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USJ Professor Invited to Speak at Renowned Behavior Analysis Conference

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On Oct. 2, 2019, Laura Turner, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA, assistant professor of Counseling and Applied Behavioral Studies, was invited to present at the Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BABAT) Annual Conference.

First, she offered a three-hour workshop on best practices in clinical supervision for future behavior analysts – an area of study in which she has become one of the field’s leading experts. Turner focused primarily on the process of teaching supervisees how to problem solve, which is a topic that can be applied to individuals in a variety of professional fields.

Later, she gave an invited address on assessment, treatment, and conceptualization of anxiety and fear in children with autism.

“In our field of applied behavior analysis, we work primarily with individuals with autism,” Turner explained. “A lot of individuals – particularly with high functioning autism – can have a variety of anxiety disorders. However, it’s not a topic commonly explored by those in our discipline.”

Turner’s work addresses this gap in the field. While anxiety is an area that is not typically covered in a behavior analyst’s scope of practice, it is addressed by psychologists and social workers. However, those professionals may not have experience in autism, which can lead to a lack of understanding how to best treat patients.

Trained in both psychology and behavior analysis, Turner is able to bring expertise to the discipline through conference presentations and in her USJ classes that focus on clinical populations. Offering an overview of what anxiety looks like in the autism population, she addresses the issues that commonly arise, such as identifying the signs that an individual with autism is anxious and knowing how to provide ethical treatment. By bridging this gap, Turner hopes to teach both current and future behavior analysts how to reconceptualize the way they address and work with their students or clients who have autism and anxiety.

To learn more about Applied Behavior Analysis and USJ’s graduate program, click here.