Behavior analysis is a data-driven discipline that utilizes direct observation, measurement, and functional analysis of the relationship between an individualís behavior and his or her environment. There are few, if any, meaningful behaviors to which the principles of behavior analysis have not been applied. ABA has been identified as the preferred treatment for autism and other developmental disabilities due to the importance of early behavioral interventions.
ABA is the application of fundamental principles derived from the science of behavior to behavior deemed either clinically or socially significant, as defined by Baer, Wolf, and Risley in a seminal 1968 article. The basic science on which ABA is founded, known as the experimental analysis of behavior, boasts a 60-year history of research. As a result of this systematic research, the basic principles of reinforcement, extinction, and stimulus control constitute some of the applied behavior analystís professional tools. Behavior analysis operates from the assumption that behavior is determined by both antecedent and consequent environmental events, many of which can be systematically altered in order to bring about improvement in many kinds of behavior.
Applied behavior analysts often go into the environment in which the behavior occurs, such as homes, schools, and institutional/community agencies rather than solely seeing clients in an office. Behavior analysts may work exclusively with an individual while also training parents, caretakers, educators, and staff to implement specific behavioral protocols across settings. The work of behavior analysts ordinarily involve conducting both direct and indirect behavioral assessments, and collaborating with relevant community members (parents, teachers, etc.) on the development of an individualized treatment or education plan, implementation of the treatment/education plan, collection of relevant behavioral data, data-driven modification of the intervention, and with efforts to establish generalization and maintenance of treatment gains prior to fading formal intervention strategies.
Students wishing to declare a major in Applied Behavior Analysis must meet appropriate Spalding University undergraduate admissions criteria.
Bachelor of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (120 total credit hours)
University Studies - 55 credit hours
Major Courses - 30 credit hours
Required Support Courses - 12 credit hours
Electives - 23 credit hours
Individuals who have received specialized undergraduate training in behavior analysis may qualify to become Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBAs) and Licensed Assistant Behavior Analysts in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Additional information regarding BCaBA certification is located at the BACBģ web site at www.bacb.com.
Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis
Mission and Focus
A growing field in human services across the professional spectrum and lifespan, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) seeks to systematically analyze and treat behavior challenges. The primary focus of the program is on therapeutic and/or education treatment value for clientele, and therapeutic and effective education and intervention practice in settings ranging across public and private schools, nontraditional educational settings, residential and transitional living facilities, mental health agencies, medical and behavioral rehabilitation programs and clinics, professional counseling and social services, athletic settings, and corporate environments.
Behavior analysis is a scientifically-based approach to the study and modification of behavior. Specifically, answers are sought by looking at the interface among biological and environmental factors, with particular emphasis upon how environmental and organismic stimuli influence behavior change.
Consistent with the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), and the parent Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) professional organization, the mission of the program includes preparing and educating graduates toward:
Additionally, and commensurate with the general culture and ethos of graduate program ideals, the professional program in Applied Behavior Analysis operates under the scientific tenets of:
Trained behavior analysts most often work as members of a professional team with clientele to implement detailed assessments, to develop intervention plans, and to evaluate treatments. A successful behavior analyst is trained to develop a sophisticated set of observational skills, exhibit compassion and ethical conduct in professional practice, and obtain the written and oral communication skills necessary for effective client interface.
Philosophy of Education
The Spalding graduate program in Applied Behavior Analysis is based on a competency-based, mastery learning inquiry model heavily imbedded in promoting a relationship among scientifically driven conceptual principles and applied professional practice. The program is fully approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), with written verification on file, and is currently the only program of its kind in the state of Kentucky. This approach begins with a comprehensive set of coursework experiences dedicated to ensuring theoretical and conceptual mastery of the experimental and applied analysis of behavior, including areas of origins and philosophy, learning principles, ethics, developmental disabilities, and the thoroughgoing principles and practice of methodological intervention.
Inherent to program education philosophy is the idea of moving beyond "talking about" professional practice to "learning how" to implement effective professional practice. To this end, students are required to matriculate through 750 hours of practical experience under the close conjoint supervision of faculty, practicum director, and professional service provision providers; operating under the conceptualization of a deliberate-practice residency-based approach to "learning how," and under adoption of a cooperative, congenial, collaborative professional model with a range of local and regional agencies devoted to ongoing behavior services delivery for a range of client ages, characteristics, and needs. Practical experiences are integrally tied to ongoing coursework, and are tightly sequenced and orchestrated across professional activities of observation, assistance, and independent service provision. The program operates in accordance with the following education mission:
The ongoing mission of the graduate program in Applied Behavior Analysis is to ensure the ongoing professional development of matriculating students throughout the professional lifespan of their careers. To this end, the program is committed as a professional resource to stimulating, facilitating, and promoting ongoing activities of:
Commitment to Diversity
Spalding University is an equal-opportunity educational institution. The University does not discriminate against otherwise qualified individuals on the basis of race, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or disability. The MS in Applied Behavior Analysis program welcomes all qualified applicants.
The MS in Applied Behavior Analysis Program at Spalding University encourages and acknowledges the receipt of applications from ethnic minority students and other diverse populations. Members of minority groups are traditionally underrepresented as professional behavior service providers, and Spalding is committed to providing for the professional training of minority group individuals. The MS in Applied Behavior Analysis Program at Spalding University fully supports the diversity ideals of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and the Association for Behavior Analysis International organization.
Required Grade Standing
All program students are required to adhere to the general Spalding University requirements in the area of grade standing. Additionally, any student who receives a "C" in any core program course as listed in the following section, will be required to meet with program faculty to determine an appropriate remediation plan, and the evaluation criteria to be used to ensure adherence to this plan to facilitate remediation. This procedure is designed to more effectively ensure student success via program mission of mastery learning. Students who earn five credits or more in a graduate program of study at the grade and graduate level of C will be automatically dismissed from their program and the University, as will students who earn one grade of F in any one course. Once occurring, program faculty in concert with the University Graduate Curriculum Committee will implement student review to determine student eligibility for further program matriculation.
General Course Schedule The following schematic provides a general overview and sample of program course scheduling, though this is subject to change as the program develops and evolves. Courses are offered in late afternoon/evening sessions once per week with day times and some days devoted to the time required for ongoing intensive practicum work:
|ABA 601 Origins and Philosophy of Behavior Analysis||Fall|
|ABA 606 Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis||Fall|
|ABA 604 Practicum I||Fall|
|ABA 602 Behavior Analysis and Learning||Spring|
|ABA 603 Experimental Evaluation of Behavioral Interventions||Spring|
|ABA 609 Developmental Disabilities||Spring|
|ABA 608 Practicum II||Spring|
|ABA 605 Ethical Practice and Assessment in Behavior Analysis||Summer|
|ABA 610 Verbal Behavior Interventions||Summer|
|ABA 611 Practicum III (To include Board Certification Testing Prep)||Summer|
Ethical and Professional Standards
The program adheres to the requirement that all students matriculating through program follow the general Spalding University policies and guidelines regarding academic and professional integrity, which may be found in the University Catalogue. Additionally, students are required to learn and apply the principles of professional ethics as adopted by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), and to apply these on both the knowledge and skill level. Ethical practice in relation to assessment in behavior analysis service provision is a central mission of the profession, and of the Spalding program in Applied Behavior Analysis. If students in the program exhibit behaviors considered inappropriate, dishonest, unprofessional, or in violation of stipulated ethical practice, they may be dismissed from the program. Students found to be in such violation will be dismissed from the program and the University as specified in the University policy for addressing violations of professional integrity, as described in the University Catalogue.
Admission Requirements and Process
The following information must be sent by the applicant to the Spalding University College of Social Sciences and Humanities, c/o: MS in Applied Behavior Analysis Program:
It should also be noted that students may also begin matriculation to Spalding University on a non-admitted basis for six (6) credit hours of study. In the event that your application packet is incomplete and does not allow review for potential admission to program, and/or some portions of the application materials provide cause for concern, program faculty may recommend the taking of two specified courses within program with a minimum stipulated Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.5 to determine a future program admissions decision.
Official transcripts of all colleges and universities previously attended should be sent directly from the college or university to the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, c/o: MS in Applied Behavior Analysis Program at Spalding University. All applicants must have a minimum of a bachelorís degree from an accredited institution.
Official transcripts are those sent directly to Spalding University from the issuing institution. Any transcript marked "issued to student" or any transcript that is hand delivered by the student applicant is not considered an official transcript.
GRE or MAT
All applicants are required to take either the General Aptitude Section of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Millers Analogy Test (MAT), and must instruct the Educational Testing Service to forward those scores to the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, c/o: MS in Applied Behavior Program at Spalding University. Spalding Universityís Institution Code is: R1552
All applicants for whom English is a second language (ESL), are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Test for Spoken English (TSE). The scores must be sent directly to the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, c/o: MS in Applied Behavior Analysis Program at Spalding University.
In some applicant cases, an in-person interview with program faculty is required prior to making an admission decision. In this case, program faculty will make contact to schedule an interview time. Information regarding the interview process will be provided at the time of invitation.
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