Workshop: ACT for High Functioning Autism with Dr. Thomas Szabo, BCBA-D, Courtney Tarbox, BCBA, and Kenzie Davison, BCBA

Courtyard Marriott - Santa Ana, California
Dr. Tom Szabo, Courtney Tarbox, and Kenzie DavisonFebruary 7, 2020 - February 9, 2020 | 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

ACT4HFA – Acceptance and Commitment Training for High Functioning Autism

Join us in beautiful, sunny California!

Connections Behavior Planning and Intervention welcomes Dr. Tom Szabo, PhD, BCBA-D and Peer-Reviewed ACT Trainer, Courtney Tarbox, BCBA, and Kenzie Davison, BCBA!


Have you attended some trainings in ACT for behavior analysts, and want to know more about applying it to clients on the Autism Spectrum, specifically? Or maybe you’re intrigued by what you’ve heard about ACT, and want to get a jumpstart on learning these skills as they apply to your clients on the spectrum? If so, please consider joining this event.

Acceptance and Commitment Training is generating empirical support as a treatment for individuals that max out on the VB-MAPP but continue to need help with social skills, romantic relationships, executive function, and other higher order skills. In this three-day workshop, you will develop fluency with key ACT strategies including functional assessment, The Matrix, hexa-dancing, catching metaphors in flight, and physicalized exercises. You will learn techniques for helping learners self-monitor and collect data on their use of ACT interventions. We will also focus on scope of practice, competence, plus the importance of ongoing training and supervision as they arise in the course of ABA ACT practice.

The workshop’s lead presenter, Dr. Tom Szabo, is a BCBA-D and world-renowned ACT Trainer. His approach to ACT is fully based in his training as a Behavior Analyst. Dr. Szabo’s trainings aim to connect what we are already doing as behavior analysts with the current state of ACT practice. With a focus on observable and measurable behaviors and building discrete skills critical to Psychological Flexibility, this training will provide a foundation on which to build your own proficiency using ACT strategies and processes with this population. Courtney Tarbox, BCBA, and Kenzie Davison, BCBA, will also present with Dr. Szabo during the event.

About the Presenters

Tom Szabo, BCBA-D, is a faculty member in the Hybrid Master’s Degree Program for Professional Behavior Analysis at the Florida Institute of Technology, an internationally recognized Peer-Reviewed ACT trainer, a practicing Board Certified Behavior Analyst, and a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, where he studied under Steven C. Hayes and W. Larry Williams. Over the last 11 years, Tom has focused his practice on teaching people ways to ignite behavioral flexibility in their personal lives and with others in clinical practice, schools, board rooms, shop floors, and community centers. He is particularly interested in teaching people ways to use the “psyflex model” (aka ACT) to support individuals with high functioning autism and their families. With the Commit & Act Foundation, Tom has trained therapists in Sierra Leone working with individuals who’ve committed acts of gender-based violence and he is currently conducting funded research on ways to reduce intra-familial violence. With his students, Tom investigates behavioral flexibility training and clinical RFT. He has published empirical and conceptual papers, as well as several book chapters.

Courtney Tarbox, BCBA,is Director of Clinical Development at FirstSteps for Kids, a community-based autism service provider. Courtney earned her Master of Science Degree in Counseling, with a specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis from California State University, Los Angeles. She is passionate about contributing to research that is informed by real-life practice and is actively engaged in treatment evaluation research on topics including complex skill acquisition, naturalistic discrete trial training, compassion and kindness in ABA treatment, and the infusion of acceptance and commitment training (ACT) within comprehensive ABA programs for children with autism. Courtney currently serves on the board for the ACT Special Interest Group and has published a training manual for Registered Behavior Technicians.

Kenzie Davison, BCBA, is committed to working with individuals on the autism spectrum and with multiple medical & behavioral needs as a full-time therapist.  She applies ACT with clients, families, staff, and herself.  Beginning as a teenager, Kenzie engaged with learners with special needs and became curious about how private events impact behavior. In addition to increasing the flexibility of learners with developmental disabilities/ASD and their families, Kenzie is a Permaculture Design Teacher, Prosocial Facilitator, and co-founder of Grow Local Colorado.  Her clinical research interests include applying design science to shift communities’ ecological behavior and employing ACT to increase flexibility for families and their children with both traumatic learning histories and developmental disabilities/ASD.

Learning Objectives

Participants at this event will:

    1. State the importance of transformation of stimulus function
    2. Discriminate between uni-directional and bi-directional stimulus relations
    3. Discuss why ACT was developed
    4. State & give multiple exemplars (private events and overt behavior) of the 6 ACT flexibility repertoires
    5. State & give multiple exemplars (private events and overt behavior) of the 6 ACT narrowing/rigidity repertoires
    6. Articulate “pivotal verbal behavior” for targeting all 6 of the ACT repertoires
    7. Identify how to use verbal and overt behaviors within a play/imaginative setting to address increasing flexible repertoires
    8. Describe methods & results of recent ACT ABA studies dealing with (targeting? addressing?) learners with high functioning autism
    9. Role-play “acceptance” training practices and emphasize specific, measurable behaviors that are socially important
    10. Role-play “defusion” training practices and emphasize specific, measurable behaviors that are socially important
    11. Role-play “situational awareness” training practices and emphasize specific, measurable behaviors that are socially important
    12. Role-play “flexible perspective-taking” training practices and emphasize specific, measurable behaviors that are socially important
    13. Role-play “valuing” training practices and emphasize specific, measurable behaviors that are socially important
    14. Role-play “committed action” training practices and emphasize specific, measurable behaviors that are socially important
    15. Role-play using “pivotal verbal behavior” to transition fluently between the 6 ACT repertoires  
    16. Role-play the use of the Matrix as a principal tool for generating flexibility in the moment
    17. Identify metaphors in everyday dialogue and make use of them in ACT interventions
    18. Assist learners in generating memorable metaphors that capture the way they experience events
    19. Physicalize metaphors to supplement events that should evoke the use of ACT practices
    20. Identify the ways that ACTraining fits within the scope of practice of ABA and is consistent with Baer, Wolf, & Risley, 1968
    21. Role-play and discuss the role of supervision of staff treating learners with high functioning autism
    1. Implement ACT games and activities within group and 1:1 settings  (adapted from bootcamp for BAs & Szabo online) to promote behavioral flexibility
    2. Evaluate speech for competing contingencies, delay discounting, inertia, matching, and defective stimulus control (ACT online with Szabo)
    3. Set personal goals for using ACT training in your practice. (ACT online with Szabo)
    4. Describe scientific and personal philosophical assumptions and worldviews and articulate the impact of these upon your behavior and clinical practice
    5. Identify avenues for finding peer-reviewed research that demonstrates ACT can be implemented across cultures, socio-economic status, languages, race, various social & cognitive levels, behaviors, ages, etc
    6. Identify at least 3 overt behaviors that ACT can support shifting with one current client, with yourself, and within your organization/network of professionals
    7. Role-play training parents how to use ACT with themselves and their family
    8. Role-play introduction of ACT with a client ?
    9. Articulate how to use the ACT Indirect Functional Assessment Datasheet and benefits of assessment of verbal behavior
    10. Describe strategies for developing learners’ self-monitoring skills and data collection of ACT interventions
    11. Identify synonymous behavior-analytic descriptions, “middle terms,” and “child-friendly” explanations for ACT repertoires. Adapt ACT verbal behavior to reasonably understandable terms for clients

    Number of BACB Type-II CEU’s available:

  • 30.0 CEU’s (including 3.0 Supervision and 2.0 Ethics CEU’s)

Cost to Attend: (includes registration and BACB Type-II CEU’s)

  • Early registration (ends October 31, 2019)
    • $549.99 per participant
      • $50.00 discount per participant for registering three or more at a time
  • Regular registration (ends December 31, 2019)
    • $599.99 per participant
      • $50.00 discount per participant for registering three or more at a time
  • Late registration (ends January 21, 2019)
    • $699.99
      • $50.00 discount per participant for registering three or more at a time

For questions or other information, please contact Dusty, Director of Continuing Education for Connections Behavior Planning and Intervention, at


Connections Behavior Planning & Intervention, LLC, is a BACB Approved ACE Provider
(Provider #: OP-17-2781).
The BACB does not directly sponsor or endorse this event, its speakers or its content.

Click here to register!

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