Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the study and practice of using the principles of learning theory to change behavior of social significance. It’s become more and more popular in recent years and today thirty-two states in the U.S. have laws that require health insurers to accept ABA treatment.
One of the ABA therapy field’s highest honors that a student can earn is the Skinner Foundation/Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy Student Research Proposal Award. This year that honor went to Casey Dipsey, a graduate student at Caldwell University, according to a release from the university’s website Caldwell.edu.
“I think this project is important not only because we are teaching children important skills, but it also demonstrates the science of applied behavior analysis has applicability not just in the treatment of individuals with autism spectrum disorder but also in addressing other areas of social significance,” Dipsey said.
Dipsey was presented the honor at the annual Berkshire Association conference for her research on “Using Behavioral Skills Training and Equivalence-Based Instruction to Teach Children Safe Responding to Dangerous Stimuli.” Her mentor was Dr. Jason Vladescu, Ph.D., BCBA-D, NCSP, assistant professor in the Caldwell University Department of Applied Behavior Analysis.
Dipsey’s research focused on ways to demonstrate and teach the concepts of dangerous and non dangerous elements to ordinary preschoolers. Over 9,000 children die every year and 9.2 million receive medical treatment as a result of an unintentional injury, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Therapists have been applying behavior analysis treatment methods to help children with autism and related developmental disorders since the 1960s. Dipsey appears ready to take her knowledge and experience into the field in the hopes of advancing the field, which is good news considering autism now affects about one out of every 68 kids.