November 30, 2023

Two NECC staff, Bill Ahearn, PhD, BCBA-D, LABA and Chata Dickson, PhD, BCBA-D, LABA, were invited to speak at the 43rd annual Florida Association of Behavioral Analysis (FABA) Conference, which was held in Orlando, FL September 27-30. Each year, the conference brings together professionals, researchers, and advocates from across the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA) to share insights, discoveries, and strategies. 

  The conference kicked off with an inspiring opening keynote by Dr. Ahearn, director of research at NECC and a prominent figure in the world of autism research. In an engaging talk, Dr. Ahearn delved into the crucial importance of advocacy for individuals with autism, evidence-based autism treatment, and the support required for families navigating the unique challenges associated with autism. Drawing from personal experiences from his work at NECC, Dr. Ahearn shared compelling stories of advocacy efforts, emphasizing the need for collaborative efforts in advancing the field of ABA. 

  Dr. Dickson, a researcher at NECC, presented her talk, titled “Attention, please! Remediating problems of learning with the differential observing response,” which offered a deep dive into a practical strategy for educators and therapists. She discussed the differential observing response as a valuable remediation strategy for learners struggling to focus on essential aspects of a task. The talk drew from a recently published paper that shared key takeaways and practical strategies that educators and therapists could apply when working with individuals facing challenges in skill acquisition. Dr. Dickson co-authored the paper with former NECC teacher, Rachel Farber, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA, who earned her master’s degree from Northeastern while she was an employee at NECC (under the guidance of Dr. Ahearn), and her doctoral degree with Dr. Dickson through Western New England University. Dr. Farber is currently the director of the Elevate and Discover programs at Crossroads Continuum.

The success of FABA 2023 sets the stage for the 44th Annual FABA Conference scheduled for September 19-21, 2024. As the field of ABA continues to evolve, FABA conferences remain a cornerstone for professionals seeking to stay abreast of the latest developments, share knowledge, and forge connections within this dynamic community. 

Above photo: Drs. Dickson and Ahearn with former student and NECC employee Andrea Zuchora, MS, BCBA, who now works as a BCBA in Florida.