By Traci Shinabarger

In 2022, MTABA set forth to organize Board and membership structures to better serve our members. MTABA started by updating chapter Bylaws to reflect the member’s needs and to expand participation. In addition to the Dissemination and Policy Committees, the Membership and Conference committees were formalized. Each Committee is chaired by a Board Member and each Board Member is responsible for supporting at least one committee. These committees were also opened up to the membership for participation. In September 2022, the membership voted to expand the number of seats on the Board. The current Board includes;

Ania Young, Past President (2022-2024);

Traci Shinabarger, President (2022-2024);

Bradley Tiefenthaler, President-Elect (2022-2024);

Autumn Kostka, Treasurer (2022-2025);

Kayla Laughlin Secretary (2022-2025); and

Four members at-large with staggered terms: Brett Gilleo, Shelley Burbank, Jessica Collins, Tonya Blaney, and Lisa Jones Park

     This Board became effective September 10, 2022, at the annual chapter meeting held during the annual conference.

The 2022 MT Annual Conference was held in-person in Missoula, Montana on September 9th and 10th. The conference theme was ABA in the Schools and included experts in brining ABA into school districts from the Educational Cooperative of the Rockies; legal advocates from Disability Rights Montana; and members with special knowledge of working in the Montana educational system. Overall, the conference was a success as measured by a post-conference survey of attendees who reported high satisfaction with quality of the speaker presentation, presentation content, venue, and overall comfort at the conference. Attendees’ preferences included learning about IDEA and practical strategies for working in classrooms.

MTABA used the annual conference to assess interest in pursuing legislation in the 2023 legislative session to increase access for students to ABA. Two representatives showed interest and a bill placeholder was created. At the writing of this article, the bill appears stalled in the process; however, the bill as drafted by MTABA and presented is both bipartisan in nature and likely to continue to support conversations between private practitioners and school districts in how to best serve students. The Policy Committee grew to include five members and three Board members and continues to monitor this along with other legislation and state department policy changes that impact the provision of ABA.

     In addition to the annual conference, MTABA sponsored a virtual training with Andy Bondy, titled, “Prompting, Stimulus Control, Error Correction: What’s your Teaching Ritual?” The MTABA Conference Committee aims to present three virtual trainings in 2023 in addition to the annual conference set for September 9th and 10 th in Helena, MT.

     The Membership Committee launched Coffee with BCBAs, a monthly gathering of practitioners with various topics relevant to the practice of ABA and in Montana specifically. Members receive email reminders and join virtually via a Zoom link.

     The Dissemination Committee is the most active committee by far in 2022. The committee is almost finished with a map of Montana that outlines where ABA providers are located. This will assist both providers and families in locating services. The Committee also submitted a SABA grant to expand the number of professionals in Montana by offering scholarships to students of accredited programs as well as reduced rates on fieldwork supervision. MTABA’s connections with state departments led to the grant receiving support from officials working with tribal nations and developmental disability services. A second grant was submitted by this Committee to the Montana Developmental Disability Program to match funds if the SABA grant is approved.

MTABA continues to grow and support behavior analysis in Montana through trainings, advocacy, and outreach. We are looking forward to a busy and productive 2023.

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