The Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies recently offered a seminar on May 1 in partnership with the College of Education and Human Services titled "Ensuring Cultural Competence Among Behavior Analysts" that was a must for any practitioner today. The program, led by Mary Jane Weiss, BCBA-D, professor of master's and Ph.D. programs in autism and ABA at Endicott College, explored how to navigate collaborative relationships with families in an age of broadening cultural variables.
As the cultural landscape continues to diversify, it becomes increasingly necessary for practitioners to adapt a deeper understanding and awareness of differences that may significantly impact the development of relationships with individuals and their families.
According to Weiss, behavior analysts are just beginning to operationally define cultural competence and sensitivity in service provision. Her presentation reviewed how the Professional and Ethical and Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts guides practitioners in this expanding realm. Skills needed to successfully navigate challenges along with implications for teaching, training and supervision were highlighted.
Learning Objectives for this event included:
- Identifying sections of the Code that specify the need for cultural sensitivity in service provision
- Identifying core skills necessary for the development of competence in multicultural service provision
- The application of concepts and procedures to sample scenarios regarding service provision in this context
- An Introduction to ideas for the development of tools to assist in training and supervising behavior analysts in this area
Mary Jane Weiss, Ph.D., BCBA-D is a Professor at Endicott College, where she directs the Master's Programs in Autism and ABA and the Ph.D. Program in ABA. Dr. Weiss has worked in the field of ABA and Autism for over 30 years. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Rutgers University in 1990 and she became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2000. She previously worked for 16 years at the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center at Rutgers University, where she served as Director of Research and Training and as Clinical Director. Her clinical and research interests center on defining best practice ABA techniques, exploring ways to enhance the ethical conduct of practitioners, evaluating the impact of ABA in learners with autism, teaching social skills to learners with autism, training staff to be optimally effective at instruction, and maximizing family members' expertise and adaptation. She serves on the Scientific Council of the Organization for Autism Research, is on the Professional Advisory Board of Autism New Jersey, is on the board of Association for Science in Autism Treatment, is a regular contributor to the ABA Ethics Hotline, and is an advisor to the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. She is a regular reviewer for a variety of professional journals, and is a frequent member of service committees for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. She is also a Past President of the Autism Special Interest Group of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, a former member of the Board of the Association for Professional Behavior Analysts, and a former vice president of the Board of Trustees for Autism New Jersey.