Students learn the science of human nature with Applied Behavior Analysis

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a scientific approach to helping people change their behaviors. Berry College Assistant Professor Thom Ratkos describes it as “the study of how the environment, especially consequences, determine behavior. The program teaches students the science and how it can be used to save the world!” It focuses on the practical applications of psychology in settings such as clinics, schools and offices. ABA is also one of the primary treatment options for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Treating autism is one way Berry’s ABA program extends beyond the classroom. The program has partnerships with the Marcus Autism Center, Appleseeds Behavior Center and Pledger Behavior Consulting. Students can also work with a behavior analyst in area schools. Chelsea Mazies (19c) has interned at both Marcus Autism Center and Appleseeds in Rome, Ga.. “I had the incredible opportunity to work one-on-one with clients, provide positive reinforcement and work on building skills,” Chelsea says.

There are now 53 students enrolled in the Berry ABA program, and the course sequence provides each of them with the opportunities to become skilled in behavior analysis. The classes in the program meet the coursework requirements for students to become Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts.

Dr. Ratkos encourages more students to explore the program saying, “the coolest thing about our program is that learning about the science of behavior can help ANY Berry student become more successful in ANY field they are going into. Knowing what makes people do the things they do helps you manage, interact and understand them. Who doesn’t need that?”

Story by student social media assistant Shannon Rainey

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