ABA in the Real World

by Dr. Annette Little

A mother meets up with her son’s new behavior analyst. Her son has Autism, is non-verbal, and has been refusing to enter a local coffee shop. His mother wants him to be able to enter new places and asks the behaviorist for suggestions. Many ideas run through the mind of the behaviorist. Was this visit to the coffee shop part of his visual schedule? Was he told ahead of time what to expect? Is the environment over stimulating? The behaviorist asks the mother to stay outside the coffee shop with her son while she walks in and explores the environment. Upon opening the door, a strong smell of old wood hits the behaviorist. She immediately walks back to the mother and suggests that flavored lip gloss (she had strawberry flavored lip gloss) be placed across the bottom of the child’s nose. The behaviorist then walks into the coffee shop with the child. The child does not attempt to run out of the coffee shop or hit the floor in a tantrum. The behavior is able to order a coffee and sit down with the child at a table. No behavior problems were exhibited during this field trip to the coffee shop. This seemingly simple solution astounded the mother. She began looking at environmental triggers that may be the cause of many of her child’s behavior problems. The child and his family were now on the road to a less stressful, more socially appropriate life. Want to know more about how to analyze and intervene with problem behaviors? Lipscomb has the answers.

Prevalence rates of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have been rising steadily over the last few decades. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 50 children have been identified with ASD. Parents and teachers are often not prepared to address the challenges presented by children with ASD. One method of teaching functionally relevant skills to children with ASD is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). While ABA is a successful method of intervening with children with ASD, a lack of ABA providers creates challenges for parents and schools. Lipscomb has created an ABA certification program to address this need for ABA services in our community. Lipscomb’s ABA program was created from the new Behavior Analysis Certification Board, Inc.® (BACB) 4th Edition Task List. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.® (BACB) has approved Lipscomb’s course sequence as meeting the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination® and the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst Examination®. Lipscomb provides students the opportunity to obtain foundational knowledge through their Master’s in Education, special education track. For students who already have a Master’s Degree in Education, Psychology, or Applied Behavior Analysis, Lipscomb offers an opportunity to obtain a certification in General Studies in Applied Behavior Analysis or Professional Studies in Applied Behavior Analysis. Classes are taught by practicing BCBA’s in the community so that students receive not only content, but practical examples of how to implement best practices in the field. Each ABA course requires a field experience to further strengthen students’ practical application of the content knowledge. In addition to offering ABA courses, Lipscomb offers courses that provide supervision of internship hours.