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10/30/19 ABACLive Cambridge Center Series Presents: Happiness and Flourishing through ABA: Designing programs that increase the quality of life for families and clients


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General Information

Title: Happiness and Flourishing through ABA: Designing programs that increase the quality of life for families and clients

Presented By: Robyn M. Catagnus, EdD, LBA, BCBA-D & Bobbie Gallagher, Phd, BCBA

Date:  Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Time: 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm eastern (New York)

Recording Availability: October 31, 2019 – November 5, 2019 5 pm eastern


We think happiness, quality of life, and strengths are being overlooked by many practitioners. Did you know that parents report their child’s happiness as the #1, most important way to assess if treatment is working? But many professionals simply don’t include happiness, quality of life, or well-being assessment in programs. We find many students and colleagues are approaching programming from a deficit model, and leaving out strengths, fun, joy, and optimism. We will share professional and personal advice for supporting happy, successful children and families through ABA programming. We will discuss existing interdisciplinary research, curricula, and strategies for measuring happiness, making ‘treatment’ more enjoyable, building relationships with clients, and creating programs that build on strengths. And, we explain a little bit of neuroscience science behind why professionals often inadvertently increase anxiety and make intervention unpleasant – and what to do about it. Most importantly, we share the surprising good news that spending time on happiness and stress reduction, for clients and YOU, can facilitate learning, skill development, and cooperation overall.

Learning Objectives

Following the webinar participants will be able to identify:

1. Professional practices that may inadvertently increase anxiety.
2. Causes of anxiety that may require investigation and analyis prior to implementation of interventions/treatment of problem behavior.
3. Assessments and strategies for increasing observable behaviors in the area of happiness and quality of life.
4. Measures that will indicate increases in happiness and quality of life.

Presenter Bio and Disclosure Statement

Dr. Robyn Catagnus is the an associate professor and associate chair  at the online campus of the Applied Behavior Analysis program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  She is a trustee of the Cambridge Center of Behavioral Studies, and a reviewer for the Diversity in Behavior Analysis section of the American Psychological Association journal Behavior Analysis: Research and Practice, and a member of the editorial board for Behavior Analyst, the flagship journal of Applied Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). She is also the former founding president of the Multicultural Alliance of Behavior Analysts, a special interest group of the Association of Behavior Analysis. 
Dr. Bobbie Gallagher, BCBA, holds the position of Director of Clinical Training for The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, as well as being the owner of the Autism Center for Educational Services. She is the author of A Brick Wall: How a Boy with No Words Spoke to the World, a memoir of raising two children with an autism spectrum disorder. She has served as a reviewer for the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, and is often invited to speak on the topic of sexuality and autism, and autism and the criminal justice system. Dr. Gallagher often works with those who are at risk of losing their placements due to challenging behaviors and those who have experienced traumatic events including sexual abuse. She has been honored in Washington, DC, by having a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol for her advocacy in the area of autism awareness, stemming from her efforts that led to the first ever national epidemiological study of autism in Brick Township, NJ, and the legislation that was developed as a result.

Dr. Catagnus and Dr. Gallagher do not receive speaker fees for presenting as part of the ABACLive Cambridge Center Series. These fees are donated directly to The Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies (TM).



Credit Hour Information

  • Certified/Licensed Behavior Analysts: 2 Type II ETHICS CEUs
  • Psychologists: NA
  • Social workers and counselors: NA

Only behavior analysts and psychologists may view ABAC  recordings for continuing education credit (If eligible). All other professions must attend live.

For ABAC’s continuing education approvals statements please view our Continuing Education page


12:00 am: Introduction
12:05 am: Webinar begins
1:45 am: Q&A session
2:00 pm: Evaluation, post-test and attendance code submission forms