MS in Applied Behavior Analysis

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Course Descriptions

Core courses (18 credit hours)

ABA 262 Principles of Behavior Analysis - 3 credit hours
This course will orient students to the concepts, processes, and scientific principles of behavior on which the field of applied behavior analysis was founded. Topics of study will include the history and defining features of applied behavior analysis as well as the role of basic principles in producing socially meaningful behavior change (positive and negative reinforcement, punishment, discriminative control of behavior, and motivating operations).

ABA 263 Research Methods in Behavior Analysis - 3 credit hours
An examination of the factors to be considered in observing and measuring behavior and environment; methods of recording data with emphasis on the conditions under which each method is most appropriate. An overview of strategies and tactics of experimental design in behavior analysis. Includes strengths and weaknesses of single organism methodology in basic and applied research. Topics include issues of experimental logic, experimental control, variability, data analysis and display, and interpretation of experimental findings.

ABA 264 Behavioral Assessment - 3 credit hours
This course will provide an introduction to key concepts, methods, and ethical considerations associated with behavioral assessment. Course objectives will include teaching students to distinguish between idiographic and norm-referenced assessment approaches, to conduct pertinent behavioral assessments (preference assessments, functional assessments, and skills assessments), and to incorporate assessment outcomes with treatment selection and design in accordance with contemporary best practices in the field of applied behavior analysis.

ABA 265 Behavioral Interventions - 3 credit hours
This course will prepare students to identify, implement, and maintain effective behavioral interventions in applied settings. Specific objectives will include teaching students to select and implement function-based interventions for the reduction of problem behaviors, skills-based prevention strategies, and a variety of behavioral teaching tactics. Tactics for promoting procedural integrity and facilitating the generalization and maintenance of treatment effects will also be reviewed.

ABA 251 Theoretical Foundations - 3 credit hours
This course will provide students with a comprehensive review of the theoretical foundations of radical behaviorism and the history of behaviorism in psychology. The primary focus will be to outline the fundamental underpinnings of a science of the individual.  Students will be exposed to Skinner’s theoretical writings, which will be compared and contrasted with contemporary conceptualizations of complex human behavior.

ABA 246 Ethics and Professional Issues - 3 credit hours
This course will orient students to the ethical and professional guidelines for Board Certified Behavior Analysts®. The course will review ethical guidelines for assessment, treatment, and research. Students will learn to describe and apply professional and ethical guidelines specifying the Behavior Analysts’ responsibility to their clients, colleagues, and field and to society.

Elective Courses in Autism and Developmental disabilities (12 credit hours)

ABA 267 Evidence-based Teaching - 3 credit hours
This course will provide students with a comprehensive review of empirically-supported behavioral teaching procedures for individuals with autism and related disabilities. Topics will focus on teaching skills in a variety of content areas such as language, social, and self-help. Procedures for teaching these include, match-to-sample discrimination training, task analysis, as well as prompting procedures including prompt fading and video modeling.

ABA 248 Psychology of Developmental Disabilities - 3 credit hours
This course will provide students with a foundation in etiological, diagnostic, ethical, and treatment-related considerations affecting services for individuals with autism and other disabilities. Topics of study will include current data on causal variables, issues in early identification, and a survey of evidence-based models of treatment, outcome evaluation, and effective systems support for individuals with pervasive developmental disabilities.

ABA 268 Verbal Behavior - 3 credit hours
This course will expose students to the basis for a functional analysis of human language with an emphasis on application. Topics will include the elementary verbal operants, the ways in which verbal behavior is established, the relevance of the behavior of the listener, and the organization of verbal behavior. Focus will be placed on the use of an analysis of verbal behavior in addressing socially significant problems.

ABA 290 Special Topics in Applied Behavior Analysis - 3 credit hours
This seminar will conduct an in-depth review of a current topic in Applied Behavior Analysis. Topics may include but are not limited to: social development, performance management, stimulus control, behavioral therapy.

SPED220 Introduction to Special Education - 3 credit hours
This course orients the learner to the etiology, learning and behavioral characteristics of exceptional children and adults. The history, philosophy, and legal foundations underlying instructional programs and services to accommodate exceptional persons in the schools and community are examined. Techniques appropriate for regular classroom instruction of exceptional children and youth, including individualized instruction, behavior management, and consultative and diagnostic services are described and illustrated.

SPED222 Characteristics of Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities - 3 credit hours
This course is an introduction to the strengths and needs of students with mild and moderate disabilities in relation to the levels of instructional support required. The focus will be on the developmental, cognitive, language, perceptual, social, academic, and behavioral characteristics of students with mild and moderate disabilities. Etiology, classification, and legal concerns will be discussed as they relate to the learning process.

SPED 225 Introduction to Behavioral Disorders and Learning Disabilities - 3 credit hours
This course focuses on the characteristics of those students who may be described as students with emotional or behavioral disorders and/or learning disabilities. A variety of perspectives will be examined including the students themselves, their families, educators and other individuals providing meaningful interventions. The course also addresses the role that communities play in meeting the needs of these students and their families. Current federal legislation and initiatives impacting these populations will also be addressed.

SPED272 Schools, Families, Communities and Disabilities - 3 credit hours
This course focuses on ways to assist educators to work effectively and respectfully with families in educational and community settings. The course will include a discussion of family structures, composition, styles, and strategies for improving communication with all families, school personnel, and with community service providers. The course will explore loss, grief, and grieving as it relates to parents of children with disabilities. The course will examine the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 as they relate to parent participation. The course will present components of the community based system of care model and other resources.

SPED276 Coordination of Cooperative Occupational Programs - 3 credit hours
This course prepares students to implement cooperative education as a method of instruction in vocational education and special education. Primary areas of study include how to implement training agreements and plans, develop liaison relationships with the community, evaluate work sites, provide relevant instructions, involve parents and guardians, counsel students for job application, and develop a personal plan to transition into work, training, and community living. Federal and state employment laws and other resources to assist in the coordination process will be identified and utilized.

Practicum (15 credit hours)

ABA 292 Supervised Practicum in ABA - 3 credit hours
This practicum will involve at least 14 hours per week (total of 210 hours per semester) of work in a supervised clinical practice, educational, or research setting in which procedures based on behavior-analytic principles are implemented.      


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