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Assent Con is a one day Conference with a full day Workshop following the con. Spend Friday learning from excellent speakers, and then return on Saturday to practice implementing this new content! Check out conference and workshop session information below!

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Friday July 26, 2024

9am-10am CST

Using Community-Engaged and Practice-Based Research to Establish Evidence for Assent Procedures in ABA-Based Therapy
Jeff Gesick, MS, BCBA, Lizbeth Vega Lopez, & Brittney Pauli

1 BACB Learning CEU

Evidence-based practice (EBP) has been introduced as a framework to help reduce the “research to practice gap” by guiding practitioners to use research evidence, combined with client values and context and their own clinical expertise, in making clinical decisions (Contreras et al., 2021; Slocum et al., 2014). Discussions on EBP and the “research-to-practice gap” seem to focus primarily on how practice does not reflect the body of research; however, it is worth considering the extent to which the body of research reflects practice situations and how a “practice-to-research gap” might be important to examine. One area where such a “practice-to-research gap” seems to exist is in the use of assent procedures to ensure client participation in their own services (for those who are unable to give legal consent). That is, many practitioners are talking about and using assent procedures, despite an extremely limited literature base. In this presentation, we will discuss how practitioner expertise can be leveraged through community-engaged and practice-based research as a means to inform a research base on assent procedures that meets the needs of practitioners and clients. We will also discuss how community-engaged and practice-based research can be a means to address the research-to-practice gap (and practice-to-research gap) broadly.

By the end of this presentation, attendees will be able to:
1.) Describe the role of practice-based research in assent and ABA.
2.) Describe at least one approach to obtaining learner assent in the context of ABA-based service delivery.
3.) Identify/locate official definitions of assent put forth by regulators in the helping professions.

Friday July 26, 2024

10:30am-11:30am CST

Evaluation of Assent-Based Training of Supervision Practices in Board Certified Behavior Analysts

Dr. Michelle Kuhn, BCBA-D, LBA & Dr. Cayenne Shpall, BCBA-D, LBA

1 BACB Supervision CEU

This presentation will discuss research the authors recently conducted which focused on a) evaluating the current practices of BCBAs in their identification, training, and supervision of Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT) on assent-based behaviors and practices, b) identifying a 1.5 hour training framework (treatment) to support BCBAs in supervision of RBTs, and c) evaluating the use of the training protocol on developing assent awareness skills and supervision practices. The results of the current evaluation demonstrated the use of this training protocol on developing consistent assent awareness skills and supervision practices in all three BCBA participants. With these newfound results, the presentation will dive into the research, outcomes, and practical application to help guide participants in understanding how they can support RBTs in their own practice as well as train BCBAs in supporting RBTs in utilizing assent-based practices.

By the end of this presentation, attendees will be able to:

1.) Identify assent and assent withdrawal behavior within a variety of client populations.

2.)Describe 3 ethical and actionable steps to take when observing assent withdrawal from clients.
3.) Provide effective feedback and language to trainees about assent and assent withdraw identification.

Friday July 26, 2024

12:00pm-1:00pm CST

Enhancing Assent and Treatment Outcomes: A Case Study on Responding to Aversive Ambient Auditory Stimuli for an Autistic Adult
Dr. Faris Kronfli, PhD, BCBA-D & Malchijah "Kai" Williams

1 BACB Ethics CEU

We explored assent procedures to promote assent and treatment effectiveness for an autistic adult. The objective, at the request of the participant, was to evaluate an innovative approach to a) identify aversive auditory stimuli and b) teach Steven, a 19-year-old male, appropriate responses in the presence of these stimuli without directly exposing him to the stimuli. The results suggest that the procedures effectively identified auditory stimuli for assessment and taught the participant to avoid the aversive stimuli appropriately (that is, in ways that were not dangerous). Through the implementation of this novel approach, assent and treatment effectiveness were enhanced for the autistic individual.

By the end of this presentation, attendees will be able to:

1.) Describe how to identify and categorize aversive auditory stimuli in a controlled environment.

2.) Describe how to teach appropriate responses to aversive stimuli without direct exposure, focusing on safe and effective behavioral strategies.

Friday July 26, 2024

1:00pm-2:00pm CST

Meal Break

Friday July 26, 2024

2:00pm-3:00pm CST

Presentation 4
Presenter Announcements Coming Soon!

Presentation 4 Abstract Announcement Coming Soon!

Presentation 4 Learning Objectives Announcement Coming Soon!

Friday July 26, 2024

3:30pm-4:30pm CST

Programming for Autonomy with the Enhanced Choice Model: Two Case Studies

Melisa Santacroce, M.S. CCC-SLP, BCBA
1 BACB Learning CEU

Physical management procedures such as restraint or seclusion come with both psychological and physical risks to both the client and treatment team. The Enhanced Choice Model (ECM) as described by Rajaraman et al (2020) attempts to mitigate the need for such invasive strategies. In the following case studies, ECM was utilized with an adolescent and an adult client in the home and community settings over the course of one year. Dangerous escalation and physical management procedures were eliminated while increasing skill development and quality of life. Participating individuals were given three ongoing choices: (a) “practice” by participating in treatment tasks (b) “hangout” with noncontingent access to reinforcement or (c) “leave” by ending the session. For both individuals, safety was maintained within the treatment sessions over the course of one year while time spent in “practice” increased leading to improvements in community access and participation. Standardized and criterion-referenced assessment tools demonstrated gains in all areas across both clients over the course of treatment. Therapy sessions expanded to include community-based activities with peers, vocational tasks, and an increase in activities of daily living both inside and outside of the home. Both individuals participated to a greater extent in educational activities than they did at baseline without direct support from the ABA team. Implications for using the enhanced choice model to emphasize shared-governance, rapport and assent while maximizing safety for both adolescent and adult clients are discussed.

By the end of this presentation, attendees will be able to:

1.) Describe the three conditions of the Enhanced Choice Model and how they are presented/represented to the learner.

2.) Describe how the Enhanced Choice Model aligns with assent-based clinical interventions.

Friday July 26, 2024

5:00pm-6:00pm CST

Presentation 6
Presenter Announcements Coming Soon!

Presentation 6 Abstract Announcement Coming Soon!

Presentation 6 Learning Objectives Announcement Coming Soon!


Saturday July 27, 2024

9:00am-12:00pm CST

Assessing Supervisee Skill Sets & Crafting Assent Repertoires with the Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts

Janani Vaidya, MS, BCBA, IBA & Worner Leland, MS, BCBA, LBA

Workshop 1 Abstract Announcement Coming Soon!

Workshop 1 Learning Objectives Announcement Coming Soon!

Saturday July 27, 2024

12:00pm-1:00pm CST

Meal Break

Saturday July 27, 2024

1:00pm-4:00pm CST

Establishing and Communicating an Assent-Based Practice Ethos During Client Intake Processes

Worner Leland, MS, BCBA, LBA & Janani Vaidya, MS, BCBA, IBA

Workshop 2 Abstract Announcement Coming Soon!

Workshop 2 Learning Objectives Announcement Coming Soon!

In the evolution of the Professional Ethics and Compliance Code (BACB, 2014) to the Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts (ECBA; BACB, 2020) it is noted that in addition to being responsible for obtaining informed consent before the provision of assessments, supports, or research participation, that Behavior Analysts are also responsible for obtaining client assent when it is applicable to do so. Obtaining client assent is a specified skill set, and one which may not be currently in a behavior analyst’s repertoire if it was not a focus of their educational, training, supervision, or consultation experiences or their broader learning history in behavior analysis.


The 2023 inaugural conference worked to equip behavior analysts and other helping professionals with the tools to conceptualize consent and assent as a set of fluid interlocking behavioral contingencies, to identify and measure client assent giving and withdrawing of assent in an ongoing manner, to graph assent data, to make data-based decisions utilizing assent data, to shape and expand assent giving and withdrawing repertoires with learners, to engage in generative and collaborative problem-solving, to equip themselves and staff to promote client assent, and to work toward understanding behavior change from the vantage point of love.

The 2024 Assent Conference is excited to expand on this initial work.


Feel free to reach out!

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