VIA Staff Highlighted at ABAI Convention

May 28, 2014 |

The Virginia Institute of Autism’s staff had a strong presence at the Association for Behavior Analysis International 40th Annual Convention this weekend.

Five VIA behavior analysts presented their findings at the conference – the largest meeting of behavior analysts in the world.


Julie Patterson leads a workshop on social skills groups.

Outpatient Supervisors Julie Patterson and Peggy Halliday and Outpatient Behavioral Services Director Emily Callahan led a workshop about group social skills instruction. They shared their experiences with VIA’s Pathways Social Skills Groups, and talked about the challenges to running an effective group. They showed videos and did role play to help their audience learn how to run a successful group that helps children and teenagers learn to navigate difficult social situations and make friends.

Outpatient Supervisor Yaniz Padilla Dalmau was one of four speakers in the symposium, “Diverse Applications of Preference Assessment Procedures.” She presented her findings from her work at the University of Iowa, where she evaluated whether children with disabilities whose home language did not match their school language preferred talking, playing or working in their first or second language, and whether the language impacted their preferences for different conversation topics, activities or work tasks.


Ashley Stonemetz-Walding presents her poster on reducing disruptive speech.

Outpatient Supervisor Ashley Stonemetz-Walding presented her poster, “Functional Analysis and Treatment of Non-Contextual and Idiosyncratic Speech for a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder,” alongside more than 150 researchers at the poster session. Her work showed a highly successful method of analysis and treatment to address non-contextual and idiosyncratic speech (behaviors that can be disruptive, or have a negative impact on a person’s ability to connect with others in a social or community setting) for a nine year-old boy with autism spectrum disorder.

VIA Adult Services Case Manager Corey Scott represented the Virginia Association for Behavior Analysis, presenting the organization’s poster during the poster session.

VIA behavior analysts Kimberley Zonneveld, Scott Sparrow and Tyler Proulx from the James C. Hormel School also attended the 40th Annual Convention, learning from fellow autism experts and sharing VIA’s impact with their peers from across the globe.

Tags: ABAI, Ashley Stonemetz-Walding, autism expert, autism study, behavior analysis, Conference, Julie Patterson, Outpatient Behavioral Services, Pathways, Reinforcement, VIA, VIA On the Move, VIA Staff, Yaniz Padilla Dalmau