Remington at Southampton University, Professor Hastings co-directed the first and largest controlled evaluation of early intensive behavioral intervention for children with autism in the UK. Since that research, Professor Hastings has published leading meta- and mega-analysis reviews of the evidence for comprehensive ABA intervention for children with autism, and has presented on this topic extensively in the UK, Europe, and North America.

Professor Bob Remington

Bob Remington has been at the School of Psychology at the University of Southampton since 1975, where he became Professor of Psychology in 1993. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and of the Royal Society of Arts. Bob received his PhD from the University of Exeter where, as the cognitive revolution raged around him, he developed an interest in radical behaviourism and behaviour analysis, under the tutelage of Professor Leslie Reid. Since the early ‘seventies, he has published widely on learning and applied behaviour analysis. As a postdoctoral research fellow at the Hester Adrian Research Centre, Manchester University, his work focused on intellectual and developmental disabilities, and he has been a strong advocate for ABA in these areas ever since. In 2001, encouraged by several highly committed parents, Bob, with Professor Richard Hastings—his exceptional former student— established the Southampton Childhood Autism Programme (SCAmP), conducting the first controlled evaluation of early behavioural intervention (EBI) in the UK and running several spin-off projects. Bob regards it as essential to ensure that ABA becomes more firmly embedded in UK education, an outcome he believes will require further persuasive research and continuing advocacy. In addition to pursuing these goals, he is involved in behaviour analytic research in other domains, including projects with Professor Sue Clarke, another gifted former student, developing ACT and DBT-based interventions with Axis-II clinical populations.

Janet S. Twyman, Ph.D., BCBA

New Technologies and Behavioral Cusps: A New Era for Behavior Analysis?

A behavioral cusp is any behavior change that brings an organism's behavior into contact with new contingencies that have far-reaching consequences, as it opens access to new reinforcers and new environments, occasions new behaviors and behaviors in new classes, and it impacts those around the organism. New technologies (e.g., software development, social networking, smart phones, tablet computers, remote controllers) are already in use in education, organizational behavior, self-management, and personal improvement domains, but rarely with the benefit of a thoroughgoing behavior analytic model. The emergence of these new technologies may viewed as a sort of “cusp” for behavior analysis, providing opportunities for unheralded access, measurement, and analysis of a world of behavior in real time, opening the door for far-reaching consequences for the individual and society. By bringing about robust, reliable, socially valid behavior change, behavior analysis has the potential to become the next “killer app” in that it has the power to be both integral and desired across wide-domain of new technology applications.

Janet S. Twyman, Ph.D., BCBA

A long time educator and proponent of effective instructional practices, Dr. Twyman currently is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School/E.K. Shriver Center. Her research interests involve the continuum from understanding basic processes related to learning and communication to ultimately building meaningful instructional programs with broad-based application and sustainability. Dr. Twyman has a strong record in the transfer of instructional technology and developing web-based programs for wide-scale distribution. She spent the last decade as the Vice President of Instructional Development, Implementation and Research at Headsprout, where she led the design, development, and dissemination of the company’s award-winning, highly effective educational programs. She developed the research methods and systems supporting Headsprout’s distinctive scientific formative evaluation model and oversaw program implementation in over 1,000 public and private schools. Formerly a public school classroom teacher, the Executive Director of a non-profit special needs preschool program, and an adjunct professor at Columbia University Teachers College, Dr. Twyman has spent her professional career designing, developing, researching, and advocating for research-based instructional systems, especially in unique settings or those serving atypical or difficult-to-teach learners. Dr. Twyman is widely published in the areas of effective instruction, instructional design, systems approaches, reading and language, and on topics of broader conceptual interest. Frequently invited to present in the education and psychology domains, and she has delivered over 150 presentations (over 40 invited or keynote) to educators, psychologists, business leaders and parents around the world. In 2008 she organized and hosted a national conference on Evidence-based education, and consults nationally with programs to develop or improve instructional practices for their students. Dr. Twyman serves on the boards of numerous organizations including the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies (where she chairs the Education Group) and PEER International (assisting township schools in Port Elizabeth, South Africa). In 2007-08 she served as President of the Association for Behavior Analysis International.

Dr. Mecca Chiesa BCBA-D, University of Kent, Canterbury, England

Measuring behaviour is behaviour: Notes on teaching behaviour analytic measurement procedures

Data from a variety of exercises designed to teach students behaviour measurement procedures clearly demonstrate the need for extended discussion and practice of such procedures. Typically, the first opportunity to measure behaviour produces alarmingly variable results. Those results provide a starting point from which to explore important conceptual and practical issues relating to behaviour measurement, observed behaviour and the behaviour of observers. Subsequent practice produces less variable/more stable and thus more reliable results. This presentation describes the measurement exercises and discusses implications of their results for teachers and students of Applied Behaviour Analysis as well as for the quality of services provided in the name of Behaviour Analysis.

Dr. Mecca Chiesa

Mecca Chiesa completed her Ph.D at Cardiff University in 1990 and has since held lecturing posts at the University of Glamorgan (Wales) and the University of Paisley (Scotland). Since 2003 she has worked at the Tizard Centre, University of Kent (England). The Tizard Centre is one of the leading academic groups working in services for people with learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. Members of the Centre are selected both for their academic record and for their practical experience in services. The Centre has a thriving programme of training and consultancy to local authority providers, social service departments, health authorities and charities providing education and care for vulnerable groups. Mecca was one of the founding members of the UK ABA Lecturers Cooperative in 1999. The Cooperative taught the first BACB-approved course in the United Kingdom. Since 2006 Mecca has convened the Graduate Diploma in Applied Behaviour Analysis at the Tizard Centre. Her students come from all over the United Kingdom and serve diverse populations with special needs: very young autistic children on ABA home programmes, children and adolescents in schools for various kinds of disabilities, day and residential services for adults with learning disabilities and/or autism spectrum disorders, and specialist units for people whose behaviour challenges services. The combination of teaching ABA to practitioners and providing ABA services directly leaves no doubt that, no matter one’s job title, one is always a student of Applied Behaviour Analysis.

Professor M. Jackson Marr, Ph.D, Georgia Tech, Atlanta

Some public perspectives on the problem of privacy

The "radical" in radical behaviorism has its origin in Skinner's 1945 paper on operationism. Contra "methodological" behaviorism, Skinner treated so-called private events: thinking, imagining, and the like as covert behaviors. Such behaviors then had no special status other than their privacy and thus could not be said to be essential origins of overt behavior. I will review briefly some of the controversies engendered by Skinner's views on privacy. Two independent scholarly communities have vigorously challenged Skinner’s stance: (1) behaviorally-oriented philosophers like Norman Malcolm, and (2) some “dissenting” behaviorists like Baum who has called Skinner’s treatment of private events a "mistake." I will argue these and other such challenges leave Skinner’s treatment relatively unscathed.

Professor M. Jackson Marr, Ph.D

M. Jackson (Jack) Marr is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Georgia Tech where he has taught physiology and behavior, behavioral pharmacology, probability & statistics, and continues to teach the experimental analysis of behavior. He is one of five founding Fellows of the Association for Behavior Analysis, a Fellow of Division 25 (Behavior Analysis) of the American Psychological Association, Past-President of the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis, Past-President of both the Association for Behavior Analysis and Division 25 of APA. He is the former Editor of Behavior and Philosophy and has served as Review Editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior since 1998. He was an Associate Editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and The Behavior Analyst. He was Experimental Representative to the Executive Council of the Association for Behavior Analysis, served on the Board of Directors of The Society for the Quantitative Analysis of Behavior (SQAB), and currently serves on the Board of Trustees the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. He has been active in the international support and development of behavior analysis in many countries. Since 1991 he has been involved in the assessment and improvement of engineering education, in particular, engineering physics. Other current research interests include dynamical systems theory, comparative behavior analysis, and theoretical/conceptual issues in behavioral analysis.