Dr. Gregory Hanley Inspires Hundreds at the ICare4Autism Conference

The first two days of the 2014 ICare4Autism Conference featured workshops from an absolutely incredible presenter, Dr. Gregory Hanley. Dr. Hanley, Professor of Psychology at Western New England University, and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical school, led three fantastic workshops that were both informative and inspiring.

Through three different sessions, Dr. Hanley addressed hundreds of guests, including many Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs). On June 30th, he led a presentation on the functional assessment of severe problem behavior. The assessments he discussed can lead to a safer, easier, and more effective process of treating those on the spectrum. This workshop focused on using behavioral intervention to address problem behaviors such as self-injury and aggression. Functional assessments are conducted to determine why the problem behavior occurs, and Dr. Hanley elaborated the assessments that should be used to help overcome these behaviors. Dr. Hanley emphasized the importance of giving open-ended interviews, in order to create individualized (as opposed to standardized) functional analysis. Freedom from problem behaviors is attainable without hospitalization or harsh punishment; it can be reached by teaching children the skills they need to help navigate the social world. His workshop included role playing, ongoing audience participation and personal and professional experiences that captured his audience.

On the second day of the conference, July 1st, Dr. Hanley first discussed the Assessment and Treatment of Sleep Problems. Without treating sleeping issues, multiple maladaptive behaviors can develop in children with autism; therefore, he elaborated on the opportunities to design individualized treatments for these problems. In the three hour workshop, the audience was given actual tools in following a step by step procedure to successfully train new sleeping behavior. Parents and professionals asking multiple questions were given answers based on years of experience and research that is widely published and proven to be effective by Dr. Hanley and his colleagues.

Later that afternoon, Dr. Hanley moved on to a session which focused on how to strengthen socially important behavior in individuals with ASD. According to Dr. Hanley, the success of treatments for problem behaviors associated with autism is largely dependent on whether the treatment is based on the function the problem behavior serves the individual. In this session, he discussed treatment processes for problem behaviors, as well as a skill-based curriculum that prevents the development of these problem behaviors. The audience was given tools and better understanding in effective interventions.

Dr. Hanley’s workshops were truly a highlight of the conference. Guests who sat in for each of his sessions raved about his presentation style and his passion for helping those on the spectrum. ICare4Autism was honored to have Dr. Hanley join us at this year’s conference, and we thank him for his contributions to the science of applied behavioral analysis and Autism!

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