Practicum – Supervision Workshop

Hosted by the Department of Applied Disability Studies and the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Dr. Joel Ringdahl – Practicum Supervision Workshop

June 23, 2023 > 9:00am – 4:00pm

Functional Assessment and Function-Based Intervention: Context and Design Considerations

Functional behavior assessment (FBA) in its many forms provides the basis for most interventions designed to address challenging behavior exhibited by individuals with intellectual and developmental disorders (IDD), including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, the clinical contexts in which this process unfolds varies across individuals. Given that approaches for FBAs include indirect, direct, and systematic approaches, practitioners must determine which approach best meshes with the particular environment in which they practice. As well, practitioners must be aware of the benefits and limitations of each type of approach. This workshop will provide an overview of FBA strategies and their utility in clinical contexts that range from educational settings to clinic-based settings. In addition to discussing the fit between FBA approach and clinical context, a decision-making model for moving from minimally invasive to more invasive assessment strategies will be described and discussed. The overall goal of the workshop is to equip practitioners with the knowledge necessarily to implement FBAs in the most efficient and least intrusive manner possible, given the constraints of their practice setting. 

The second half of the day will focus on function-based intervention for challenging behavior. In particular, Dr. Ringdahl will discuss functional communication training (FCT) as an intervention approach. The presentation will highlight the history of this intervention, strategies to use when designing the intervention to optimize likelihood of initial success, and variables to consider when developing FCT-based interventions that allow for maximizing impact in the face of treatment challenges while involving the individual/client/student/patient as an active contributor to intervention design. Finally, the talk will cover avenues for future research and practice related to FCT-based interventions, and ethical issues relevant to FBA and FCT.


Part 1: The Role of Clinical Context in Designing Functional Behavior Assessments 

  1. Identify specific indirect, direct, and systematic FBA approaches;
  2. Design an approach to FBA that takes into consideration relevant barriers related to setting;
  3. Determine when FBA approach should be changed based on relevant treatment-related data.

Part 2: Functional Communication Training- A Somewhat Comprehensive Guide 

  1. Determine which communication modalities might be appropriate to incorporate on an individual-by-individual manner;
  2. Identify the role communication modality preference plays in treatment maintenance; 
  3. Design assessments for determining aspects of contingencies to manipulate when FCT must be conducted as part of a concurrent reinforcement schedules-intervention. 


Registration is FREE for current 2022/23 ADS ABA Practicum Supervisors.

5 Learning/1 Ethics CEUs will be available for eligible participants.

Registration closes June 9, 2023.


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If you are not a current practicum supervisor, but would like to attend for a fee – please register with Eventbrite.




picture of Joel Ringdahl, Ph.D, BCBA

Joel Ringdahl, Ph.D, BCBA
University of Georgia

Dr. Ringdahl received his Ph.D. in psychology with an emphasis in behavior analysis from Louisiana State University in 1999 under the supervision of Dr. Timothy R. Vollmer. He completed a Predoctoral Internship at Children’s Seashore House/University of Pennsylvania under the supervision of Dr. F. Charles Mace and completed postdoctoral training at the University of Iowa under the supervision of Drs. Linda Cooper-Brown and David Wacker. Following his postdoctoral training, Dr. Ringdahl served in various capacities at the University of Iowa. He has held academic appointments at the University of Iowa and Southern Illinois University, and currently is a Professor at the University of Georgia in the Communication Sciences and Special Education Department. Dr. Ringdahl currently serves on a number of editorial boards, including the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA) and the Journal of Behavioral Education. He has served as an Associate Editor for JABA and The Psychological Record and is the current Editor-in-Chief of Behavior Analysis: Research and Practice. Dr. Ringdahl has published over 60 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Portions of his research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on a near continuous basis since 2000, and he has published his work in such journals as the JABA, the Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, and the American Journal of Genetics. He is also a former President of the Illinois Association for Behavior Analysis and a past member of the Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities study section with the NIH. Dr. Ringdahl provides services to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who exhibit challenging behavior. He has worked in a variety of settings, including state facilities, hospital-based inpatient, outpatient, and day-treatment services, university-based clinics, schools, and residential settings including group homes and residential education centers.


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