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Abigail B. Calkin


Abigail B. Calkin
Photo Courtesy of
Sean Neilson

Abigail B. Calkin

  • born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • grew up at the family home in Framingham Centre, Massachusetts and in New York's Greenwich Village
  • lived also in New Hampshire, Maine, Nova Scotia, Colorado, Scotland, Oregon, Washington, and Kansas
  • now live with my husband in a coastal bush community in Alaska


  • graduated from prep schools Grace Church School and Friends Seminary in New York City
  • BA from the University of Colorado with a double major in psychology and philosophy
  • studied philosophy for two years at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland
  • MA in special education under Barbara Bateman from the University of Oregon
  • PhD in educational administration and school psychology from the University of Kansas under Ogden R. Lindsley


  • special education in Colorado
  • in 1965 set up the first learning disabilities classroom in Oregon
  • faculty of Western Oregon University
  • school psychologist
  • special and regular education administrator for the Topeka, Kansas Schools
  • consultant for Morningside Academy in the U. S. and Canada working with schools in academic difficulty
  • chair of Og Lindsley's Archives Committee
  • member and past president of the Standard Celeration Society, member of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, and the National Association of School Psychologists
Abigail boating
Photo Courtesy of
Swarupa Toth


  • Lifetime Achievement Award, 2020, from the Standard Celeration Society for "a scientific career devoted to standard measurement and monitoring of behavioral frequencies and celerations in experimental research and application."
  • Various listings in Who's Who.

Former Editor

  • Journal of Precision Teaching and Celeration, consulting editor
  • The Behavior Analyst, consulting editor
  • Inscape, a literary journal, editor
  • European Journal of Behavior Analysis, consulting editor, vol. 4
  • Behavior Analysis in Practice, 4(3)


My lifelong interest in writing began before I started school: I hid in my closet and wrote fanciful tales about the big house on the hill where I lived with my large, extended family.

  • 80 published poems
  • 49 published articles, monographs, & book chapters in the educational and behavior analytic fields of precision teaching and precision inner behavior
  • education books—Pebbles, Mops, and Thimigs (1974); Eating with a Spoon (1975); Toilet Training: Help for the Delayed Learner (1978)
  • novels—Nikolin, (1994) short-listed for a Benjamin Franklin Award; The Carolyne Letters (2013/1995)
  • nonfiction books—The Night Orion Fell (2012), a commercial fishing disaster and Coast Guard rescue; Change Your Feelings (2009), how to change thoughts, feelings, and urges; The Soul of My Soldier (2015).

Short Biography

Some facts are plain—I grew up in New England and New York City. I have a family and a PhD. I live in Alaska surrounded by two extraordinary wonders—Tongass Rainforest and Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. I have university degrees and have worked fulltime my adult life.

The rest does not delineate itself so clearly. Some days I’m a school psychologist and educator who specializes in behavioral science, inner behavior and precision teaching research. Other days I venture into a more untethered world of trees and oceans, poetry and characters in novels or nonfiction. In the silence of my study, I have conversations with these characters whether a monk from twelfth century Kiev Rus, a fisherman caught in the trawl reel of his boat, or soldiers having unspoken, leftover feelings. What I write usually possesses me and won’t let go. I dream it, walk it, shower with it, and my husband knows when I’m in “that place.” In addition to writing and consulting, I also garden, can, knit, laugh, walk, and enjoy the company of others.


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