By Anne Macaskill
The New Zealand Association for Behaviour Analysis (NZABA) is a community of people working, teaching and researching in Behavior Analysis in, or with a connection to, Aotearoa New Zealand. About half of the registered members of NZABA are students, with the remainder working in research, teaching, and practice.
Our main event each year is the NZABA conference held in late August. In 2021, this was scheduled to be hosted at the UNITEC campus in Auckland. However, a pandemic lockdown in August prevented members travelling and so we held the conference online. While of course it was disappointing not to connect in person, it was great to share current research projects online, nevertheless.
We have come to expect a very high standard of student presentations, and this year was no exception. The online format allowed ups to inaugurate a people’s choice award voted on by audience poll. This went to Maria Chia (University of Waikato) for her talk entitled: Scent-detection dogs’ performance with rapidly changing targets. The prize for the best paper on an experimental or translational topic was awarded to Annabelle Hammond (Victoria University of Wellington) for her talk entitled Why should we be impulsive at times when we would be self-controlled? The best talk on an applied topic went to Caitlin Mann (University of Auckland) for her contribution to the session entitled Looking at the bigger picture: evaluating multiple outcomes and family-centred interventions in the treatment of paediatric feeding disorders. The prize for the best short presentation went to Jenna Enright (University of Waikato) for her presentation entitled: An investigation into the effects of a tootling intervention for compliant and on-task student behaviour in a New Zealand primary school.
During 2021, NZABA continued our work responding to the 2019 Behavior Analyst Certification Board decision to no longer offer the BCBA certification outside North America. Members and other interested ABA professionals have formed a group subsequently titled the Society of Behaviour Analysis Aotearoa New Zealand focused on professional practice issues. We held a special symposium at the NZABA 2021 conference to update members on the progress of the society and continue our discussions about how the two sister organisations will collaborate as developments progress. The key current goals for the society are registering as a charity, setting up a registry of behaviour analysis professionals, and developing a public-facing website presenting evidence-based, information customized to the New Zealand context for people interested in ABA or seeking ABA services.
In 2022, our conference was held at the University of Waikato Tauranga campus. Our website at https://nzaba.wordpress.com/ provides information about this event along with the conference program. You can join NZABA via a form on our website; we do not charge a membership fee. Members automatically join our emailing list and will receive occasional updates and announcements. Our facebook group at facebook.com/newzealandaba for hosts more informal discussion and shares links to items of general interest to those working in the field of behavior analysis.