Chapter Spotlight: Tennessee ABA

“Collectively, this group is dedicated to advancing the presence of TABA across the state…”

Annie Cornelius and Lindsey Brady

The Tennessee Association for Behavior Analysis (TABA) was established in 1997 and continues to focus on increasing awareness, supporting various state ABA programs, and ensuring the availability of applied behavior analysis services across the state. During the COVID-19 pandemic, TABA pivoted their focus to ensuring members were able to access information concerning the necessary switch to providing behavior services through telehealth platforms.

Currently, TABA has approximately 204 members. This is a decrease in members, but TABA feels this is likely in part due to COVID-19 and the economic issues many are facing. Funds and actions to support the 2020 initiatives were made available, but with many of these initiatives having a focus on social engagement and networking efforts had to be minimized. There is one state conference, and three regional meetings hosted each year-the annual conference held in Middle Tennessee as well as one in each of the three grand regions of the state-West, Middle, and East. The annual conference provides a central forum to discuss all aspects of researching and delivering applied behavior analysis services that are affecting Behavior Analysts across the state, while the regional meetings allow for those needs of local Behavior Analysts to be addressed. All but the west regional meeting was held online to ensure the safety of TABA members.

The 23rd Annual Conference was held virtually using the VirBELA platform on October 29–30. During this conference, approximately 227 Behavior Analysts attended to hear the following qualified invited speakers: Dr. Linda LeBlanc from LeBlanc Behavioral Consulting, Dr. Jim Carr from the BACB, and Dr. Megan Miller from LifeTribe. There were additional Noted Speakers, including: Mahshid Ghaemmaghami, Ph.D., BCBA-D, FTF Behavioral Consulting Dr. LeBlanc focused on best practices in regards to supervision and spoke about designing clinical systems within our practices as well as how to identify the presence of quality. Dr. Carr provided updates from the BACB and also spoke on the importance of the existence of experimental applied behavior analysis to applied behavior analysis. Dr. Miller focused on supervision in addition to discussing how to compassionately address challenging behavior issues. Dr. Ghaemmaghami focused on Avoiding Delay-Induced Resurgence of Severe Problem Behavior While this is a decrease in attendance, 2020 was a difficult year for many chapters. TABA is focusing on returning to typical membership and conference attendee numbers next year.

While the shift to an online conference format did cause changes within the conference components typically offered, Behavioralympics, which showcased the knowledge of students from various ABA programs within the state, was still able to occur. Those students who were able to shape a behavior most efficiently, rapidly identify terminology, and display other clinical skills were awarded for their efforts by TABA member donations. This is a forum for students to interact with each other and demonstrate their ABA skill set.

Our Executive Committee is made up of the following individuals: Annie Cornelius as President, Komal Noordin as President-Elect, Tiffany Denton as Past President, Rachel Joyner as West TN Regional Representative, Loren Eighmie as Middle TN Regional Representative, Deanna Purslow as East TN Regional Representative, Anna-Kathryn Dacus as West TN Student Officer, Kamryn Quackenbush as Middle TN Student Officer, and Emma Vola as East TN Student Officer. Our committee chairs include Cady Branch and Michelle Hopton (co-chairs, Continuing Education), Erin Szarka (Publications), Logan York and Elizabeth West (co-chairs, Social Media), Clinton Smith (Professional Standards), and Zachary Stevens (Membership). Lindsey Brady continues as the Director of Operations. Collectively, this group is dedicated to advancing the presence of TABA across the state by focusing on both 2020 and 2021 initiatives; providing engaging opportunities for both the conference and regional meetings, and newly identified initiatives such as a mentorship program in additions to the 2020 initiatives halted by COVID-19.