About

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D
President, bSci21 Media, LLC
Founding Editor, bSci21.org

The mission of Behavioral Science in the 21st Century is to facilitate Skinner’s vision of behavior analysis as a comprehensive science of behavior by providing a non-academic dissemination outlet accessible to scientists, practitioners, and the general public.

We achieve this mission by:
1) Promoting research and practice in developmental disabilities, autism, and related disorders.
2) Promoting research and practice in underexposed non-clinical areas, including theory and philosophy.
3) Providing an analysis of current world events from a behavior analytic perspective.

The end-goals sought by bSci21 are:
1) To help produce well-informed behavior analysts with a working knowledge of all aspects of the field.
2) To help provide a well-informed public that is able to see the relevance of behavior analysis to their daily lives.
3) To help build interdisciplinary connections between behavior analysts and other sciences.

About the Editor:
Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is President of bSci21 Media, LLC, which owns bSci21.org and BAQuarterly.com.  Todd served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management and is an editorial board member for Behavior and Social Issues.  He has worked as a behavior analyst in day centers, residential providers, homes, and schools, and served as the director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas.  Todd’s areas of expertise include writing, media production, entrepreneurship, Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, Instructional Design, Organizational Behavior Management, and ABA therapy. Todd can be reached at todd.ward@bsci21.org.

3 Comments on "About"

  1. Patrick O'Leary | November 8, 2015 at 4:31 pm | Reply

    Dear Dr. Ward,

    We are writing to thank you for your article highlighting the recent letter sent by Dr. Melody Musgrove, Director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), in which she addressed “concerns within the field” of special education—specifically, that treatments for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are overly focused on applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy. We applaud your concerns and comments, as we sincerely disagree with the statement presented by OSEP. Their position is concerning, given that ABA is supported by five decades of research which demonstrate its effectiveness with the ASD population and that it is endorsed by The Centers for Disease Control (2014), The United States Surgeon General (1999), and the National Autism Center, (2015). Unfortunately, Dr. Musgrove’s letter, as one written by an authority in special education, will reach countless parents and educational professionals, and regardless of intent, may serve to diminish the value of ABA in their eyes.

    As you point out, behavior analysts have long focused on multiple areas when working with children with autism (Carr & Durand, 1985; Bourret & Vollmer, 2003). The focus is often twofold: teaching new skills and reducing or eliminating challenging behaviors. Given the function-based approach upon which ABA was founded (Skinner, 1953), it is not unreasonable to suspect that there may be significant overlap in the areas in which skills are taught. For example, a young child may be taught to make a vocal request for a break instead of engaging in self-injurious behavior. In another case, a student is taught to successfully pass a soccer ball by reinforcing successive attempts. Or, a learner may be taught the sequence to brushing his or her teeth by sequentially introducing the steps of the chain. In each of these domains—although topographically different—behavior analysis finds its home. The statement made by OSEP does not appear to embrace the efficacy of ABA, nor does it express a fundamental understanding of what it is.

    As fellow behavior analysts, we appreciate your objective reporting of this critically important development in special education in the United States, and commend you for illuminating the complexities that occur when science, education, and the law intersect. As you eloquently and succinctly point out, behavior analysis finds its home in many different instructional areas; however, “no one science has a monopoly on it.” We certainly agree, and applaud your suggestion (http://www.bsci21.org/why-behavior-analysis-needs-to-keep-up-with-other-sciences/) promoting the idea that behavior analysts should increase their efforts to learn from and work with practitioners in other professions. All practitioners, behavioral and otherwise, have a responsibility to use the best practices identified in their respective fields.

    To “play nicely in the sandbox,” behavior analysts should consider using their skills in data analysis to assist those in other related fields to conduct meaningful research on their own practices. It should not be automatically assumed that the head seat at the autism treatment table is reserved for behavior analysts. Instead, behavior analysts are encouraged to continue to demonstrate the effectiveness of ABA in their practice and research, and to disseminate the ethical importance of using evidence to support treatments for clients. Perhaps by working with practitioners in other fields and promoting science-based treatment practices through a team-based approach, behavior analysts can spread the important message that data-driven, ethically-sound autism treatments are in the best interest of the clients they serve and their respective fields.

    Patrick O’Leary, MA, BCBA and Elizabeth G. Callahan, MA, BCaBA
    Association for Science in Autism Treatment

    References
    Bourret, J., & Vollmer, T. R. (2003). Basketball and the matching law. Behavioral Technology Today, 3,
    2-6.

    Carr, E. G., & Durand, V. M. (1985). Reducing behavior problems through functional communication
    training. Journal of Applied behavior Analysis, 18 (2), 111-126.

    Centers for Disease Control (2014). Community report on autism. Retrieved from
    http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/states/comm_report_autism_2014.pdf

    National Autism Center (2015). National standards, phase 2. Retrieved from
    http://www.nationalautismcenter.org/national-standards-project/results-reports/

    Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and human behavior. Free Press: New York, NY.

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Surgeon General. (1999). Mental health: A report of the
    Surgeon General. Washington, DC: Author.

    For reprint permission of this email, please contact:
    Executive Director, Association for Science in Autism Treatment
    David Celiberti, Ph.D., BCBA-D
    Hoboken, NJ 07030
    201-459-1822
    dacnys@aol.com

  2. The well-rounded topics covered in bSci.org are inspiring. Dr. Ward, I predict this information you disseminate about behavior analytic principles across so many settings will encourage the trend for the science to reach a much broader audience than it has in the past. Thanks for your contribution.

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