ABA Overview

Course SequencesThe ABA Track at Binghamton University is the first undergraduate program in the nation to receive course sequence approval by the international Behavior Analyst Certification Board.
Please refer to the table on the next page that demonstrates how courses taught in the ABA Track align with requirements for the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) credential.
The Undergraduate Track in Applied Behavior Analysis is designed for students in the psychology major track who have a strong interest in children's services, for graduate school and/or careers in: human services; specifically clinical psychology; education and speech; research; and public policy, with particular emphasis in autism spectrum disorders and learning disabilities.
The ABA Track has three practicum concentration areas. Dr. Rachel N. S. Cavalari, BCBA-D is the ICD Practicum Liaison.

What is Applied Behavior Analysis? Applied Behavior Analysis is a specific conceptual and methodological approach for educational and treatment intervention that historically derives primarily from research in psychology on basic learning processes. Applied Behavior Analysis refers to the precise analysis of behavior and learning patterns and the conditions that serve to elicit and maintain these behaviors and patterns. Unfortunately, these principles and the substantial body of knowledge that they are based upon is often mistranslated and simplified such that reference is only made to simple techniques such as motivational reward and other such isolated procedures. This does not at all capture the sophistication, complexity, effectiveness, nor principles of applied behavior analysis.

Applied Behavior Analysis must also be discussed within the context of the particular characteristics of the individual receiving services, as well as family, social and political contexts. The choice of setting, structure and goals is highly dependent upon the diagnostic issues surrounding the individual, whether that be autism, developmental delay, learning disability etc. Strong emphasis is placed upon knowledge of basic and applied research, professional ethics, and practical skills. The philosophy of the Psychology Major Track in Applied Behavior Analysis is that the teaching of Applied Behavior Analysis must be done in a systematic and comprehensive manner that directly addresses appropriate application, taking into consideration issues that are inherent in the delivery of educational and clinical services.

Students involved in the program can participate in the following roles:
Trainee - Undergraduates in PSYC 355 who assist staff with a child or group of children under continual supervision wherein feedback is provided on performance. Feedback is provided in both written and verbal format. Emphasis is on initial skill acquisition of ABA principles and techniques.
Advanced Trainee - Undergraduates chosen from the most exemplary undergraduates in the psychology track in ABA with responsibilities that include assistance to staff members and direct instruction to the children under supervision of staff. Emphasis is on further development of skills under a wider range of contexts.
Peer Mentor - Undergraduates, who are also advanced trainees at ICD, expected to provide peer mentoring, feedback, and ongoing support to both trainees and other advanced trainees.
Research Assistant - Undergraduates expected to assist with various ongoing research projects, including but not limited to research protocol implementation, behavioral observation, and data collection, entry, and analysis.

Being an undergraduate at the ICD provides a hands- on experience unlike other programs that truly promotes Binghamton University’s motto, “From breadth through depth to perspective.” While undergraduates are assessing and teaching children vital skills, they also are students and learn important skills through this unique opportunity.
In every concentration and role, students positively benefit in a number of ways:

  • Experience for graduate school or employment after graduation.
  • Opportunities to tailor an experience that is most beneficial to an undergraduate’s personal goals.
  • Hands-on experience with children.
  • Ongoing and varied opportunities for students interested primarily in research.
  • Completion of an approved course sequence for behavior analysis certification at the assistant level.