Keynote Presentations

Conference Archives

William Heward

William Heward

Next Year Is Now


Educating children with autism is a team game. The goals: improved quality of life now and maximal independence in the future. The clock is running and all involved—school, teachers, family members, and especially the child—have limited resources to contribute. The most pragmatic and ethical way forward requires targeting only those learning outcomes most likely to yield optimal benefit to the child. This presentation will explore the meaning of meaningful behavior change and suggest actions behavior analysts, educators, and parents can take to ensure their hard work translates into higher quality of life for the children they serve.

Dennis Reid

Dennis Reid

Promoting Quality in Adult Services for People with Autism: Evidence-Based Strategies


This presentation will describe critical, evidence-based strategies for promoting and maintaining quality within services specifically for adults with autism. The strategies to be presented are based on over four decades of behavior analytic research and application in residential and day-support settings for adults with autism and other severe disabilities. Topics to be discussed include the fundamental differences in goals for services for adults versus children, basic skill sets required of support staff, key performance responsibilities of staff warranting regular attention and action by supervisors, characteristics of environments that promote meaningful and enjoyable daily routines, and supervisory performance expectations and skills necessary for ensuring day-to- day quality in service provision. The most common obstacles to quality services will also be presented along with research-based means of overcoming the obstacles.

Judah Axe

Judah Axe

Teaching Problem Solving to Increase Academic, Communication, and Social Skills


Problem solving is defined as manipulating stimuli to increase the probability of arriving at a solution to a problem. When given a problem, such as a math problem or a question that involves recalling a past event, an individual arrives at a solution by engaging in a few behaviors, such as asking herself questions, drawing out possible solutions, and visualizing. A challenge of analyzing problem solving is it often occurs covertly, or within an individual’s skin. Although typically developing people engage in problem solving on a daily basis, there is limited research on teaching problem solving strategies to individuals with disabilities, especially in a behavior analytic framework. Two potential benefits of teaching problem solving skills to children with autism are less rote responding and more generalization. The presenter will provide a conceptual analysis of problem solving and review previous research on using problem solving to teach academic, communication, and social skills. The presenter will also describe his research on teaching problem solving to help children with autism recall past events, and he will recommend directions for research and practice.

Tyra Sellers

Tyra Sellers

Are You Providing SUPER-vision?


Professionals responsible for overseeing clinical service delivery to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families frequently provide supervision to therapists, paraprofessionals, and clinical supervisees who are responsible for direct service delivery. This supervision includes ensuring the acquisition and maintenance of skills and knowledge, the implementation of clinical services, and the collection of data. Many professionals may also be providing supervision to individuals seeking professional credentialing and licensure and who will, themselves, become supervisors in the future. Supervisors play a critical role in ensuring the skills of those providing direct therapeutic services, and in shaping the repertoires of future supervisors, but many never receive formal training on effective supervisory practices. Professionals in supervisory roles can implement specific strategies to ensure that their supervision is, in fact, super, resulting in positive client outcomes and securing a continued future of high quality supervisors.

Stephanie Peterson

Stephanie Peterson

Teleconsultation in Autism Treatment: Applications and Considerations


This presentation will review the literature on teleconsultation as it applies to autism treatment. Examples of the variety of ways in which teleconsultation is being used as part treatment of autism will be discussed. Potential problems with the practice and future directions for research will also be presented.

Iser DeLeon

Iser DeLeon

Social Motivation Theories of Autism: Is Insensitivity to Social Reward Really the Problem?


Some theories of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) implicate a neurobiologically driven insensitivity to social reward as the basis for social deficits, and less directly, other core diagnostic features of ASD. This is sometimes referred to as the Social Motivation Theory of Autism and has, on occasion, been used to justify avoiding social reinforcers when working with individuals with ASD. I will review and discuss evidence, from my lab and others’, for and against this insensitivity. I will specifically consider: (a) studies on identifying or verifying socially-mediated reinforcers in ASD; (b) studies that compare social and non- social reinforcers in ASD; and (c) studies that compare social reward in persons with and without ASD. I will conclude with alternative interpretations and questions that need to be answered to make sense of these theories.