Mian Wang of UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School gave the invited talk “ABA Training in China: Issues and Challenges through the Lens of Special Education,” as part of the B.F. Skinner Lecture Series at the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) 2018 Convention in May 2018 in San Diego, CA.
Despite growing interests in the applied behavioral analysis (ABA) training from different constituents, China is still in a great demand for training more qualified behavioral analysts and other clinical professionals who can deliver effective ABA based interventions to Chinese children with special needs. Applications of ABA to children with ASD were first introduced to China in the 1990s, primarily through Chinese parents and parent-run organizations. Not until the dawn of the 21st century had the first ABA delegation to China from ABAI taken place. Interests from the different constituent groups (e.g., professionals in the medical field, parents of children with ASD, professionals in various clinical or rehabilitation settings for children with ASD, and special education school teachers etc.), towards ABA kept permeating since. Yet the status quo and outcomes of ABA training in China are unsatisfactory and of most concern. In his presentation, Wang provided a historical review of the trends and issues surrounding the ABA training in China through the lens of special education. Based on his interactions with a few Chinese universities over the last decade regarding ABA training to university faculty and students, he discussed the key issues and challenges. Suggestions for improvement of ABA training in China was also discussed.
Wang, a Professor in the Department of Education, is currently serving a two-year term as the Faculty Director of the University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) China Programs. He received Ph.D.s from the University of Patras, Greece, in Applied Developmental Psychology with an emphasis on Cognitive Development of Children with Intellectual Disabilities as well as from the University of Kansas in Special Education with an emphasis on Family and Disability Policy. Before his 20 plus years working experience in the field of disability and special education in several countries such as Canada, China, Greece, and USA, he completed his undergraduate and graduate studies in Psychology in China. Dr. Wang’s research interests include: child and family outcomes of early childhood services, family-professional partnership, atypical child development, positive behavioral support in cultural context, and disability policy.