Applied Behavior Analysis and Behavioral Services in Institutions for Mentally Retarded Persons: Diverging Paths?

Sigrid S. Glenn, Janet Ellis, Edward Hutchinson


Diverging paths of applied behavior analysis and behavioral services for the developmentally disabled (DD) clients are examined empirically. While 75% of research articles on DD in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (1968-1993, Summer issue) focus on behavior acquisition, professionals designated as “behavior specialists” report focusing primarily on deceleration objectives. Institutional administrators consider behavior analysis to be relevant to meeting both acquisition and deceleration objectives, although more relevant to deceleration objectives. Reasons for the focus of behavioral specialists on deceleration objectives lie in three areas: contingencies, establishing educational priorities in academic training programs which have resulted in a scarcity of trained behavior analysts to design and implement habilitative programs; institutional contingencies generating the separation of deceleration technology from habilitative activities; and counter-habilitative contingencies established by guidelines and regulations under which institutions operate.

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Published by the University of Illinois at Chicago Library

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