Robert Pennington, PhD BCBA-D

He is the Director of the Center of Excellence on Inclusive Practice for OCALI, the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence. He recently transition to OCALI from his role as the Lake and Edward J. Snyder, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Special Education in the Cato College of Education at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

He has over 30 years of experience working with individuals with disabilities, their families, and teachers. He graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2010 and since has published 90 articles, book chapters, and books related to working with persons with ASD and intellectual disability. Robert is passionate about the dissemination of research-based practice and has provided hundreds of refereed and invited presentations to researchers, practitioners, and families.

He also values service to field and his local communities through membership on numerous advisory committees, editorial boards, and grant review panel; leadership in professional organizations (i.e., President of Board of Directors for DADD, ACRES, KYABA); and consultation in schools.

His current research interests involve behavior analytic communication instruction, expanding students’ repertoires in written expression, and improving educational programming for students with severe disabilities. 

Presentation at the ABA International Conference 2024


Behaving Behavior Analytic in the Provision of School Supports 


Serving educational professionals and their students in school contexts is a challenging but meaningful endeavor. In this session, Dr. Pennington will draw on his over 30 years working in schools to discuss functional contingencies related to teacher behavior change and provide an approach for assessing and then supporting teachers in the improvement of classroom programming. Dr. Pennington will demonstrate the use of the program evaluation tools, model the development of behavioral objectives for addressing teacher behavior, and describe several strategies for improving teacher engagement (peer to peer coaching, training students, behavior skills training).

A Behavior Analytic Approach to Teaching Written Expression to Students with Autism and Intellectual Disability

The development of written expression skills is essential to success in a range of critical life domains including academic performance, employment, and social interaction. Despite its importance, there has been little guidance from the research literature on strategies to teach students with complex support needs to write. In this exciting workshop, Dr. Pennington will describe a behavioral approach to teaching written expression to students with autism and intellectual disability. Further, he will distill findings from a decade of research investigations into practical teaching strategies for educators to implement quickly in their classrooms.

Dr. Pennington will draw on decades of experience in classroom settings to engage participants as they work through activities and learn powerful new concepts.