Applied Behavior Analysis in the Treatment of ADD and ADHD

ABA in the Treatment of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders

Applied behavior analysis is a multi-faceted specialization with many possible applications. Psychologists, educators, counselors and healthcare professionals will find this discipline particularly useful when the need arises to work with special needs individuals. Practitioners use this type of therapy to help people who display a variety of socially disruptive behaviors. It can be an appropriate treatment for children who have attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders as well as autism and other conditions. Successful treatment allows ADHD patients to interact with others more easily at home, school or in a variety of other settings.

Related resource: Top 15 Best Online Applied Behavior Analysis Online Programs

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Behavioral Solutions for Disruptive ADHD Behaviors

Applied behavioral analysts effectively apply the psychological principles of positive reinforcement. They work to eliminate disruptive behaviors in their patients by encouraging and reinforcing desirable behaviors and minimizing or ignoring the behaviors they’d rather see less of.

The practice of applied behavioral analysis involves thorough training and an in-depth exploration of techniques for giving effective instructions, successfully applying reinforcements, identifying types of behaviors to target and recognizing the antecedents to undesirable behaviors.

How to Launch an Applied Behavior Analyst’s Career Helping ADHD Patients

If you’d like to get started with a career in applied behavior analysis, the first step is to earn your master’s degree in an appropriate field from an accredited academic institution. The most relevant field is behavior analysis, but other acceptable degrees include psychology and education. A counseling degree might or might not be acceptable depending on the circumstances. Staff at the certifying board only considers counseling degrees relevant when the conferring institution has offered the counseling degree program through a department of psychology; the associated curriculum must clearly emphasize the psychology discipline.

Additionally, the degree program’s curriculum must cover behavior analysis principles in detail. Alternatively, there is an option for certification candidates to have held a full-time research oriented faculty position in the field of behavior analysis.

If you’re interested in completing an online Master’s degree program in behavior analysis, you have multiple options to consider:

  • St. Cloud State University offers an accredited Applied Behavior Analysis (M.S.) This degree program is accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysts International and verified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB). The Department of Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy offers this degree program in both online and traditional, face-to-face classroom formats.
  • Simmons University offers an Online Master of Science in Behavior Analysis. The curriculum for this degree program has been approved by the BACB. Successful completion of the program prepares you to pass the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®) exam and begin your career as an applied behavior analyst.
  • Drexel University’s School of Education offers a Master’s of Science Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). This degree is intended for educators who wish to use a data-driven approach for guiding change in their students’ behavior. Both online and on-campus delivery options are available.
  • Capella University offers a MS in Applied Behavior Analysis with three available specializations: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Behavior Analysis in Education, and Organizational Behavior Management. This degree program teaches you how to identify behavioral problems and then suggest appropriate therapies to help your future patients improve. If you’re seeking BCBA certification, this degree program may help you prepare for earning that credential.
  • Arizona State University offers an Online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (Applied Behavior Analysis). This program prepares educators and aspiring educators to obtain BCBA certification. The curriculum focuses on helping educators learn how to professionally apply the principles of applied behavior analysis when working with individuals who have special needs.
  • The school of social and behavioral sciences at Kaplan University offers an Online Master of Science Degree in Psychology – Applied Behavior Analysis. This degree program focuses on helping students solve complex social and behavioral problems. Staff at the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® has verified the curriculum in this program.

These are not your only options for relevant ABA degree programs. In addition to these online courses of study, there are also traditional, face-to-face Master’s degree programs available that prepare students for careers as applied behavioral analysts.

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While requirements for state licensure and legal practice of applied behavior analysis vary depending on where you live, a master’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for this occupation in all states in the USA.

The next step is to complete supervised fieldwork to gain the necessary work experience for obtaining your certification and possibly your state licensure if your state requires it.

After that, you’ll be eligible to take the BCBA exam, which you must pass as a requirement for earning your BCBA certification. Your state may require licensure for you to be eligible to practice applied behavior analysis in a clinical or classroom setting.

Where to Find More Information About How to Use Applied Behavior Analysis for Treating ADHD Patients

A Flow Chart of Behavior Management Strategies for Families of Children With Co-Occurring Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Conduct Problem Behavior — This resource will help parents gain a better understanding of behavior management skills that will help their ADHD children improve.

Attention Deficits, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Intellectual Disabilities — The US National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health presents this peer-reviewed scholarly paper on the topic of using behavioral phenotyping approaches for ADHD and intellectual disabilities.

The Causes of ADHD — New medical research suggests several causes of ADHD that applied behavior analysts and aspiring practitioners need to be aware of. Thanks to these new discoveries, some practitioners are now having success with taking a holistic, multi-faceted approach to treating their patients’ ADHD using positive behavior therapies in combination with nutritional therapies. See Also:

We hope this information is helpful to you in understanding the role that applied behavior analysts can play in helping their patients manage and treat their attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders. You’re now empowered with a clearer understanding of how to launch a career as an applied behavior analyst and where to get more information about this important specialization.

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