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The New England Center for Children Presents Behavior Analysis Research at the 2019 APBA and ABAI Conferences

The New England Center for Children® (NECC®), a global leader in education for children with autism, announced today their research presentations at two premier applied behavior analysis (ABA) conferences - the 2019 APBA Convention and ABAI’s 45th Annual Convention. In addition, NECC continues to share expertise on such topics as music education and adapted physical education for children with autism.

NECC’s focus on education, technology, and ABA research drives their success in helping transform the lives of children with autism and their families. Over the course of APBA and ABAI conferences, NECC behavior analysts and researchers will participate in more than 50 presentations including symposia, panels, papers, workshops, tutorials, and posters.

APBA and ABAI Research Presentations

The 2019 APBA Convention was held on April 11-13, in Atlanta, Georgia. APBA is the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts, an industry group for the advancement of applied behavior analysis. Among NECC’s research at APBA 2019 were presentations on increasing physical activity for children with autism; assessing and treating food selectivity and mealtime problems; and negative reinforcer magnitude manipulations for treating escape-maintained problem behavior.

The ABAI Annual Convention will be held May 25-27, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois. ABAI is the Association for Behavior Analysis International, a membership organization for those interested in the philosophy, science, application, and teaching of behavior analysis. The following are highlights from the more than 40 presentations that will be given by NECC staff at ABAI 2019.

  • Tutorial: Dr. Bill Ahearn, NECC’s Director of Research, will present an invited tutorial on best practices in treating repetitive behavior: From stereotypy to social skills.
  • Symposium: Dr. Chata Dickson will be chairing a symposium on comparing procedural variables in skill acquisition arrangements for children with autism.
  • Paper Presentation: Kiki Couger and Dr. Becky MacDonald will present “The use of social referencing to teach safety skills to toddlers with autism.”
  • Poster: Using fading to increase cooperation with medical and hygiene procedures. By Christian Yensen and Dr. Chata Dickson.

Session times and locations of all NECC presentations are available in the ABAI Convention program guide, located at

Other Research at NECC:

NECC researchers have been widely published in journals and books. Among current research is the Infant Sibling Project, a research study to identify early signs of autism in infant siblings of children with autism and to develop interventional treatments. A summary of other current research can be found at

NECC recently hosted the Massachusetts Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MAHPERD) Annual Adapted PE Conference on May 3, 2019. The one-day conference brought together physical education experts from across Massachusetts to discuss best practices in adapted physical education (APE) curriculum and techniques for children with autism spectrum and other disorders. More information is available at:

NECC is sharing their expertise working with children with autism in music education. NECC staff recently spoke at the ABLE Assembly: Arts Better the Lives of Everyone conference at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Cara Lechleiter, MS, BCBA, presented “The NECC Theater Company: An Exercise in Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration” and “Harnessing the Power of Music to Teach Meaningful Goals: Three Vignettes.” Nadia Castagna, MMEd, presented “Music Education and Severe Special Needs.” Ms. Castagna is one of the first in the world to have a music degree with a focus on teaching individuals with autism.

NECC research is conducted at the school and the results form a continuous feedback of best practice curriculum refinement. The research is also integrated into NECC’s Autism Curriculum Encyclopedia, or ACE® ABA Software System, currently used by more than 6,100 students and teachers in 27 states and 10 countries.

About The New England Center for Children
The New England Center for Children® (NECC®) is an award-winning autism education center and research institute. Our community of teachers, researchers, and clinicians have transformed the lives of thousands of children with autism worldwide through education, research, and technology. The Center provides comprehensive services to maximize independence: home-based, day, and residential programs, partner classrooms in public school systems, consulting services, the ACE® ABA Software System (, teacher professional development, and research on educational best practices. The New England Center for Children is based in Southborough, MA, and operates a center in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Learn more at

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