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Wednesday, December 2 • 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Evidence Based Practices (EBP) and Implementation Science (IS) Colloquium

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Two inter-related intellectual and social projects are affecting the social sciences which provide means and content for the advocacy and helping professions serving individuals with severe disabilities and their families. These projects are the Evidence Based Practices (EBP) movement and the multidisciplinary effort to establish an Implementation Science (IS).  The purpose of this invited colloquium will be to bring together activist scholars and innovative interventionists who are engaged in analyzing, developing, evaluating, and implementing evidence based practices for improving the quality of life of individuals with severe disabilities across the lifespan. The central question that will be discussed is how these movements are relevant to the future of advocacy, intervention and research for this population. In particular, how should TASH as an advocacy and research organization position itself in response to these trends? While EBP and IS have been of key importance in many disciplines, there are unique issues and questions which arise in the context of social activism informed by science and in the domain of concerns about people with severe disabilities.  Invited speakers will present papers on several aspects of this central question, followed by informal discussions of the ideas they will share. The papers will be submitted for a special issue of Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities in order to disseminate the questions, reflections, and proposed solutions discussed in the papers and colloquium.  Examples of the questions and issues that may be discussed by presenters include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. In light of the social conditions in which most people with severe disabilities live, what has been and should be the role of research, research synthesis and evaluation, and formal implementation projects in improving their quality of life?

  2. Given the heterogeneity of the population of people with severe disabilities and their families how should EBPs affect individual supports whether in early intervention, public school education, or community service systems? 

  3. What have been the benefits and the limitations of relying on model demonstration projects of EBPs in our field?

  4. What are lessons learned from effective examples of large scale implementations of EBPs  and how are they relevant?

  5. What has the field of clinical and counseling psychology learned about the development and implementation of EPBs, both in terms of strengths and shortcomings, and what are the implications for education and support to persons with severe disabilities?

  6. What should be our stance in regard to practices which are driven by a commitment to a set of shared values but which do not yet have substantial research support?

  7. When should values override evidence in the selection of instruction and/or supports, if at all?

  8. How should practices based on sets of general principles and procedures such at Positive Behavior Support be evaluated in light of the efforts to catalogue EBPs?

  9. Given a substantial evidence base that is often not applied in community and family settings, how can EBPs be more effectively disseminated and implemented?

  10. What should be the role of qualitative research in the EBP and IS movements?

  11. What social policies are needed to promote development of new EBPs and implementation of established ones? 

  12. What should be the role of participatory action research in these movements?

  13.  How can individuals with disabilities and their families have a compelling voice in these movements?

  14. What is the role of advocacy in relation to the EBP and IS movements?

  15. How do cultural, social class, and linguistic differences interface with these movements?


Here is a preliminary list of invited speakers and possible topics. Invitees are welcome to change the topic of their talk as they see fit:


Introduction: George HS Singer UCSB

  1. Rob Horner, U. O. —Evidence based practices and Implementation Science, their recent history and relevance to our disciplines and to social advocacy.  

  2. Fred Spooner UNCC—what are the evidence based practices in the field of special education for individuals with severe disabilities? What is missing?

  3. Pat Mirenda  UBC--Evidence Based Practice and AAC— lessons, special challenges, and future steps.

  4. Joe Lucyshyn UBC—Defining EBPS in Positive Behavior Support.

  5. TBN—the role of qualitative research and a dissenting view of the current EBP movement.

  6. Laurie Powers PSU—the place of self-advocacy and participatory action research in these movements.

  7. Mian Wang UCSB—the impact of culture on EBP’s and IS.

Speakers will be invited to give a 20-minute presentation with 10 minutes discussion with the audience on a topic of their choice and to provide a paper to interested audience members.  Papers Power Point presentations will be posted on the TASH website prior to the meeting. 

avatar for Martin Agran

Martin Agran

Professor, University of Wyoming
Dr. Martin Agran is a nationally recognized researcher in the area of special education. He is a professor and former department head in the Department of Special Education at the University of Wyoming. Additionally, he served as a professor in the Special Education Departments at... Read More →

avatar for Fred Spooner

Fred Spooner

Professor, UNC Charlotte
Fred Spooner is Professor of Special Education at UNC Charlotte. Dr. Spooner has researched and written about instructional strategies for students with severe disabilities since the 1980s. Recently, he has focused on alternate assessment and linking both assessment and instruction... Read More →

Wednesday December 2, 2015 1:00pm - 5:00pm PST
Columbia 1402 SW Naito Parkway Portland, OR 97201

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