University of Rochester Offers New Program in Applied Behavior Analysis

The number of children with autism continues to rise with the latest data estimating that one in 88 children has an Autism Spectrum Disorder—a 78 percent increase compared to a decade ago. In order to address the learning and behavior of those affected by autism, the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education, in collaboration with the Division of Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, offers a new program and specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).
With autism rates at an all-time high, behavioral challenges in schools, home, and treatment settings abound. Additionally, the complex learning needs of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and those in rehabilitation settings continue to confront practitioners, and the increasingly rigorous demands of K-12 education require evidence-based practice to produce the best possible outcomes for all students. Applied Behavior Analysis, a scientific, evidence-based intervention that uses modern behavioral learning theory to teach social, motor, reasoning and verbal behaviors as well as the most widely accepted tools used in the analysis and intervention of challenging behavior, offers solutions to these challenges. 
Kathryn Douthit“The increase in prevalence of autism and related disabilities has fueled the need for improved educational and treatment services,” says Kathryn Douthit, PhD, associate professor and chair of counseling and human development at the Warner School. “At a time when employment opportunities for individuals with ABA training are rising to meet these emerging needs, the New York State Department of Health, in its 1999 Clinical Practice Guidelines, has embraced ABA as the treatment of choice for professionals working with children with autism in schools and clinical and home-based settings. We are very fortunate to be one of a handful of universities across state to offer this high-quality training in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis.”
The six-course sequence is the second program nationwide to be approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB®) for meeting the new standards of education and experience needed to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination. These more rigorous requirements will take effect in 2015. The ABA program and specialization is also the only approved BACB program in central and western New York. The program prepares professionals in behavior analysis, increasing access to evidence-based approaches to intervention, which has been shown by research to be effective in working with children with autism and related disabilities.
The 18-credit program includes the principles of learning and behavior analysis, instructional methods and applications, assessment and treatment of challenging behavior, ABA research methods, ethics and professional conduct, and staff training and performance management. Students may complete the course sequence either as a concentration in the master’s in human development program, with a specialization in developmental differences, or as a “stand alone” ABA program. Graduates will be equipped to work in a variety of community, public and private, human service, and educational settings where evidence-based best practices are implemented.

Some benefits of the ABA approach include: building the skills of students in school settings; conducting functional behavioral assessments and analyses that guide the creation of behavior intervention programs; enhancing the functioning of children and adults with various diagnoses; and augmenting the performance and satisfaction of employees in organizations and businesses. ABA intervention provided by a qualified behavior analyst has been recognized as an effective, evidence-based intervention for autism by the U.S. Surgeon General, New York State Department of Health, U.S. Department of Defense, American Academy of Pediatrics, Association for Science in Autism Treatment, and Autism Speaks, all of which support and recommend the use of ABA. 

Dennis MozingoDennis Mozingo, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, who directs the ABA program and specialization, says that having an applied behavior analysis training program in western New York will help fill the gap between community need and availability of thoroughly trained professionals who have validation of professional certification from an accredited certifying body. 
“The program faculty, who all provide consulting services to a variety of community settings, including schools and treatment agencies, will bring years of experience in behavior analysis, serving children and adults with a variety of needs,” Mozingo explains. “With the passage of autism insurance reform in New York State that expands health care coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders, thousands of families across the state will now have access to more options and quality care, with less financial burden that comes with the diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder of a loved one. Board Certified Behavior Analysts are defined explicitly in the new law, and we are thrilled to be part of the preparation of professionals to serve individuals with autism and their families.”
For more information on the Applied Behavior Analysis program and specialization, the certification processes, or examination requirements, please contact Warner School Admissions at (585) 275-3950 or Dennis Mozingo at (585) 275-6611.
About the Warner School of Education
Founded in 1958, the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education offers master’s and doctoral degree programs in teaching and curriculum, school leadership, higher education, educational policy, counseling, human development, and health professions education. The Warner School of Education offers a new accelerated option for its EdD programs that allows eligible students to earn a doctorate in education in as few as three years part time while holding a professional job in the same field. The Warner School of Education is recognized both regionally and nationally for its tradition of preparing practitioners and researchers to become leaders and agents of change in schools, universities, and community agencies; generating and disseminating research; and actively participating in education reform.
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Media Contact: Theresa Danylak
(585) 275-0777; (585) 278-6273 (cell)

Tags: Admissions, Applied Behavior Analysis, autism, Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Counseling and Human Development, disabilities, human development, Kathryn Douthit