Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions: Evidence, insights, and examples from ESDM and the Social ABCs


  • Pam Lawrynowycz, MA, BCBA (Clinical Lead, AlphaBee)
  • Lisa Kota, MADS, BCBA (Clinical Supervisor, AlphaBee)
  • Jessica Brian, Ph.D., C.Psych. (Co-lead, Autism Research Centre; Holland Bloorview and University of Toronto)

Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions (NDBIs; Schriebman, 2015) have gained momentum in autism intervention over the past several years. NDBI approaches use behavioral principles, such as three-part contingencies, measurement of treatment fidelity and child progress, and prompting, with an overlay of developmental science. This presentation will describe the key elements of NDBI approaches and the evidence supporting their efficacy. We will highlight how such approaches are applied in clinical settings, with a focus on two prominent NDBI models, the Early Start Denver Model and the Social ABCs.

Establishing Question Discrimination Skills for Learners with Autism


  • Pam Lawrynowycz, MA, BCBA (Clinical Lead, AlphaBee)
  • Sonia Stellato, M.ADS, BCBA (Senior Therapist, AlphaBee)

Generalized WH question discrimination is a behavioural cusp essential for comprehension, recall and conversation. Many children with autism have difficulty answering WH questions despite receiving intensive teaching. They often remain unable to answer novel questions involving established tacts: For example, when shown an apple and asked, “What colour is it?” the child may answer “Apple” and have difficulty answering various questions about a topic when questions are interspersed

This presentation will review procedures developed by Dr. Francesca degli Espinosa to develop generalized responding to discriminating WH questions. It will illustrate procedures to remediate such discriminative failures and identify pre-requisites to teaching question discrimination.

Dr. degli Espinosa’s teaching procedures increase intraverbal control between elements within phrases and recreate contingencies and sources of stimulus control that occur in the natural environment so that children can answer novel questions.

AlphaBee has been implementing these procedures for over 3 years with great success with many learners, and is excited to share program samples and video illustrations of program implementation!

Participants will leave with examples of specific programs for teaching both item and event generalized question discrimination.

Learning Objectives for Participants:

  • Participants will identify beginner and intermediate tact objectives
  • Participants will describe what an Autoclitic is and specific autoclitic frames which can be used to teach WH questions
  • Participants will describe the procedure for teaching discriminations using autoclitic frames

CEUs will be offered

Please visit for more information or to register.