Applied Behavior Analysis PSYC 6717 Discussion Essay

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) uses objective scientific standards to analyze certain behaviors, particularly those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This is known as functional analysis (Schlinger 2017). Through the continued use of behavioral therapy, a deeper understanding of ASD and behavior modification is added to the well of knowledge using empirical evidence (Schlinger 2017).

The purpose of this is to better serve the community of those with ASD by accurately determining the most effective methods of behavioral therapy, rather than focusing on theories of cognition or why people behave the way they do (Schlinger 2017). Simply put, ABA focuses on practicality and correct behavior modification.

I first learned of ABA when I researched the cornerstone of where psychology meets education. I was interested in becoming a school psychologist and wanted to learn more about the field, and how it differed from school guidance counseling, social work, and counseling. Once I discovered its positive effects on those with ASD and how that relates to school psychology, I knew in my heart that I had found the right program for me.

I lack technical experience, although I do have a brother with ASD and am thus quite familiar with navigating the waters of coping with the condition. For awhile, I had wanted to become a special education teacher, with the hopes of working with kids who have ASD, because I felt that with my compassion and desire to help the, get the most out of their education, that I could be a positive force in their lives. This led me to some volunteer work in schools and my local community, and although I ultimately did not pursue a master’s in special education, I did learn a lot and value that experience. It provided a foundation for which I feel well equipped to handle the rigors of ABA.

Once I become a BCBA, I intend to complete a post-graduate degree in either school psychology or educational psychology. My goal is to work in public education as a BCBA while working on a doctorate. Those jobs can be difficult to find, but being able to do that would help fulfill my goal of committing to positive social change for impoverished and disadvantaged communities. I would like to work in an area of the US that does not have the best resources for children with ASD, because they need the most help and can benefit greatly from a BCBA who cares deeply for their future and wellbeing.


Schlinger, H. D., Jr. (2017). The importance of analysis in applied behavior analysis. Behavior Analysis: Research and Practice17(4), 334–346.


Discussion: Applied Behavior Analysis

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You have made a significant decision to further your formal education in the field of applied behavior analysis. You likely have an interest in behaviors and their relationship with the environment and a desire to learn and apply behavioral techniques that will help individuals achieve beneficial behavioral change. While applied behavior analysts work with individuals of different ages, the skills of an applied behavior analyst are especially needed with children with autism.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020) reports that autism spectrum disorders (ASD) affect 1 in 54 children, representing a tripling of the prevalence rate since 2000. The respected and specialized behavior analysis assessment and intervention strategies you employ in your role as an applied behavior analyst can help autistic children and others with developmental issues to learn new skills and meet behavioral challenges.

For this Discussion, you will analyze your decision to embark on a course of study that will lead to your becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Prevalence of autism spectrum disorder among children aged 8 years — autism and developmental disabilities monitoring network, 11 sites, United States, 2016. Surveillance Summaries69(4), 1–12.

To Prepare

  • Reflect on what motivated you to pursue a course of study that will lead to your becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).
  • Consider what professional goals you will have once you earn your BCBA.

By Day 4 of Week 4

Post a reflection addressing the following:

  • What led you to decide to study behavior analysis?
  • What experience do you have in behavior analysis?
  • What work do you hope to do once you earn your BCBA and how might this impact your desire for positive social change?

I have decided to study behavior analysis because it has always been an interest of mine to study human behavior. I think human behavior is fascinating, and I have always wanted to be grounded on the research background and theoretical foundations of human behavior analysis. I could say, as of now, that I have limited experience in the practice of behavior analysis apart from what I am currently learning in class, sometimes in my profession, and some readings. I have only delved into the study of psychology many years ago because of my sheer interest.

BCBA is one profession that is in demand in today’s society. The number of children and elderly suffering from different mental health cases is only increasing in many states. People’s current lifestyles, experiences, and addictions have led to a call for many counseling professionals who could help treat and manage disorders. After earning my BCBA degree, I would hope to be better equipped to measure and evaluate the observable behavior and mental conditions of my medical clients in the future. I would also expect that I could already be able to conduct behavioral assessments and collaborate with other psychologists and other behavior analysts for a wide range of clients’ needs.


Read your colleagues’ postings.

Note: For this discussion, you are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleagues’ postings. Begin by clicking on the To Participate in this Discussion link, then select Create Thread to complete your initial post. Remember, once you click on Submit, you cannot delete or edit your own posts, and cannot post anonymously. Please check your post carefully before clicking on Submit!

By Day 6 of Week 4

Respond to at least two colleagues’ posts by providing your perspectives on their professional goals once they earn their BCBA.

Be sure to support your posts and responses with specific references to behavior-analytic theory and research. In addition to the Learning Resources, search the Walden Library and/or the internet for peer-reviewed articles to support your posts and responses. Use proper APA format and citations, including those in the Learning Resources.

Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting. Note what you have learned and/or any insights that you have gained because of your colleagues’ comments.

 I decided to study behavior analysis after getting a job as an RBT. I initially planned on doing pediatric occupational therapy and studied exercise science kinesiology in my under grad with a minor in childhood development. I joined the pre occupational therapy club at my undergrad college and learned during a meeting that RBT experience was good for getting accepted into an occupational therapy school program. I started working as an RBT in 2018. I love children and immediately found I had the temperament and admiration for my clients that was required to excel in the job. I fell in love working with my clients and the bonds I formed with them. The longer I worked as an RBT the more I learned about ABA. Human behavior fascinates me, I decided I wanted to make a career of helping other children meet goals of their own. Once I get my BCBA I plan to work with kids on the autism spectrum, potentially at the clinic I am currently an RBT at and in my supervised fieldwork program. I would love to use my knowledge of behavior analysis to make the world a more inclusive place for people on the spectrum.

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