SPE 723 Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis: Behavior Management Approaches

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Learn the many facets of autism and the interventions that have proven effective.

The content presented on this page is representative information for example purposes and is subject to change without notice as course and student needs change over time. For current course descriptions, please see the Online Academic Catalog.

Format: Online

Duration: 16 weeks

Credits: 3 credits

For students with autism, a day in the classroom can be a difficult experience. In this course, you learn to recognize the vast behaviors associated with autism, and learn evidence-based practices used with students based on their individual needs. You will discover that autism is a challenging disorder, but one that can benefit from knowledgeable treatments and ongoing support.

This course examines the major therapies and educational interventions that have been developed to address the needs of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), an empirically validated treatment for individuals with autism and related disabilities, is studied in detail.  Other intervention approaches including Pivotal Response Training, Positive Behavioral Supports (PBS), and the TEACCH Program will be examined in relation to ABA. In addition, there is a focus on evidence-based practices as opposed to pseudoscientific methodologies.   

Course topics include how to identify the social characteristics of autism, the importance of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and the benefits of incidental teaching. You will also explore the importance of physical classroom configuration for autistic students.

Sample Course Topics  

Throughout this course, weekly topics may include:

  • Behavior Interventions and Autism
  • Assessment of Behavior Needs and the Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
  • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)
  • Positive Behavior Supports and Discrete Trial Training
  • Incidental Teaching
  • Pivotal Response Training
  • TEACCH (Teaching, Expanding, Appreciating, Collaborating and Cooperating, Holistic) Environmental Planning and Behavior Management
  • Social Challenges and Behavior
  • Behavior and Social Skills
  • Transition and Adulthood

Examples of What You’ll Learn

Upon completing SPE 723, you will be able to:

  • Explain the three core areas of deficits commonly observed in children with an ASD and the primary difference between autism and Asperger’s.
  • Discuss how the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) can be used to support a student.
  • Identify the characteristics of an FBA.
  • Effectively implement Positive Behavior Support.
  • Describe the three components of Discrete Trial Training and its limitation.
  • Define the main characteristics of incidental teaching and how it relates to Applied Behavior Analysis.
  • Explain the core components of Pivotal Response Training (PRT) and how it teaches new behaviors.
  • Discuss why proactive planning is a critical element of the TEACCH program.
  • Implement strategies used to create a safe environment in the classroom.
  • Identify ways to assess social skills and provide appropriate support networks.
  • Appreciate the importance of teaching the “hidden curriculum,” the social skills autistic children may not understand.
  • Describe the challenges of autistic students’ evolution into adulthood.

To learn more about the online Master of Science in Education - Special Education curriculum from Saint Joseph’s University, including Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis: Behavior Management Approaches, call (610) 660-3400 to speak with a Program Manager or request more information.

The content presented on this page is representative information for example purposes and is subject to change without notice as course and student needs change over time. For current course descriptions, please see the Online Academic Catalog.

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