Chapter Spotlight: ABA Switzerland

Image by Claudia Beyli from Pixabay

“One of our 2021 goals is to get better at advertising and having a bigger audience at our events!”

Silja Wirth, CHarlotte Escane, and erika glaus

At the start of 2020, the BACB’s news about withdrawing from international certification shook the field of Behavior Analysis in Switzerland. In our country ABA is not very widely disseminated and enjoys no recognition as a profession, thus the news about losing our international standing came as a shock to our members. ABA Switzerland organized a member meeting and brainstormed ideas on how to move forward. We wrote a position paper on the future of behavior analysis in Switzerland and discussed our ideas with Dr Neil Martin from the BACB on two occasions. We are also seeking the collaboration with our neighbouring countries Italy, France, and Germany. Many of our members work in border regions, thus we must find ways to ensure future professional recognition of certificates across borders and find common standards of practice. Developing those ideas further, establishing contact with EABA and staying in close connection with the chapters in our neighbouring countries will be major goals for the year to come as well. Indeed, one of our board members joined the French organization ONPAC in their “International Committee” to discuss potential collaborations opportunities. This ongoing process of collaborating with border countries will also help us on other issues as Switzerland is a small country with relatively few behavior analysts so far.

In 2020 we also continued to provide opportunities for continuing education to our members by hosting different webinars. The goal for the webinars of 2020 was to broaden our perspective as to how behavior analysis can be applied outside the field of autism. Our members like the idea of having an overview of other domains of the application of behavior analysis. We started by having Shane Spiker present on the use of behavior analysis in the field of sexual disorders. Nicole Pfaller-Sadovky was scheduled to talk about her work using ABA to work with dogs and dog owners. Due to unforeseen circumstances the webinar was cancelled but is now scheduled for March 2021. Next up was Claudia Drossel. She presented a two-part webinar on her work with patients suffering from dementia and how ABA can be used to treat their symptoms as well as how it can support caregivers. Those webinars were very interesting and eye opening for practitioners mainly working with people with autism or other developmental disorders. As we always aim to provide CEUs for supervision and ethics, we finished the year with Michael Cameron talking about a minimum clinical dataset for evaluating autism treatment as well as Lisa Britton presenting on utilizing behavioral skills training in a remote supervision setting, thus also addressing the major challenges we all faced this year when being forced to rely more on telehealth.

Last but not least, 2020 has been a year of total redesign and reorganization of our website, thanks to our student representative board member. Our goal is to have more visibility online and easier and more efficient admin processes. We also started to be more active on social media such as Facebook to welcome more members and advertise for our webinars. We try to select webinars with specific interests but yet don’t have many enrollments each time, despite their low cost. One of our 2021 goals is to get better at advertising and having a bigger audience at our events!

In 2021, ABA Switzerland Committee will re-elect its board members. Also, ABA Switzerland aims to continue providing quality webinars with CEU opportunities to its members. Therefore, we will be welcoming Shane Spiker in April. Shane returns to present how ABA is used in the work with adult clients. In June Kimberly March and Carmen Hall will dive deeper into this topic by elaborating how Discrete Trial Instruction can be used with adults. Later in the year Francesca degli Espinoza will provide a webinar on ethics and telemedicine and provide us with the opportunity to get ethics CEUs. We listened to a great podcast Francesca degli Espinoza presented with ABA Inside Track and cannot wait to have her discuss how she managed to review her entire practice during the pandemic and the lockdown in order to continue providing high quality services to parents despite the setting change and the emergency of the situation. We all must learn from this sanitary crisis and how to overcome such barriers in our daily practice. In the fall Eric Larsson will return to present a webinar as well. Our members will get to choose the topic for the webinar at our annual meeting. We will close the year with a webinar by a representative of Greg Hanley’s company FTF consulting presenting their Balance Program. 

2021 will also be a year of big decisions regarding the future of our field here in Europe. ABA Switzerland will continue to work on this great challenge.