Flexibility and Wonder – An Introduction to the DNA-V Model for Promoting Social and Emotional Wellbeing in Children with Dr. Evelyn Gould & Johanne Zaporteza

Dr. Evelyn Gould, BCBA-D & Johanne Zaporteza, BCBA

Connections Behavior Planning and Intervention welcomes Dr. Evelyn Gould, BCBA-D, and Johanne Zaporteza, BCBA! The topic of this presentation (one whole, in two parts) is an introduction to the DNA-V model as it can be applied to younger children.


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for children and adolescents requires developmental sensitivity and individualization of treatment protocols to meet each child’s needs in terms of language development and other deficits and challenges. This workshop will introduce participants to a model of ACT specifically designed for use with children and adolescents. The DNAV (Hayes & Ciarrochi, 2015) is a non-pathology based, developmentally sensitive, contextual behavioral science model for promoting the social and emotional wellbeing of children and adolescents. The model can be flexibly integrated and adapted by practitioners, educators, and caregivers across settings with children of all ages, however; this workshop will focus specifically on adaptations for young children (i.e., under 12).

Participants will be introduced to the model and walked through the process of case conceptualization, treatment planning and implementation from a DNAV perspective. Adaptations for children with a variety of developmental, social, emotional and behavioral challenges will be explored. We will emphasize the benefits of combining DNAV with traditional ABA strategies to further promote new, adaptive learning and flexibility that allows children and their families to adapt to life challenges in the service of building a rich and meaningful life. Learning will be achieved through didactic presentation, experiential exercises, modeling, role-play, group exercises, and case examples.

About the Presenters

Evelyn Gould, PhD, BCBA-D, LABA, is a Clinical Behavior Analyst and Licensed Psychologist at The New England Center for OCD and Anxiety (NECOA). She is also a Clinical Associate at the Child and Adolescent OCD Institute (OCDI-Jr) at McLean Hospital, and Research Associate in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Evelyn has two decades of experience working with families of children with autism, OCD, and other learning and behavior challenges across settings. Evelyn is also actively involved in research and has published articles and book chapters on parent training, clinical assessment and treatment design, and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) for practitioners and parents of children with ASD. She is passionate about the dissemination of evidence-based behavioral interventions, and passionate about promoting social justice and addressing issues of diversity and equity within Behavior Analysis. Evelyn is actively involved in a variety of Special Interest Groups and Task Forces within the ABAI and ACBS communities, and is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science.

Johanne Zaporteza, BCBA, has worked with children with ASD and their families across settings for the past 10 years. She received her Masters in Curriculum & Instruction in Applied Behavior Analysis from Arizona State University. Johanne currently works in the Los Angeles area as a Program Director for FirstSteps for Kids, Inc. Her areas of expertise and clinical interests include social skills development, parent training, social cognition and executive functioning skills, training staff and other clinicians, and food expansion. Johanne also continues to be involved in applied research. She is currently studying the effects of an ACT-based social skills group on the social behavior of children with ASD.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the DNAV model from a behavior analytic perspective.
  2. Describe how language processes play a role in childhood behavioral and emotional challenges.
  3. Discuss key developmental considerations when designing and adapting DNAV / ACT-based interventions for children.
  4. Describe ways to incorporate DNAV into parent consultation and/or parent training sessions, to support the generalization of child skills and adaptive parent-child interactions.
  5. Describe the benefits of combining traditional ABA strategies with the DNAV model
  6. Design at least one novel intervention that you might use in your own practice, at the group or individual level.

CEU’s included, and Cost to Attend:

  • 3.0 Learning BACB CEU’s (included with purchase)
  • $60 to attend
    • Includes access to the recording and presentation materials for both sessions, and CEU’s.
    • Note: Participants must attend or view both sessions for CEU credit.

For questions, challenges with registration, or any other needed information, please contact Dusty, Director of Continuing Education and ACE Coordinator for CBPI, LLC, at continuingeducation@connections-behavior.com.

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.


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