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Autism and Social Skills: Ethical Lessons Learned from Research to Clinical Practice

April 14, 2021 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm PDT

Presented by Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) department at  TCSPP Southern-California (So-Cal) campus

About this Event

Autism and Social Skills: Ethical Lessons Learned from Research to Clinical Practice

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

5:30PM-7:30PM PDT/ 7:30PM-9:30PM CST/8:30PM-9:30PM EST

Event held online via Zoom. Live attendance of this program is required.

This program, when attended in its entirety, offers 2.0 CEs for Psychologists (APA), 2.0 BCBA CEUs, and 2.0 BBS California CEUs for LPCCs, LPSW, and LMFTs

Workshop Description:

Prevalence rates of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) continue to rise, with 1 in 54 children diagnosed with ASD in 2020 (CDC, 2020). Common symptomology presented by autistic individuals often includes a lack of social engagement, social skill development, and interpersonal relationships. Play is often thought of as the foundation for engaging, exploring, and learning about the world around us. Through play, social skills develop that allow us to communicate and connect with others. Though this appears to be seamless, people with autism often require explicit instruction to acquire and develop play and social skills. While strategies based on applied behavior analysis are effective for teaching a range of social skills, it is unclear what ethical implications and considerations behavior analysts should be aware of when developing social skills training.

As such, the current symposium will showcase two talks. The first talk will discuss the benefits of establishing play and social skills as well as identifying and describing a selection of empirically supported behavior analytic techniques to develop such skills. Additionally, the necessity of promoting the client’s self-determination and emphasizing client choice in treatment goals and delivery will be discussed. The second talk will invite alumni from the SoCal ABA department, to share their clinical post graduate experiences related to social skills training across the lifespan. Ethical dilemmas and considerations will also be discussed.

Learning Objectives:

After attending this intermediate-level workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. identify the importance of play and social skills.
  2. identify strategies to teach play and social skills.
  3. Describe behavior analytic strategies to teach play and social skills.
  4. Discuss ethical application of behavior analytic strategies in teaching play and social skills.

Professional Bio of Presenter #1, Elizabeth Meshes, PhD, BCBA-D; The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

A Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral® who received her Ph.D. in Psychology with a Specialization in Behavior Analysis, Elizabeth began working with children with autism in 2004, and has worked with children and adults with variety of diagnoses since that time. She has also worked within organizations to improve employee performance.  A committed individual to the field of behavior analysis, she has served as faculty in the Applied Behavior Analysis department of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and adjunct faculty for the Applied Behavior Analysis program for Pepperdine University. Elizabeth has presented at numerous national and international conferences and co-authored book chapters on Ethics for behavior analysts and Teaching Play. She has served as a guest reviewer for numerous journals on behavior analysis and autism. Her current research interests include social skills training for individuals on the autism spectrum, complex human behavior, and sustainability.

Professional Bio of Panelist #1, Megan Aclan, PhD, BCBA-D; Aclan Behavioral Associates

Megan Aclan, PhD, BCBA-D conducts service and research that focuses on both the individual and organizational levels. At the individual level, Dr. Aclan works in the areas of feeding/eating disorders, anxiety, depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and addiction. At the organizational level, Dr. Aclan works with businesses to assess and establish systems within the organization to increase productivity and health in work environments. Dr. Aclan received her PhD from The Chicago School, Los Angeles and has served on the Executive Council for the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI).

Professional Bio of Panelist #2, Caitlin Marcus, MA, BCBA; Wickett Behavioral Solutions

Professional Bio of Panelist #3, Tammy Van Fleet, PhD, BCBA-D; Behavior Insights

Dr. Van Fleet is the director of Behavior Insights, Inc. and Social Skills Training Academy. She specializes in services that focus on evidence-based intervention for children, teens, families, and training members of professional institutions.

Dr. Van Fleet has spent over two decades helping individuals and families with a variety of complex needs. She specializes in working with individuals with and without disabilities in anxiety treatment, emotional regulation, issues with attention and focus, academic deficits, school readiness skills, social skill acquisition, and independent living skills. In addition to individual services, Dr. Van Fleet also specializes in consulting and training members in education intuitions ranging from public to private schools. She has presented at several professional trainings, authored and delivered several lectures, and taught as an adjunct professor. Dr. Van Fleet is on the board of directors for Spectrum Workforce, a non-profit organization connecting individuals with autism with entertainment industry jobs.

Dr. Van Fleet received her PhD. in Applied Behavior Analysis from The Chicago School, Los Angeles, and is certified through the Behavior Analysis Certification Board. She is also a credential teacher through the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing.

Program Standards and Goals

This program meets APA’s continuing education Standard 1.1: Program content focuses on application of psychological assessment and/or intervention methods that have overall consistent and credible empirical support in the contemporary peer reviewed scientific literature beyond those publications and other types of communications devoted primarily to the promotion of the approach.

This program meets APA’s continuing education Goal 1: Program is relevant to psychological practice, education, and/or science.

Workshop Schedule (Shown in Pacific Standard Time):

5:30pm – Event Begins

7:30pm – Event Ends

Registration and Fees:

This program is free to attend


Akers, J. S., Higbee, T. S., Pollard, J. S., & Reinert, K. S. (2018). Sibling-implemented script fading to promote play-based statements of children with autism. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 11(4), 395-399. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40617-018-0257-5

Barnett, J. H. (2018). Three evidence-based strategies that support social skills and play among young children with autism spectrum disorders. Early Childhood Education Journal, 46(6), 665-672.   https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-018-0911-0

Chang, Y. C., & Locke, J. (2016). A systematic review of peer-mediated interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 27, 1-10.   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2016.03.010

Curiel, E. S., Axe, J. B., Sainato, D. M., & Goldstein, H. (2020). Systematic review of matrix training for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 35(1), 55-64. https://doi.org/10.1177/1088357619881216

Ezzeddine, E. W., DeBar, R. M., Reeve, S. A., & Townsend, D. B. (2020). Using video modeling to teach play comments to dyads with ASD. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 53(2), 767-781.  https://doi.org/10.1002/jaba.621

Jobin, A. (2020). Varied treatment response in young children with autism: A relative comparison of structured and naturalistic behavioral approaches. Autism, 24(2), 338–351. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361319859726

Lee, G. T., Qu, K., Hu, X., Jin, N., & Huang, J. (2020). Arranging play activities with missing items to increase object-substitution symbolic play in children with autism spectrum disorder. Disability and Rehabilitation, Advanced online publication, 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2020.1734107

Quigley, J., Griffith, A. K., & Kates-McElrath, K. (2018). A comparison of modeling, prompting, and a multi-component intervention for teaching play skills to children with developmental disabilities. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 11(4), 315-326. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40617-018-0225-0

van Dijk, W., & Gage, N. A. (2019). The effectiveness of visual activity schedules for individuals with intellectual disabilities: A meta-analysis. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 44(4), 384-395. https://doi.org/10.3109/13668250.2018.1431761

Watson, L. R., Boyd, B., Baranek, G., & Crais, E. R. (2011). Advancing social-communication and play: An intervention program for preschoolers with autism manuals. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. https://www.med.unc.edu/ahs/asap/files/2017/09/ASAP-Book-I-Assessment-and-Intervention.pdf


Target Audience: All mental health disciplines (i.e., psychologists, LCSWs, MFTs, LCPCs, BCBAs), graduate students, alumni

Psychologists. This program, when attended in its entirety, is available for 2.0 continuing education credits. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in its continuing education activities. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is also committed to conducting all activities in conformity with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles for Psychologists. Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during discussion periods. If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them. Please address questions, concerns and any complaints to Danielle Bohrer at 312-467-2364. There is no commercial support for this program nor are there any relationships between the CE Sponsor, presenting organization, presenter, program content, research, grants, or other funding that could reasonably be construed as conflicts of interest.

MFTs, LPCCs, and LCSWs. Course meets the qualifications for 2.0 hour of continuing education credit for MFTs, LPCCs, and/or LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. If you are licensed outside of California please check with your local licensing agency to to determine if they will accept these CEUs. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is approved by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) to offer continuing education programming for MFTs, LPCCs, LEPs, and/or LCSWs. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is an accredited or approved postsecondary institution that meets the requirements set forth in Sections 4980.54(f)(1), 4989.34, 4996.22(d)(1), or 4999.76(d) of the Code.

Participation Certificate. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is able to provide students and other participants who simply wish to have documentation of their attendance at the program a participation certificate.

Non Psychologists. Most licensing boards accept Continuing Education Credits sponsored by the American Psychological Association but non-psychologists are recommended to consult with their specific state-licensing board to ensure that APA-sponsored CE is acceptable.

*Participants must attend 100% of the program in order to obtain a Certificate of Attendance.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology maintains responsibility for this program and its content.


April 14, 2021
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm PDT
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ABA So-Cal