Trauma-Assumed Behavior Analysis for People with IDD:
From Trauma-Inducing to Trauma-Reducing
Organizations supporting people with IDD often rely heavily on interventions rooted in applied behavior analysis (ABA) to manage severe problem behavior. But a reckoning is happening in the ABA field over what many see as the trauma-inducing nature of some traditional ABA practices. As IDD organizations begin to implement trauma-informed care to more compassionately support people that have suffered trauma, they must grapple with how to change some ABA practices that are embedded in their systems.
Greg Hanley, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA, is smack in the middle of that reckoning. After decades of teaching and practicing ABA, he began critically examining his own (and others’) practices, recognizing that some were causing harm and not leading to desired changes. This led him to develop what he calls “Today’s ABA,” a contemporary and compassionate version of ABA. He shared his journey and discussed the implications of Today’s ABA for IDD organizations working to reduce trauma and foster healing.
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Meet the Presenter
Greg Hanley, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA, has been applying the principles of learning to improve socially important behaviors of children and adults with and without disabilities for over 30 years. He worked and trained at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, was degreed at the University of Florida, was tenured at the University of Kansas, and directed the Behavior Analysis Doctoral Program and Life Skills Clinic at Western New England University (WNEU).
Dr. Hanley has published over 100 book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals in areas such as the assessment and prevention of problem behavior, teaching tactics for young children, and evidence-based values. Dr. Hanley is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Div. 25), past Associate Editor of The Behavior Analyst, and past Editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and of Behavior Analysis in Practice.
He currently serves as a Research Professor at WNEU, and CEO of FTF Behavioral, an international training and consulting group based in Worcester Massachusetts. This group of researcher-practitioners supports professionals attempting to create meaningful outcomes with practical functional assessment processes and skill-based treatments for addressing emerging and severe problem behavior, intractable stereotypy, food selectivity and mealtime problem behavior, and sleep problems.