6 Must-Reads for Teachers Utilizing the Principles of ABA in Public Schools


By Jennifer Fisahn, M.Ed, BCBA

bSci21 Contributing Writer

As an educational consultant in public schools, I often recommend readings to the individuals that I have the pleasure of working with.  The following selections consistently receive “thumbs up” ratings from the hard-working, caring, amazing teachers who read them!

1.  “I Can Identify Saturn but I Can’t Brush My Teeth: What Happens When the curricular Focus for Students with Severe Disabilities Shifts” (Ayres, Lowrey, Douglas, & Sievers (2011) – In this article, the authors take on the hot-button issue of standards-based curriculum vs. functional curriculum for students with severe disabilities. 

2.  “Letters to a Lawyer” (Baer, 2005) – This book chapter contains a collection of affidavits by Baer as an expert witness.  In his affidavits, Baer describes the requirements and the potential of ABA as an educational treatment for children with autism. 

3.  “The Role of the Reflexive-Conditioned Motivating Operation (CMO-R) During Discrete Trial Instruction of Children with Autism” (Carbone, Morgenstern, Kolberg, & Zecchin-Tirri, 2010) – In this article, the authors provide an overview of antecedent-based instructional modifications that lead to a reduction of escape and avoidance behavior of children with autism during discrete trial instruction (DTI) (Carbone et al., 2010).

4. “The Benefits of Skinner’s Analysis of Verbal Behavior for Children with Autism” (Sundberg & Michael, 2001) – Sundberg and Michael discuss the possibility for children with autism to make further gains by utilizing Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior as a basis for assessment and intervention.   

5. “The Top 10 Reasons Children with Autism Deserve ABA” (Walsh, 2009) – Using a “Top Ten List” format paired with humorous stories and anecdotes surrounding her own son, Mary Beth Walsh discusses the many benefits of ABA for children with autism.   

6. “Evidence-Based Practices for Children, Youth, and Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder” (Wong, Odom, Hume, Cox, Fettig, Kucharczyk, & Schultz, 2013) – In this report, the National Professional Development Center on ASD (NPDC) identified twenty-seven evidence-based practices for individuals with autism.  Fact sheets for each intervention are included as an appendix and supply the reader with helpful information. 

What are your must-read suggestions?  Let us know in the comments below.  Also, don’t forget to subscribe to bSci21 via email to receive the latest articles directly to your inbox!


Ayres, K. M., Lowrey, K. A., Douglas, K. H., & Sievers, C. (2011). I can identify Saturn   

     but I can’t brush my teeth: What happens when the curricular focus for students with

     severe disabilities shifts. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental

     Disabilities, 11-21.

Baer, D. M. (2005). Letters to a lawyer. In W. L. Heward, T. E. Heron, N. A. Neef, S. M.   

     Peterson, D. M. Sainato, G. Cart-ledge, R. Gardner III, L. D. Peterson, S. B. Hersh, &

     J. C. Dardig (Eds.), Focus on behavior analysis in education: Achievements,

     challenges, and opportunities (pp. 3-30). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Carbone, V. J., Morgenstern, B., Kolberg, L., & Zecchin-Tirri, G. (2010). The role of the

     reflexive-conditioned motivating operation (CMO-R) during discrete trial instruction

     of children with autism. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities.

Sundberg, M. L., & Michael, J. (2001). The benefits of Skinner’s analysis of verbal

     behavior for children with autism. Behavior Modification, 25(5), 698-724.

Walsh, M. B. (2009). The top 10 reasons children with autism deserve ABA. Behavior

     Analysis in Practice, 4(1), 72-79.

Wong, C., Odom, S. L., Hume, K., Cox, A. W., Fettig, A., Kucharczyk, S., & Schultz, T.

     R. (2013). Evidence-based practices for children, youth, and young adults with autism

     spectrum disorder. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina.

Jennifer FishanJennifer Fisahn, M.Ed., BCBA has worked with individuals with autism and their families for seventeen years.  She is a certified Teacher of the Handicapped, Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®), and parent of a child with autism.  Jennifer has public school experience teaching preschool through high-school aged students as well as extensive experience as a school district consultant, direct service provider and supervisor for home-based ABA programs.  She currently serves as the training coordinator for the Foundation for Autism Training and Education (FATE) and conducts workshops on the topics of ABA and autism.  Jennifer regularly contributes to a resource-rich blog for teachers, therapists, and caregivers and also created the S.T.A.R.S. Network, a group aimed at supporting teachers and paraprofessionals working with individuals with autism.  You can contact her at [email protected].

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1 Comment on "6 Must-Reads for Teachers Utilizing the Principles of ABA in Public Schools"

  1. Bethany Sockel, M.S.,BCBA | August 23, 2017 at 10:52 pm | Reply

    “Adventures in Special Education & Applied Behavior Analysis” – Merrill Winston


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