Volume 30| 2007 | Number 2

New Zealand ABA

By Dr. David Harper

The last 12 months have seen a number of significant events for members of the New Zealand chapter of ABA (NZABA). The third annual NZABA conference was co-hosted by members based at the Department of Psychology, University of Waikato and the Animal Behavior and Welfare Research Centre, Ruakura during the 2nd & 3rd September 2006. There were 29 presentations in total and over 50 attendees. As with previous years, a notable feature of the conference was the high participation rate of student presenters and a good cross-sample of the diverse range of areas of interest to NZABA members. The talks covered such topics as: choice, stimulus control, behavioral pharmacology, timing, human operant behavior, applied behavior analysis, and animal welfare. Abstracts from the 2006 program (as well as previous years) are available from www.nzaba.org.

At the 2006 NZABA annual business meeting, David Harper (Victoria University of Wellington) was re-appointed as the Chair of NZABA for another year. Also at the business meeting, the proposal was accepted to hold the NZABA 2007 conference in conjunction with the 4th ABA International Conference held in Sydney between the 14th & 17th of August. This was an exciting opportunity for many New Zealand-based students for whom travel to a major international behavior analytic conference has not previously been possible. It was the ‘‘Kiwi Contingent’’ for those of you who attended ABA International in Sydney this year.

In 2006, a new Web site was developed for NZABA (go to: www.nzaba.org). This Web site was designed to provide recent news from our group, links to individual research and training programs in New Zealand, links to previous NZABA conference details, and online membership registration. Thanks, in part, to the new system for enabling individuals to become members of NZABA, our membership count has risen to 101.

In 2007, NZABA members continued to build on the momentum developing in the applied area following on from the establishment in 2006 of NZABA as an approved Behavior Analyst Certification Board continuing education provider. The NZABA Continuing Education Coordinator, Oliver Mudford (University of Auckland), has ensured the availability of continuing education courses. Dr. Mudford also recently coordinated a major submission on behalf of NZABA members concerning the draft of a significant policy document by the New Zealand Ministry of Health outlining treatment guidelines for autism spectrum disorder. The draft document contained a number of errors and misrepresentations of the evidence concerning behavior analytic-based treatment approaches (including a totally erroneous definition of applied behavior analysis in the first instance). Therefore, the NZABA submission and individual submissions from NZABA members will hopefully help improve the status and acceptability of behavior analytic based treatments for autism in New Zealand.

So, in summary, the well-established research programs headed up by major international leaders in behavior analysis are going strong and continuing to attract post graduate students in to the area. The two applied graduate training programs (at Auckland and Waikato Universities) are up and running and NZABA members have been actively contributing to policy development in New Zealand. People interested in joining NZABA should note that there is no formal application process or fee. New members are welcome to apply via our Web site www.nzaba.org (note our Web address would have been ‘‘nzaba.org.nz’’ except that was already taken by the NZ Abrasive Blasting Association!).

From: http://www.abainternational.org/ABA/newsletter/vol302/NZABA.asp