2020 MOABA Conference

Shahla Ala'i, Ph.D. BCBA-D, LBA

Shahla Ala'i, Ph.D. BCBA-D, LBA


About the Presenter

Shahla Alai received her B.S. from Southern Illinois University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas. Shahla and her students collaborate with community partners to serve people who are under resourced and marginalized within current societal structures.  Shahla is a member of an interdisciplinary lab that includes faculty and students from Woman’s and Gender Studies, Applied Anthropology and Behavior Analysis. Shahla has taught courses on technology transfer, ethics, autism intervention, parent training, behavioral systems, applied research methods, behavior change techniques, and assessment. Shahla has served on several boards and disciplinary committees, most notably the ABAI Practice Board and the ABAI Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Board. She has published and presented research on social justice, ethics in early intervention, play and social skills, family harmony, change agent training, supervision and the relationship between love and science in the treatment of autism. Shahla has over four decades of experience working with families and has trained hundreds of behavior analysts. She was awarded an Onassis Foundation Fellowship for her work with families, was the recipient of UNT’s prestigious “’Fessor Graham” teaching award, received the 2019 Texas Association for Behavior Analysis Career Contributions Award, and the UNT 2020 Community Engagement award.

Friday November 20, 2020

Culturally Responsive Supervision Practices in Behavior Analysis


Section 1.05 of the BACB Compliance Code focuses on professional relationships between people of differing ages, genders, races, ethnicities, national origins, religions, sexual orientations, disabilities, languages, and socioeconomic status.  Ideally, behavior analysts in clinical practice should be non-discriminatory and be developing increasingly more cultural responsiveness when working with people of differing backgrounds, life experiences and preferences. Cultural responsiveness is closely yoked with experience, ethical perspectives and social justice. The first part of this presentation will review behavior analytic conceptualizations of culture and cultural responsiveness, both the heart and the WEIRDness of our discipline, and ethical perspectives that can foster culturally responsive practices. The second part of presentation will offer suggested pathways leading to individual and organizational cultural responsiveness and social justice.  

Learning Objectives

  1. To identify the context for considering cultural responsiveness in behavioral practice (global trends, culture from a behavior analytic perspective, aims and history of discipline, ethical philosophies).
  2. To identify some inherent tensions and possibilities within our field that are related to culture and social justice.
  3. To identify pathways for advancement of cultural responsiveness in behavior analytic practice and supervision.


Location: MOABA Virtual
CEUs: 1 hr – Ethics