Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

15th Annual Conference on Autism & Related Disorders: Research-Based Solutions

April 30

15th Annual Conference on Autism & Related Disorders: Research-Based Solutions

Thank you for attending our 15th Annual Conference on Autism & Related Disorders: Research-Based Solutions!

BACB Learning CEU Certificates were emailed on Tuesday, May 31, 2022. Psychology CE Credits emailed on Wednesday, June 1, 2022. The Certificates were emailed from behavior.org@gmail.com OR pavlik@behavior.org. IF you did not receive your certificate, contact Rebekah Pavlik at pavlik@behavior.org


Tara Fahmie, PhD, BCBA-D: Rethinking the Safety of Functional Analyses

Download Dr. Fahmie’s Presentation (PDF)

Rethinking the Safety of Functional Analyses

Viagra: How to take and how long does it work?
How to take Viagra tablets correctly:

Orally, on an empty stomach – coated tablets
Orally with water or without water – tablets dispersible in the mouth.
Recommended dose 50 mg per oral intake
60 min before sexual activity this link
frequency of dosing – not more than once a day
maximum daily dose 100 mg
Recommended dose may be decreased to 25 mg or increased to 100 mg, depending on efficacy, tolerability, and patient’s disease

Data from a study of the drug showed that increasing the dose to 200 mg did not increase the effect, but there were more frequent side effects (headache, “hot flashes”, dizziness, stomach problems, nasal congestion, visual disturbances).


Despite the clear benefits of conducting functional analyses of severe behavior, safety precautions may drive clinicians to seek alternative and less valid methods of assessment. In this presentation, I will review research relevant to the safety of functional analyses; provide an overview of practical strategies to improve safety based on this research; and discuss a few ongoing studies that may contribute to future improvements in safety.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Compare the safety risks and benefits of conducting a functional analysis.
  • Identify at least three ways to improve the safety of a functional analysis.
  • Describe at least two novel applications of precursor analyses.
Presenter Bio:

Dr. Tara Fahmie, BCBA-D is an Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Severe Behavior Program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute. Dr. Fahmie received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Florida in 2005. She received her Master’s degree in Applied Behavioral Sciences from the University of Kansas under the mentorship of Dr. Gregory Hanley in 2007. She received her PhD from the University of Florida in Behavior Analysis under the mentorship of Dr. Brian Iwata in 2012. Between 2012 and 2020, Dr. Fahmie was a faculty member of the Psychology Department at California State University, Northridge. In 2021, Dr. Fahmie joined the Severe Behavior Program at the Munroe-Meyer Institute as an Associate Director. The Severe Behavior Program clinics provide assessment and treatment services to children with severe problem behaviors. The aim of services is to provide evidence-based behavioral assessment, intervention, and training to individuals and their caregivers, focusing on decreasing problematic and maladaptive behaviors and teaching functional, alternative behaviors using the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Dr. Fahmie specializes in the assessment and treatment of problem behavior and has experience providing these behavioral services in various settings (homes, schools, residential programs, clinics). At California State University, Northridge, Dr. Fahmie directed the Functional Assessment and Healthy Behavior (FAHB) clinic and research lab, which provided low- or no-cost access to assessment and treatment services in an outpatient university setting and in collaboration with local schools and autism agencies. In addition, Dr. Fahmie regularly consults with service providers in her local community and internationally to assist in the development and implementation of evidence-based, best practice strategies for the assessment and treatment of problem behavior. Dr. Fahmie focuses on training and consultation models that are culturally informed and sustainable. Dr. Fahmie also investigates assessment and intervention strategies that will prevent minor forms of problem behavior from escalating in severity.

Dr. Fahmie thoroughly enjoys mentoring students and professionals from various backgrounds and strives to provide an inclusive training environment that embraces diverse perspectives.

Alice Shillingsburg, PhD, BCBA-D: Strengthening Gestures: A Critical Component to Building Robust Communication Skills for Autistic Children

Download Dr. Shillingsburg’s Presentation (PDF)

Strengthening Gestures: A Critical Component to Building Robust Communication Skills for Autistic Children


The use of gestures in early child development is highly related to the development of language and communication. Research has repeatedly shown that children who are later diagnosed with autism use fewer gestures to point things out to others (i.e., show and share) and to request things from others (i.e., mand). Recent research has shown that these differences can be seen even before 12 months of age. Given the altogether lower levels of gestures observed in children with autism and the important role they play in learning language and other important social interaction skills, early intervention programs should focus on developing gestures as foundational to building robust communication repertoires. This presentation will provide an overview of how gestures are related to language development, how providers may inadvertently diminish gestures, how to implement procedures to strengthen and improve gestures, and how to capitalize on gestures as an active ingredient in quality mand training for children diagnosed with autism.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Describe how early gesture use is related to later language outcomes.
  • Describe how gesture use differs in early childhood development for children with and without autism.
  • Describe the importance of indicating responses in quality mand training.
Presenter Bio:

Dr. Shillingsburg serves as Senior Vice President of Children’s Clinical Services and Training at May Institute, providing clinical leadership to all children’s programs including the May Center Schools and our home- and center-based services. She holds a joint appointment as Assistant Director of the National Autism Center at May Institute.

Dr. Shillingsburg received her PhD in clinical psychology from Auburn University and completed her pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the Marcus Autism Center. She previously served as the Director of the Language and Learning Clinic at the Marcus Autism Center and was Associate Professor at Emory University in the Division of Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities.

Dr. Shillingsburg is a licensed psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) at the doctoral level. Her clinical expertise includes the development of language and behavioral programming to address a variety of behavioral difficulties and social communication deficits associated with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Dr. Shillingsburg has published over 45 empirical papers on interventions for children with developmental disabilities. She is currently an Associate Editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and an editorial board member for Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities. She is a a former Associate Editor of The Analysis of Verbal Behavior.

Rob Holdsambeck, EdD, LCP, BCBA-D: Ethical Issues in Autism: Reflections on Bombs, Bits, and Babies

Download Dr. Holdsambeck’s Presentation (PDF)

Ethical Issues in Autism: Reflections on Bombs, Bits, and Babies


How the spectrum of autism is conceptualized, diagnosed, and treated has changed dramatically over the years.  In this presentation we will examine some of the ethical quandaries that were encountered along the way, which ones are prevalent today, and which ones may predominate in the future.   Chaskel Leib  (Leo) Kanner emigrated from what is now the Ukrane in 1924.  Beginning in 1938, he began chronicling the lives and behaviors of 11 children that resulted in his seminal paper “Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact” (Kanner, 1943).  Kanner was driven, in part, by his horror at the way state hospital patients were treated after being summarily released and assigned work as domestic servants.  His work was foundational in helping draw distinctions between what he called “Autism” and other conditions like schizophrenia. However, Kanner had difficulty understanding why most of the children he encountered there came from parents that had highly successful careers in science and noted that many of them had an “unaffectionate dynamic” in dealing with their kids.  Another Prominent Psychiatrist, Bruno Bettelheim took this one step further in advancing the notion of a “refrigerator mom” as a causative agent in Autism.   This myth plagued much of discussions surrounding autism in in the decades that followed.

Another immigrant, Ole Ivar Lovaas, established the Young Autism Project at UCLA in 1962.  By 1987, he published a study (since expanded) that showed 9/19 autistic children in his clinic developed spoken language and were placed in “regular” education classes.  His follow up in 1993 found that 8 of those children had maintained their gains and were “indistinguishable from their typically developing peers”.  Dr. Lovaas was more concerned with what the children in his care needed to learn (and teaching in ways that that learn) than he was with focusing on their disability.   However, the goal of making an autistic person indistinguishable from their peers has met with significant backlash from autistic advocates who would prefer that these children grow up to be “an autistic adult who is happy, healthy and living a self-determined life”.  This issue is still being hotly debated and it highlights the ethical quandaries faced by some in the ABA field.  We will examine some of those issues.

From Kanner’s paper to Helen Clancy, et al in 1969, through the current DSM 5, there have been significant changes in what is and what is not included in the diagnosis of autism.  Without agreement on what constitutes the condition, researchers are at a distinct disadvantage in terms of isolation etiological components.  However, most modern explanations of the etiology of profound autism suggest a genetic component.  The research here is still emerging, but it is gaining in strength.  In 2012, Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier published their finding that CRISPR-Cas9 could be programmed with RNA to edit genomic DNA.  This led in part to their Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020.  This technology has caused great hope and great concern.  In the not too distant future the ability of parents to “design” their babies may become a reality.    We will discuss some of the ethical issues involved and how they might impact the current state of neurodiversity.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • list two pioneers in the treatment of autism.
  • list three major ethical dilemmas that exist today in the treatment of autistic children.
  • write a paragraph discussing the pro’s and potential cons of genetic engineering in regards to autism spectrum disorders.
Presenter Bio:

Dr. Holdsambeck is a licensed psychologist with 45 years of clinical experience delivering services to people with developmental disabilities, including those on the autism spectrum. He was one of the first in the nation to become board certified in behavior analysis (#0007). The company he founded, Holdsambeck Behavioral Health, employs over 100 clinicians serving 1000+ individuals annually in California and Hawaii.  Previously he served his country as a Captain in the Air Force Reserves and his community as a tenured professor of psychology. He was selected as the 2010 distinguished colleague by the Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s department of applied behavior analysis. In 2011, he received the outstanding service award from the Cambridge Center for his work in bringing evidence-based practices to California. Dr. Holdsambeck is an author and frequent keynote speaker at International, National and State conferences.  His most recent publications are the highly acclaimed books, “Behavior Science: Tales of Inspiration Discovery and Service” (Holdsambeck and Pennypacker Eds., 2017, Omnibus as well as volumes I, II, and III).  In addition to the activities mentioned above, Dr. Holdsambeck is currently serving in his 9th year as the Executive Director of the prestigious Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies™.

Chunying S. Jin, PhD, BCBA-D: Assessment and Treatment of Sleep Problems in Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Download Dr. Jin’s Presentation (PDF)

Assessment and Treatment of Sleep Problems in Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders


Sleep problems are prevalent among children and adolescents diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These problems are unlikely to abate without treatment, resulting in adverse long-term effects on the daytime functioning and wellbeing of individuals with ASD, their siblings, parents, and others. Understanding and addressing sleep problems requires viewing behavior that facilitate and disrupt healthy sleep through the lens of a contingency. Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) is an iterative process designed to identify reinforcement contingencies that maintain falling asleep and those that maintain problem behavior that interfere with sleep onset. Through this process, caregivers and clinicians are more equipped to craft an individualized, function-based, and consumer-friendly treatment programs for individuals diagnosed with ASD whose sleep is chronically disturbed. The goal if this presentation is to (a) discuss the core behavioral model of sleep, (b) describe a functional behavior assessment process for sleep problems in children diagnosed with ASD, (c) identify current evidence-based interventions for sleep problems associated with ASD, and (d) discuss strategies for designing personalized, comprehensive, socially acceptable sleep interventions and prevention strategies.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Describe common sleep problems of children diagnosed with ASD.
  • Understand the reinforcement contingencies maintaining falling asleep and problem behavior that interferes with sleep onset.
  • Describe evidence-based treatments for sleep problems in children with ASD and steps to designing a function-based, individualized, and consumer-friendly sleep interventions.
Presenter Bio:

Chunying Jin PhD, BCBA-D currently serves as a lecturer at the department of psychology at California State University, Northridge and teaches for the M.S. ABA program at CSUN. Dr. Jin received her undergraduate training in behavioral psychology at the University of California, San Diego and received her doctoral degree in Behavior Analysis under the mentorship of Dr. Gregory Hanley at Western New England University. Prior to her current post at CSUN, Dr. Jin resided in New England and served as an assistant professor of psychology at Eastern Connecticut State University and a teaching fellow at Western New England University. She has been applying the principles of learning to improve the lives of individuals of typical development and individuals with developmental disabilities for over 10 years. Dr. Jin has published in areas such as the assessment and treatment of sleep problems in young children and function-based interventions for severe problem behavior associated with autism. Her research and clinical interests include assessment and treatment of sleep problems, behavioral pediatrics, child development and early life skills, pedagogical tactics in higher education, and function-based interventions.

Joyce Tu, EdD, BCBA-D: Severe Behavior Services: Taking a Multidisciplinary Approach on Intensive Case Management for Individuals with Profound Autism and Other Diagnoses

Download Dr. Tu’s Presentation (PDF)

Severe Behavior Services: Taking a Multidisciplinary Approach on Intensive Case Management for Individuals with Profound Autism and Other Diagnoses


Past research has shown that individuals with autism and other diagnoses could benefit from ABA intervention. Although ABA services are often provided in the individual’s home, individuals with profound autism and other diagnoses might require more than traditional in-home ABA intervention. Profound autism is a relatively new term not yet adopted by most clinicians and researchers nor defined by diagnostic manuals or tools; however, it is a term that is being used to describe individuals with autism who require 24-hour support throughout their lives. The current presentation includes three participants with various referral concerns, such as, self-injurious behavior, property destruction, aggression, and encopresis. Prior to starting treatment, an intensive case management team collaborated with other professionals to address barriers to access ABA treatment (e.g., housing, transportation, legal matters, and access to other health professionals). These results highlight the importance of intensive case management as a vessel to address environmental and ecological barriers for ABA treatment.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Define “multidisciplinary” approach.
  • Identify at least three social determinants of health (SDOH) on autism treatment outcomes.
  • Identify at least three different ways on intensive case management for individuals with profound autism.
Presenter Bio:

Dr. Joyce C. Tu is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with a doctorate in educational psychology from West Virginia University, specializing in applied behavior analysis (ABA).  She has over twenty years’ experience as both a behavior analysis professor and a practitioner — teaching behavior analysis in universities and providing ABA services, training, workshops and supervision for parents and professionals working with individuals with developmental disabilities in the U.S. and abroad.

Dr. Tu’s specialization and research interests are chiefly in verbal behavior, specifically, joint control and its role in listeners’ behavior.  She has authored several peer-reviewed publications and serves as a behavior analysis journal reviewer.  Additionally, in 2011, Dr. Tu co-authored a Chinese-language textbook published by Peking University Press, including chapters on topics such as shaping, prompting/fading, chaining and generalization.

Over the past 20 years, Dr. Tu has held workshops and speaking engagements for national and international professional organizations such as the Ai You Foundation, ABA International (ABAI) and the California Association for Behavior Analysis (CalABA).  Dr. Tu has served on CalABA’s Board of Directors, including as its President, and she currently serves as President of the B.F. Skinner Foundation.

In the private sector, Dr. Tu was founder and director of Center for Behavioral Sciences, Inc. for 16 years.  CBS was an ABA provider with over 100 employees throughout California.  The company was acquired by Easterseals Southern California (ESSC) in 2019, and Dr. Tu became ESSC’s Vice President of Clinical Transformations, Autism Services.

Dr. Tu is also the founder and director of ABA Unlimited, Inc. (ABAU), a behavior analysis consulting and continuing education provider.  In 2021, ABAU entered a contract with Peking University School of Medical Education in Beijing to develop a new verified ABA course sequence, with Dr. Tu designing and teaching the courses.

In 2003, Dr. Tu co-founded Applied Behavior Consultants-China, which trained approximately 200 administrators, teachers, parents and behavior interventionists to provide behavioral services to children with autism. Through this organization, ABA classrooms in China were established for children with autism aged three to 12, an underserved population otherwise assigned to general education.

Jill C. Dardig, EdD & William L. Heward, EdD, BCBA-D: Contracting: A Positive Way to Improve Family Dynamics and Learn New Skills

Download Drs. Dardig & Heward’s Presentation (PDF)

Contracting: A Positive Way to Improve Family Dynamics and Learn New Skills


First developed in the 1970s, contingency contracting is a behavior change strategy that identifies a task to be completed and a reward to follow successful accomplishment of the task. Numerous research studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of contracting to improve behavior and teach new skills to children, with and without disabilities, in home, school, and community settings. Using children’s stories, examples of contracts used by families to help children with and without disabilities fulfill household responsibilities, learn new skills, get ready for school in the morning, and make friends at school will be presented. Attendees will receive materials for developing, implementing, and evaluating contracts that were field-tested by more than 300 families.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • State the purpose and give an example of each part of a behavior contract: Task, Reward, Task Record, Official Seal, and Signatures.
  • Describe how parents and their children can use three lists to identify tasks and select rewards for family contracts.
  • Identify three common reasons why family contracts fail.
Presenter Bios:

Jill C. Dardig, EdD, is Professor Emerita of Education at Ohio Dominican University where she trained special education teachers for 30 years. During a sabbatical, Jill was a consultant at Centro da Vilariñha, a program that taught daily living and vocational skills to teenagers and young adults with developmental disabilities, in Porto, Portugal. She has been a visiting professor at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan and presented workshops for teachers and parents in Europe, South America, and Asia. Dr. Dardig has written several books and other publications about and for parents including Involving Parents of Students with Special Needs: 25 Ready-to-Use Strategies (Corwin Press, 2008).

William L. Heward, EdD, BCBA-D, is Professor Emeritus in the College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State University. He has taught at universities in Brazil, Japan, Portugal, and Singapore and given lectures and workshops in 22 other countries. A Past President and Fellow of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, Bill’s publications include co-authoring the books, Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd ed., Pearson, 2020) and Exceptional Children: An Introduction to Special Education (12th ed., Pearson, 2022). Awards recognizing Dr. Heward’s contributions to education and behavior analysis include the Fred S. Keller Behavioral Education Award from the American Psychological Association’s Division 25, the Ellen P. Reese Award for Communication of Behavioral Concepts from the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, and the Distinguished Psychology Department Alumnus Award from Western Michigan University.


Continuing Education Opportunities

Continuing Education opportunities:

BACB® Learning CEs and Psychology CE Credits (Includes Licensed psychologists, school psychologists, and EdDs/educational psychologists)

This is a hybrid in-person and virtual conference. Recordings will be available for 14 days. (For those seeking Psychology CE Credits, there is an additional testing process to be completed for asynchronous/home-study completion.)

BACB®  Learning CEUs (6.0 – INCLUDING 1.0 ETHICS): The Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies is an approved Type 2 CE Provider by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®) and is authorized to offer 6.0 CE units for this conference. Continuing Education Provider No.: OP-04-0058

Attendees must complete all six presentations in-person, virtually or through recordings available for 14 days post-conference for asynchronous home-study to earn CEs. (Partial credit will not be issued.) An evaluation and code quiz with a 100% score needs to be completed for issuance of continuing education. SEE BELOW.


APA Approved Sponsor

APA Approved Sponsor

Psychology CE Credits (6.0)*:Amego Prepare is a co-sponsor of this conference for Continuing Education Credits for Psychologists. Amego Prepare is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Amego Prepare maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Attendees must complete all six presentations in-person, virtually or through home-study* to earn Psychology CE Credits. (Partial credit will not be issued.) An evaluation and code quiz with a 100% score needs to be completed for issuance of continuing education. *If you are completing the conference through recordings for home-study, there is a DIFFERENT process through Amego Prepare for those seeking a certificate for Psychology CE Credits. Contact Michael Weinberg at MWeinberg@amegoinc.org.


For BOTH In-Person and Virtual attendance, we need to verify your attendance.

Each presentation will have three (3) unique codes. You need to capture the codes. At the end of the conference, you will need to complete an electronic evaluation and pass a code submission quiz (Google Form). You need to get all codes correct for all six (6) presentations/panel to earn your Certificate. No partial credit is offered.

The link to start the process is below. It will also be announced for in-person attendees and an email will be sent to all conference attendees at 4:30 pm (EST) near the end of the conference with the link and instructions. Presentation recordings will be available for 14 days post-conference. Recording links to be emailed by Tuesday, May 3. The deadline for completing the online evaluation and code quiz is Tuesday, May 17. (If you are seeking Psychology CE Credits through home-study of recordings, the process is through Amego Prepare. Contact Dr. Weinberg at MWeinberg@amegoinc.org.)

You must start the process with your evaluation of our conference.


If you complete your evaluation and miss the link for the code-quiz submission form:


If you would like a visual aid, click here for a PDF of the process.

It is attendee’s responsibility to check with their State and Professional organization to confirm all CE offerings.


400 Alisal Road
Solvang, CA 93464
(805) 688-8000
Website: www.hotelcorque.com

To book a room: Call the Hotel Corque Customer Care Center at 800-248-6274 and ask for the Cambridge Center for Autism rate. The Center is open 6:00am – 11:00pm, 7 days a week.

Deadline:  April 1, 2022

Refund Policy

Cancellation Policy: 

In-Person Registration: If you are unable to attend after registering for in-person attendance, you are welcome to send a substitute. Written cancellations received on or before April 10, 2022 will be accepted, minus a $25 cancellation fee. Contact Rebekah Pavlik at pavlik@behavior.org

Virtual Registration:

Please pay attention to time zone differences. Refunds will not be given for cancellations received less than 24-hours of our conference start time.  

We are offering access to the recording of the presentations for two weeks after the conference date. It is your responsibility to view the recording within that time frame and complete the attendance verification process through evaluation and code-submission quiz completion. CCBS will not offer refunds to individuals who missed the virtual conference or did not view the recordings and satisfactorily complete the required attendance process.

Event Recording Access Period Extension Requests:

We understand that personal issues sometimes interfere with the ability to finish watching and completing the attendance verification process of an event within the recording access period (14 days).

If an extension is due to medical illness or other serious circumstances that would prevent a person from contacting CCBS, no charge will be assessed for the extension. If the request is not submitted within 14 days of the conference we will do our best to accommodate but cannot guarantee availability. Contact Rebekah Pavlik at pavlik@behavior.org.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Banking the Central Coast Way

We live, work and play on the Central Coast just like you do. Which means we also understand your needs when it comes to finances. Let us put your money into the Central Coast context, rather than a cookie-cutter solution. A national bank doesn’t understand what it’s truly like here on the Central Coast – bank confidently.

Thank You to Our Sponsor Beacon Day School

About Beacon Day School

Beacon Day School (BDS) is a California non-public school for children with autism and related disorders. BDS is fully accredited by the California Department of Education and serves students from school districts across Southern California. BDS was founded in 2004 by Dr. Mary Jo Lang, a clinical psychologist and fellow autism parent, who recognized the unique and diverse academic, social, emotional, and physical needs of the autism population and set out to create a safe, compassionate, nurturing school community dedicated to improving the lives of students and their families.

Support the Mission of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies by becoming a Sponsor of our Conference.  

Introduction by

Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies Board of Director Member:

Invited Speakers:

Speakers are subject to change.


April 30
Event Category:


Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies
(978) 369-2227


Hotel Corque
Solvang, CA + Google Map