Interview with Ann Baloski


Ann Baloski

In attempt to help us all get better acquainted with applied behavior analysis in Indiana we will be interviewing and telling the stories of those who have and continue to influence our field. Debrah Worland recently sat down and spoke with Ann Baloski, one of these influential catalysts in ABA in Indiana. Ann is currently an executive committee member and past president (2015) of the Hoosier Association for Behavior analysis. She has consulted with FSSA, in schools, centers, and in homes, and is the owner and clinical director for BehaviorWorks ABA. Ann took the time to tell us a little bit about herself and her different experiences within the field of behavior analysis.


How did you come to the field of ABA?

Like most good things, I fell into ABA by accident. I like complex problems that don’t have simple answers, so naturally I was interested in human behavior. After completing my undergraduate degree in applied psychology, I met Dr. Lisa Baker from Western Michigan University. She was conducting research on behavioral pharmacology using animal models, mostly rats and pigeons. A lot of my early exposure to behavior analysis was in her lab conducting pre-clinical drug trials on NIDA sponsored grants. I really liked the science. It was great to see the principles of behavior at work in a Skinner box. My experience in the lab gave me a good understanding of those principles. I moved up quickly and worked with trans-genetic mice and marmoset monkeys, with a local pharmaceutical company (then Upjohn, now Pfiser). There I worked under a scientist who was published in Nature with Dr. Bob MacArthur. We were looking at a model for social anxiety. Although I loved the science, I was not passionate about the work environment. I would spend 8-9 hours in a controlled environment, think ambient lighting and controlled temperature. At the end of the day I was often surprised to see if it was either sunny or raining. I tend to like a more organic environment and I like being around people.


Now that you are no longer doing experimental work in behavior analysis, what are you doing as a BCBA?

My first job after WMU was at a developmental center working with adults with dual diagnosis. I had a case load of 45 people all needing functional behavior assessments and behavior intervention plans. We were really trying to turn the place around because it was under Department of Justice oversight. There was a lot of good support and the center was only recruiting BCBAs. I worked closely with staff experiencing intense behaviors day in and day out. I learned to be a really good listener first, and to create intervention plans that were sustainable within that complex environment.


What are you doing now?

I have my own company, BehaviorWorks ABA and I’m on the HABA Executive Board. We provide both an early intervention for Autism and Medicaid Waiver Behavior Support Services. I have found a niche working with newly diagnosed children who are not ready for center-based programs. In behavior analysis there are so many directions one can take. We use a parent training model. I love this model because it is about teaching how to set up the environment to promote language and teaching parents how to work toward behavioral goals. We tend to incorporate ACT principles when teaching parents. It is fun to use science to change behavior.


Why did you decide to do what you are doing?

The science of ABA can change lives for the better. It seems like a very noble calling. I also enjoy giving back to the scientific community through my work with HABA. HABA has a lot of energy right now. We had a fantastic conference this year and here are many great ways to get involved, such as going to the quarterly meetings or joining a subcommittee. While on the board this past year, I have had the opportunity to be the HABA representative on the Indiana Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IIACC) and to attend a workshop at the BACB on licensure. It is a collaborative group and I am proud to represent Behavior Analysts in this capacity. I testify, on behalf of HABA, during the open comment period for the new Medicaid ABA policy. I have been an active member of the HABA public policy committee since 2012. Our field is changing and growing. It is fun to be involved with such a progressive and effective movement.


What are some of your future goals?

My future goals include staying involved with HABA. I like getting to be around other dedicated Behavior Analysts. I feel we are on the right track as far as giving tools for professionals to have a voice in public policy. I am having a lot of fun working with families but I want to continue to be able to keep things fresh, and come up with new ways to approach Parent Training. I feel like this is so critical for the kids we serve, for their parents and natural supports are where true generalization of skills happens. It is tricky with in home and community based programs but the ultimate end is good and parents are better able to connect with their children.


Do you have any advice for someone just starting off in ABA?

The best advice I can give to new behavior analysts is to read Dr. Jon Bailey’s 25 Essential Skills for Behavior Analysts and don’t forget your behavior analysis. What I mean by that is to remember to keep professional boundaries, pair with clients, parents and teams, and teach skills one at a time with repeated practice and maintenance. We can often get so excited by the evidence-based strategies that we provide too much information too fast and the natural supports are not ready to take it all in. We can take something from traditional psychology: we may get too close to a family and dual relationships and transference may emerge. Our practice allows us to really get to know a client and their family well, but we cannot forget our professionalism and our boundaries. Focus on positive pairing with others on the team, you are often not going to change everything overnight and you need buy-in from the whole team, to gain consistency. So remember your ethics, your ABA, and your perseverance that ABA Change the world one behavior at a time.










Break-Out Sessions


Gross Motor Skills: Play or Work? How to Make Working on Motor Skills Fun

Friday 11:00-11:50 am, Room 121

Shannon Dieringer, Ph.D.

Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) often present deficits in gross motor skill development (e.g., throwing, kicking, jumping, and skipping). However, these deficits are often left unaddressed until the child enters school (kindergarten). In order to address such deficits, it’s important to intervene early. This presentation will showcase several child-centered movement activities for children with ASD to practice gross motor skills and promote skill development.

Regulating the Use of Behavioral Procedures

Friday 11:00-11:50 am, Room 122

Qusayy Godbolt, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Jay Schulz, M.S., BCBA, Bob Ryan, M.S., BCBA

In some cases, inappropriate behaviors of the people we serve may have to be met with procedures that are considered intrusive and/or punishing. Use of these procedures should be reviewed and monitored by qualified practitioners and a system set up for this purpose.

Recent Applications of Behavioral Interventions Across Educational Settings

Friday 1:00-1:50 pm, Room 121

Matthew Brodhead, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Oliver Wendt, Ph.D., Mandy Rispoli, Ph.D., BCBA-D

This symposium will describe three studies that evaluated behavioral interventions in educational settings for children with autism. The first study will describe trial-based functional analysis methodology, along with recent research supporting its effectiveness in classrooms. The second study will discuss how to combine mobile augmentative and alternative communication technologies with behavioral instruction. The third study will describe an evaluation of an electronic visual activity schedule to teach varied application play and engagement on an iPad.

Individualized Intervention– The Untapped Potential of Procedural Flowcharts and Formulas

Friday 1:00-1:50 pm, Room 122

Vincent LaMarca, BCBA

What is the best procedure to use with a particular child? What’s the difference between procedure A and B? Why does a procedure work? The use of procedural flowcharts and formulas can answer these questions in ways our current use of texts and graphs cannot. Participants will evaluate a systematic use of procedural flowcharts and formulas that has the potential to vastly improve the ability of behavior analysts to provide individualized interventions.

Eye Tracking and Autism: Reduced Preference for Social Stimuli in Girls

Friday 2:00-2:50 pm, Room 121

Rebecca Shaffer, Ph.D., HSPP, Ernest Pedapati, MD, Craig Erickson, MD

Eye-tracking technology advancements have quantified social-processing abnormalities in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with increasingly sophisticated stimulus presentation. A preference measurement between two stimuli is one method of investigating social-processing in autism. An eye-tracking task was designed to investigate the salience of social interaction scenes compared to non-social stimuli in youth (ages 5-17) with ASD and age-matched typically developing controls (TDC.) A wider range and more diverse functioning levels were included in the study compared to typical eye-tracking research populations. Videos of toddlers playing (SS) versus geometric moving shapes were presented. ASD participants demonstrated reduced preference for SS when shapes were presented. ASD participants demonstrated reduced preference for SS when compared to TDC. Post-hoc analyses indicated that a group and gender interaction was present with females with ASD having significantly reduced viewing preference of the SS compared to the TDC females and all males. Licensure of Behavior Analysts: An Overview of the Current Climate

Friday 2:00-2:50 pm, Room 122

Ann Baloski, M.A., BCBA, Vincent LaMarca, BCBA

This session will provide information regarding licensure of Behavior Analysts across the nation and here in Indiana. We will look at national trends and provide insights from the APBA and the BACB. We will discuss how a unified voice and collaboration with stakeholders are the keys to good legislative efforts.

InPEAT– Year 1: A Case Study of Trans-Organization System to Solve a Common Problem

Friday 3:00-3:50 pm, Room 121

Mary Rosswurm, MBA, Devon Sundberg, M.S., BCBA

With this presentation you will gain an understanding of the “tragedy of commons” metaphor wherein individuals acting accordingly on behalf of their own self-interest behave contrary to the best interests of the whole group by depleting some common resource. We will define and give understanding of a Trans-Organization System (TS) and Trans-Organization Development (TD) including the four phases of the TD process. Additionally we will describe how a TS can be used to solve meta-problems of social and environmental sustainability within communities such as Indiana’s ABA provider group. This is a great presentation for those who would like to know why InPEAT was formed and how it has evolved from an idea to a successful member organization. We will share past successes, efforts, and future goals of InPEAT.

Praise Research Trends: Characteristics and Teacher Training

Friday 3:00-3:50 pm, Room 122 Meg Floress, Ph.D., NCSP, Kari Meyers, B.S., Shelby Beschta, B.A.

The purpose of this paper is to examine the different praise characteristics and praise training methods that have been studied. Thirty research studies were identified and our findings suggest: a) that teacher praise research is on the rise; b) physical, written, public, and private praise are studied least frequently; c) and the majority of research studies have examined multi-method training approaches. Specific praise characteristics, training methods, and implications for future research are presented.




Increasing School Capacity to Serve Children with ASD Through Web-Based Supports

Saturday 9:30-10:20 am, Room 121

Alison Labrie, Ph.D., BCBA, Susan Wilczynski, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Kim Zoder-Martell, Ph.D., HSPP, BCBA-D, Kristine David, M.A.

Web-based consultation and training offer a potentially revolutionary means of supporting teachers in remote, under-resourced schools. This presentation will examine the results of a recent nation-wide study, which sought to determine if web-based training and/or web-based consultation (coaching and feedback) resulted in increased teacher knowledge acquisition, teacher satisfaction, and accurate treatment delivery to students on the autism spectrum.

A Behavior Analyst’s Guide to Evidenced-Based Speech-Language Therapy

Saturday 9:30-10:20 am, Room 122

Janine Shapiro, BCBA

Speech-language therapy practices should be guided exclusively upon scientifically gathered empirical evidence. However, for a variety of reasons that will be discussed, some speech-language pathologists engage in practices dismissed in the scientific literature. The purpose of this presentation is to showcase common speech-language pathology practices with strong empirical support and expose widespread therapy techniques with poor scientific backing.

Professional and Ethical Issues of Collaboration

Saturday 10:30-11:20 am, Room 121

Matthew T. Broadhead, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Professional and ethical behaviors are critical for effective collaboration with behavior analysts and interdisciplinary professionals. By using behavioral systems, behavior analysts may increase the probability of employees engaging in ethical and professional behaviors because systems may describe “what to do” instead of “what not to do” when faced with a professional or ethical issue. The purpose of this presentation is to outline two such systems that may be helpful during collaborative practices.

Keep Calm…and…BRT on!

Saturday 10:30-11:20 am, Room 122

Beth Roudebush, B.S., Beth Walker, BCaBA, Pamela Arles, BCaBA, Bob Ryan, M.S., BCBA

Behavior Relaxation Training (BRT) has been used to decrease anxiety in persons with disabilities who may also have limited communication repertoires. The outcome of persons with disabilities engaging in BRT is that they should produce a relaxation response, (i.e., a reduction in anxiety-like behaviors.) BRT literature review, steps in teaching BRT and case studies will be discussed.

The Effects of Habit Reversal Procedures to Reduce Toe Walking

Saturday 1:00-1:50, Room 121

Christina Weldy, MS, BCBA, Jennifer Elia, M.A., Heather Bocek, B.A.

Habit reversal procedures have been shown to be effective and replicable in over 25 years of research across many different habits and related behaviors (Miltenberger et al.,1998). There is little published research on effective procedures to decrease toe walking in children with autism. Toe walking may be socially stigmatizing and lead to adverse physical consequences (e.g., shortened Achilles tendon). Decreasing this behavior may lead to better ambulation, decreased chances of adverse physical effects, and greater social acceptance. The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate a simplified habit reversal procedure on the frequency of toe walking in one participant across two settings.

Using Differential Reinforcement of Vocal Approximations and PECs to Increase the Frequency of Vocal Mands

Saturday 1:00-1:50 pm, Room 122

Leslie Trump, B.A., Jessi Mattke, M.A.

A 5 year old child diagnosed with ASD with a limited vocal repertoire was the subject of a two-part intervention to increase vocal mands. Frequency data was taken on vocalizations prior to intervening to compare to vocalizations during training. The intervention consisted of 30-minute periods in which vocal mands of 4 target items were differentially reinforced based on the level of the vocal approximation. Result was an increase in vocal mands and overall vocalizations.

Treatment of Rumination Using Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible Behaviors Plus Self-Awareness Training

Saturday 2:00-2:50 pm, Room 121

Jill Fodstad, Ph.D., HSPP, BCBA-D, Nicole Turygin, M.A.

Rumination is the regurgitation, rechewing, and reswallowing of digested food. Those with intellectual/developmental disabilities are the most at risk for rumination. We evaluated the effects of a novel treatment procedure, Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible Behavior + Self-Awareness Training, with a 10-year old typically developing child with rumination since infancy. The intervention significantly decreased her rumination and was rated as being socially valid. Results suggest that this may be an effective treatment for rumination.

Application of a Decision-Making Criterion for Training Special Education Teachers to Deliver Learn Units during Instruction

Saturday 2:00-2:50 pm, Room 122

Lauren Lestremau, Ph.D., BCBA-C, NCSP, Brittany Frey, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA Megan Boucher. M.A., BCBA, Erica Ranade, SSP, LBA, BCBA, NCSP, Stacey McIntyre, MA, BCBA

As teachers entering the special education field without the skills to implement instruction with Learn Units, teacher training must be conducted. Performance feedback minimally impacts staff trainer resources, but when this training procedure is ineffective, use of a more intensive training procedure such as Behavior Skills Training (BST) should be implemented. Therefore, this paper pilots use of a decision-making criterion to determine whether performance feedback or BST should be implemented to most efficiently train to mastery criterion.

Derived Relations and Student Learning

Saturday 3:00-3:50 pm, Room 121

Bob Ryan, BCBA, Christina Smith, M.S., BCBA, Alyssa Tolly, B.A.

Students could learn more if their instruction were outlined to produce derived relations. Teachers would not have to teach each contingency directly, they would teach a small but inclusive subset and be able to generate learning beyond the direct contingency.

Ethical Considerations Related to Transition Programming

Saturday, 3:00-3:50 pm, Room 122

Laura Bassette, Evette Simmons-Reed, Jennifer Cullen, Fritz Kruggel

Achieving the best outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in adulthood begins with an early interdisciplinary teamwork including multiple types of activities. A coordinated approach plans for quality service delivery while balancing dignity of risk factors with program regulations. Ethical implications include programming for generalization focused on quality of life outcomes, strategies to ensure maintenance of natural contingencies, consideration of resources involved, and acknowledgement of the benefits to both the individual and society.

Head and shoulders photo of Doug Woods.

Invited Presenation: Doug Woods, Ph.D.

Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics 

Friday 3:00-3:50pm


Tourette Syndrome is a neurological condition consisting of multiple motor and vocal tics that are presumably due to failed inhibition within cortical-striatal-cortical motor pathways. In recent years, there has been a growing recognition among psychiatry and neurology about the utility of behavior therapy procedures in managing the symptoms of Tourette Syndrome in children and adults. Specifically, a Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT), based on habit reversal has been developed and tested. The current talk will briefly review the empirical basis for the CBIT intervention, describe the treatment, and provide data on efficacy and dissemination of the intervention.

Understanding and Treating Trichotillomania 

Saturday 10:30-11:20am


Trichotillomania is much more common than once believed. Effective behavior therapies for these problems exist and recent research has clearly demonstrated that individuals in search of treatment are likely to seek the help of a psychologist or other therapist before any other profession. Unfortunately, data also suggests that a vast majority of mental health professionals do not understand these disorders and are not knowledgeable about available effective treatments. In the current talk Dr. Woods will describe a comprehensive behavioral method for understanding and treating trichotillomania. He will report preliminary results from a recently completed 5-year NIMH-funded clinical trial comparing behavior therapy to psychoeducation/supportive therapy.

Susan Wilczynski - Special Ed

Invited Presentation: Susan Wilczynski, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Evidence-based Practice of Applied Behavior Analysis: Where Science Meets Practice 

Friday 2:00-2:50pm


The evidence-based practice of applied behavior analysis involves the integration of the best available evidence gleaned from the literature with professional judgment and client values/context. The phrase “evidence-based practice” does not imply that practitioners should randomly select among treatments identified in evidence-based practice guidelines or systematic reviews. This presentation reviews each of the components of evidence-based practice but highlights the importance of client and contextual variables that should influence treatment selection. Behavior analytic literature focusing on client variables (e.g., medical conditions that may serve as motivating operations) and contextual variables (e.g., environmental and resource constraint) will be used to demonstrate why these variables are essential to effective clinical decision-making. Parental role in the determination of client and contextual variables will be given a prominent position in the discussion because the least effective intervention is the one that is never used. Parents must consider variables other than the level of empirical evidence support a given treatment. The recent results of the National Autism Center’s National Standards Project 2.0 will be briefly incorporated into the discussion in conjunction with a larger focus on providing appropriate behavior analytic services to clients on the spectrum.

Scope of Practice: Ethical Foundations and a Path to Move Forward 

Saturday 1:00-1:50pm

All fields of practice include in their ethical code a mandate for practitioners to provide services and supervision as well as to conduct research within the boundaries of their expertise. This presentation outlines the scope of practice provision of the new Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts that goes into effect in January, 2016. Practical application of this Code will be provided, with examples and non-examples offered to clarify “gray” areas in real world service, supervision, and research. The role this provision plays in a larger discussion about how third-party payers may enhance or restrict service delivery will be addressed. The importance of applying this expectation in the ethical code for the long-term benefits to both clients and our own field will be underscored.


Invited Presentation: Jonathan Tarbox, Ph. D., BCBA-D

Arrogance in Behavior Analysis 

Friday 1:00-1:50pm


Behavior analysis is a highly specialized discipline, with unique cultural practices, including rites of passage, values statements, and almost-religiously-held beliefs and rules. The way that we behavior analysts talk about ourselves and our field, and the relative value of our field in comparison to others, is one such cultural practice. In many respects, behavior analysis is superior to other disciplines. In particular, the conceptual foundation of behavior analysis is more scientifically rigorous than many other disciplines. In addition, the treatment effects obtained by applied behavior analytic treatments are more robust and more empirically supported than those of many other disciplines. Being aware of and standing up for the many strengths and virtues of the field of behavior analysis is important. However, as a group, we tend to foster a sense of arrogance or superiority that has many potential negative side effects. This presentation will describe what we believe is a systemic problem in the behavior analytic culture and will provide practical suggestions for how we might make behavior analysts better at respecting and interacting with others. Actively valuing others and being respectful of others is not merely an ethical imperative. We will argue that behavior analysts “playing nicely” with others (or failing to) has very serious practical consequences for the health and vitality of the discipline of behavior analysis, particularly with respect to the field’s ability to affect change on a broader, more mainstream level. Practical suggestions will be made for how to train current and future generations of behavior analysts to be more effective in their interactions with those outside of the discipline, while simultaneously maintaining hardcore behavioral philosophical, scientific, and practical repertoires.


Behavioral Approaches to Teaching “Executive Function” Skills to Children with Autism 

Saturday, 9:30-10:20am


The term “executive function” (EF) refers to a broad class of putative brain functions, primarily studied by researchers from cognitive, developmental, and neuropsychologi-cal branches of psychology. The term EF generally includes such cognitive functions as working memory, attention, self-regulation, rule acquisition, planning, and problem-solving. The various executive func-tions are said to be the ways in which the brain controls and directs goal-oriented behavior. Most EF terms refer to mentalistic hypothetical causal constructs and are, therefore, not useful as causal expla-nations, in themselves. It is no surprise, then, that the science of behavior analysis has generally ig-nored EF. However, all situations in which EF is said to be at work involve people behaving in relation to environmental events, so it follows that EF always involves behavior. In various conceptual writings, Skinner discussed such topics as self-control, self-awareness, and consciousness of one’s behavior. We will argue that most EF involves such repertoires. Furthermore, most such circumstances are terribly important to successful daily functioning. Individuals with autism have documented EF deficits and yet very little research has been published on addressing these deficits. This presentation will present a preliminary behavioral conceptual analysis of EF and review data from a few recent studies that have attempted to teach EF skills, including working memory, self-monitoring, and problem solving.


Invited Presentation: Jennifer Zarcone, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Analyzing Behavioral Phenotypes: Research in Prader-Willi Syndrome

A behavioral phenotype is the characteristic cognitive, personality, behavioral and psychiatric pattern that typifies a disorder. A number of genetic syndromes associated with developmental disabilities can be characterized as having a behavioral phenotype that may hold the key not only to early diagnosis but to more effective treatments at an earlier age. Individuals with the genetic disorder Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) have a fairly clear behavioral phenotype with associated behaviors that often require intervention: food seeking and stealing often leading to obesity, cognitive delays, behavior issues, and possibly increased likelihood for comorbid disorders. In this presentation, the genetic and behavioral characteristics of PWS will be described as well as some of the recent research leading to treatment for both excessive appetite and problem behavior.

HABA Announces Dr. Patrick Friman as Annual Conference Keynote

Patrick C. Friman, Ph.D., ABPP


Dr. Patrick C. Friman received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. He is the current Vice President of Behavioral Health at Boys Town and a Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Nebraska School of Medicine. He is the former Editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and former President of the Association for Behavior Analysis International. He is currently the Book Review editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and on the editorial boards of six peer reviewed journals. He has published more than 190 scientific articles and chapters and three books. The primary focus of his scientific and clinical work in is in the area of Behavioral Pediatrics and Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Friman’s work in behavioral pediatrics has concentrated on the gap between primary medical care for children on one side, and referral-based clinical child psychological and psychiatric care, on the other. A secondary focus is on adolescent behavior and development an example of which is a commercially available DVD on Adolescence and Other Temporary Mental Disorders. He also specializes in consultation regarding workplace issues such as motivation, dealing with difficult people, change, happiness and pathways to success.


Behavioral Pediatrics:  Appending Behavioral Psychology to Primary Health Care

Friday, 9:00-9:50am


Behavioral pediatrics (BP) is a branch of pediatrics that integrates behavioral and pediatric sciences to promote the health of children. A unique aspect of BP is that competencies for practice can be met by physicians or behaviorally oriented practitioners and thus its providers include both.  Most typically, however, the physician and behavioral practitioner work in partnership whether the task at hand involves a particular case or a promising area of research.  There are two general forms of treatment supplied in BP:  1) supportive counseling, usually involving the delivery of health education (e.g., the environmental basis of child learning; extended crying is normal in early infancy, three days without a bowel movement is two days too long) but no specific action; and 2) prescriptive behavioral treatment, usually involving the provision of specific procedures for remediation of presenting problems to caregivers (e.g., habit reversal, task based grounding, exposure for simple phobia). There are three general domains of care, routine behavior problems, behavior problems with significant medical dimensions, and medical problems with significant behavioral dimensions.  Recognition of the high prevalence of behavioral problems that initially and often only present in pediatric settings as well as the reciprocal nature of interactions between medical and behavioral factors in child health has led to dramatic growth in BP over the past 30 years. This growth presents opportunities for providers familiar with the principles of learning and development because both provide the epistemological basis for the majority of behavioral pediatric treatments.  This presentation will describe behavioral pediatrics in primary care, elaborate on its two forms of treatment, and elaborate on illustrative clinical examples.

  1. Participants will be able to define Primary Care Behavioral Pediatrics
  2. Participants will be able to describe at least three guiding principles in Primary Care Behavioral Pediatrics.
  3. Participants will be able to describe the two primary forms of treatment in Primary Care Behavioral Pediatrics.
  4. Participants will be able to describe at least three sample clinical targets in Primary Care Behavioral Pediatrics.


Thumb Sucking:  A Love Story

Saturday, 8:30-9:20am


Thumb sucking is an ideal behavior for behavior analytic study yet one that has been largely overlooked by behavior analysts.  Not by me however.  I saw its opportunities early in my career and have been exploiting them ever since.  Here are some of its many virtues.  It is easy to find—universal in infancy and still common after age 6.  It is easy to observe and measure.  It is very responsive to a broad array of easily applied contingencies (e.g., incentives, aversives).  It frequently co-occurs with other functionally related behaviors (e.g., object attachment, hair pulling) that are also easy to observe and measure and are also responsive to a broad array of easily applied contingencies. It is socially significant (chronic practice after age four can lead to serious dental, medical and social problems).  It lends itself readily to theorizing (e.g., cross cultural, psychodynamic, developmental, behavior analytic).  Pertinent to this last point, it has been the subject of some of the most outrageously wrongheaded theorizing in all of child psychology—which is of particular interest to me because most of it is so easy to disprove (and lampoon).  Lastly and by no means leastly, it helped me gain entry into the world of primary care pediatrics.  This talk will discuss all of this and more.



  1.  Participants will be able to describe the operant properties of thumb sucking.
  2. Participants will be able to describe the adjunctive properties of thumb sucking.
  3. Participants will be able to describe at least one effective treatment for thumbsucking.

March 18th 13th Quarterly Meeting: Supporting School and ABA Provider Collaboration

Presentation: Supporting School and ABA Provider Collaboration


Increasingly school districts and ABA providers are working together to address the behaviors and skill acquisition of students on the autism spectrum. Unfortunately, this partnership can be difficult to navigate at times. When given the chance to discuss the realities of these two settings, it becomes clear that at the heart of this difficulty is the reality that these two entities are functioning within a different culture, and with different language, regulations and funding. The goal of this session is to have a conversation about the realities of school and to continue to investigate ways to enhance collaboration.

Presented by: Dr. Cathy Pratt from IRCA and
Megan Alhers from ICASE

Place: Fishers Center Room
Fishers Library
5 Municipal Dr. Fishers, IN 46038

Time: 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Membership Meeting and Sub-Committee Meeting to Follow Presentation

CEU Opportunity!

Indiana Resource Center for Autism Summer Camps List

Is your organization hosting a summer camp for individuals with Autism?

The Indiana Resource Center for Autism is putting together their annual list of summer camps.  Those of you whose organization is hosting a summer camp are encouraged to email Dr. Cathy Pratt at and get the word out! Please note the IRCA camp list is for summer camps specifically as opposed to more specialized summer programming etc. Check out last year’s list to get an idea of which programs will be included.