This presentation describes evidence-based strategies for promoting happiness among adults with autism on the severe end of the spectrum. The focus is on enhancing happiness to promote a desirable quality of life among adults who have challenges readily describing their emotional experiences. Initially, means of identifying and validating indicators of happiness and unhappiness on an individual basis are presented. Next, specific strategies for increasing happiness and decreasing unhappiness during daily routines are described. Examples of topics presented include how staff and others can develop good relationships with people with autism whom they support, how to identify situations accompanied by unhappiness and how to alter those situations, ways to identify and embed individual preferences within daily routines, how to provide necessary instructional and related demands in ways that are enjoyable, and how enhancing daily enjoyment can prevent and reduce challenging behavior. Throughout the presentation there is an emphasis on how promoting happiness as a desired outcome should be targeted, monitored, and evaluated just as other more traditional outcomes are addressed in human service agencies.
About the Speaker
Dr. Dennis H. Reid is a licensed psychologist and board certified behavior analyst who has spent his career providing behavioral services as a teacher, psychologist, program director, and director of psychology services. Dr. Reid shows a sustained record of impressive and outstanding applied research with major benefits for its direct participants, populations of participants, and fellow researchers. While most of his work is reported as peer-reviewed research in the most rigorous of applied journals, he has also taken the time to write books and manuals to allow this information to be exported to the widest audience. His work on reinforcer assessment/preference and happiness indices was seminal and is frequently cited. This line of preference investigation has opened new opportunities for the lives of individuals with profound, multiple handicaps. His work in staff training and management (including staff motivation) has helped other researchers and practitioners understand and use these procedures.