ACT for People with Autism: Acceptance and Commitment Training Assessment and Intervention Strategies

Monday, May 4, 2020 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
River 978: 978 River Avenue (Rt 9 S), Lakewood, NJ 08701

About the Presenter:

Thomas G. Szabo, PhD., BCBA-D is a professor at Florida Institute of Technology. He graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno under the mentorship of W. Larry Williams and Steven C. Hayes. Over the last 15 years, Dr. Szabo has sought to develop iterations of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy suitable to the needs of ABA practitioners and within their specialized scope of practice. He has offered ACT training to parents, children, senior executives and frontline staff, and couples learning effective partner skills. With his students, Dr. Szabo is currently investigating behavioral flexibility training and a variety of applied-RFT strategies to promote learning and improved performance. Dr. Szabo is also the second chair of an international non-governmental organization, Commit & Act, which teaches women, children, and couples in Sierra Leone behavior-based strategies for partnership and empowerment.

Course Summary:

The promise of applied behavior analysis is functional analysis that leads to effective, efficient, durable behavior change. To this end, behavior analysts practicing Acceptance and Commitment Training are tasked with conducting practical functional assessment of verbal behavior that influences overt behavior indirectly. In this advanced ACT workshop, participants will:

  1. Practice conducting topographical assessments of client “tells” (words with intense relational autoclitic functions) and “reads” (nonverbal behaviors) that suggest particular excesses that can be targeted for change.
  2. Rehearse conducting in vivo ACT trigger analyses, in which establishing and abolishing operations are repeatedly contrived to verify the function hypothesized in the topographical assessment.
  3. Practice using the ACT matrix and a behavior planning worksheet to list values, goals, obvious and subtle barriers, strategies, and reinforcers for addressing ABA goals with clients.
  4. Discuss necessary and sufficient approaches to obtaining consent and performing ACT within an ABA practitioner’s scope of practice.


Learning Objectives:

Participants will

  1. Practice functional behavior assessment reads and tells
  2. Code topographical reads and tells on a descriptive functional assessment datasheet
  3. Practice conducting in vivo ACT trigger analysis to verify indirect-acting functions of verbal behavior
  4. Practice using the ACT matrix as a framework for conducting these FA procedures
  5. Complete a behavior planning worksheet to address direct- and indirect-acting contingencies identified during the FA process
  6. Make commitments to another participant for practicing component and composite repertoires learned in this workshop
  7. Discuss scope of practice and scope of competence issues as they pertain to the use of ACT in ABA practice

Event Schedule:

8:45 AM – 9:10 AM Registration and Sign-In
9:10 AM – 10:30 AM ACT in a Nutshell
10:30 AM – 10:45 AM BREAK
10:45 AM – 12:15 PM ACT Descriptive Functional Assessment
12:15 PM – 12:55 PM LUNCH
12:55 PM – 2:30 PM The ACT Matrix & Metaphors
2:30 PM – 2:45 PM BREAK
2:45 PM – 3:50 PM Putting It All Together

Additional Information:

Event registration includes:

  • 7.0 BACB Learning CE Credits, including 1.0 Ethics CEs and 1.0 Supervision CEs
  • Access to an exclusive ACT Primer video, filmed by Dr Szabo, for an additional 2.0 CEs if viewed prior to the event
  • Materials and handouts
  • Complimentary dairy/vegetarian kosher lunch
  • Note: This is an Advanced ACT Training.  It is highly recommended that participants have some familiarity with ACT prior to attending the workshop.  This can be accomplished by viewing the ACT Primer video (included in the registration fee and emailed to all registrants) and/or reviewing additional resources (not provided).