Behavior analysis is the science of behavior, with a history extending back to the early 20th century. Its underlying philosophy is behaviorism, which is based upon the premise that attempting to improve the human condition through behavior change (e.g., education, behavioral health treatment) will be most effective if behavior itself is the primary focus, rather than less tangible concepts such as the mind and willpower. To date, basic behavior-analytic scientists have conducted thousands of studies to identify the laws of behavior; that is, the predictable ways in which behavior is learned and how it changes over time. The underlying theme of much of this work has been that behavior is a product of its circumstances, particularly the events that immediately follow the behavior. Applied behavior analysts have been using this information to develop numerous techniques and treatment approaches for analyzing and changing behavior, and ultimately, to improve lives. Because this approach is largely based on behavior and its consequences, the techniques generally involve teaching individuals more effective ways of behaving and making changes to social consequences of existing behavior.
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) has been empirically shown to be effective in a wide variety of areas, including parent training, substance abuse treatment, dementia management, brain injury rehabilitation, occupational safety intervention, among others. However, because ABA was first applied to the treatment of individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism, this practice area has the largest evidence base and has received the most recognition.
Definition retrieved from: https://www.bacb.com/about-behavior-analysis/
Signs help may be needed
The child lacks social engagement with peers and/or has difficulty communicating wants and needs. The child demonstrates stereotyped or repetitive behaviors with daily routines and/or during play. The child may in self-injurious behaviors or aggressive behaviors toward others.
Meet our Behavior Analysts
EJ Ansuini began working at CSTC as a behavior technician in spring of 2015. EJ graduated from Ball State University with his Master’s degree in 2017 and became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in early 2018. Before his employment with CSTC, EJ worked for public and intermediate school districts in ASD categorical classrooms at many age levels for 8 years. EJ enjoys working with individuals of all age and ability levels. Experiencing the growth and expansion of CSTC has been exciting and rewarding for EJ. Primary reinforcers for EJ include travelling, time with his three children and his wife, and sports.
Ben Lowder MA, BCBA graduated from Central Michigan University with a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Development and Learning. Ben started at Comprehensive Speech and Therapy in May 2016 as a Behavioral Technician. He went on to Ball State University and received his masters degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and graduated in December 2018. Ben recently became Board Certified in February of 2019. Ben enjoys vacationing to the west coast for long hikes in the mountain and eating pizza as reinforcement.
Megan Repasy, MA, BCBA, graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Central Michigan University in 2015. After graduation, Megan became a Behavior Technician at CSTC before pursuing her Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis. Megan graduated from Ball State University with her Master’s in 2017 and became Board Certified in 2018. Megan has been at CSTC since 2015 and has loved the experience she has gained with all of her clients so far as she continues to learn and grow within the field. Megan’s favorite reinforcers are cheeseburgers, playing with her dog, spending time with family and friends, and of course, drinking lots of coffee.
Kaylene Lowe MA, QBHP attended Westeren Michigan University for her Bachelors degree in Interdisciplinary Health Services with a minor in Psychology and graduated in April 2016. Kaylene started at Comprehensive Speech and Therapy in May 2016 as a Behavioral Technician. She then went on to pursue her master's degree from Ball State University in Applied Behavior Analysis and graduated in July 2018. Kaylene enjoys long walks on the beach, spending time with family, friends, and is fueled by coffee.
Sarah J. Killinger, M.A., CCC-SLP, QBHP graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Linguistics (the study of language), from the University of Michigan in 2002. In 2008, she received her degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Eastern Michigan University. She is a LAMP certified professional and assisted CSTC in becoming the first LAMP Center of Excellence in Michigan. Currently, she works as an Assistant Director of the Autism Program and assists in the organization of the ABA program. She graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Applied Behavior Analysis in May. She is a current member of the Advisory Assembly for Communication and Networking with the Michigan Speech-Language Hearing Association (MSHA). Sarah’s primary reinforcers are electronic music, music festivals and concerts, listening to Radiohead or Tool, and spending time with her family. If you don’t see her at work, you likely will catch her on a baseball field watching one of her kids play.
Rachel Redmond, M. Ed, BCBA, received her bachelors in Special Education and taught special education for 5 years before receiving her master’s from the University of Washington and becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2015. She has experience working with children and adults with Autism and other intellectual disabilities, in classroom, respite, and job settings along with her clinical experience. Before starting at CSTC in 2016, Rachel spent a year and a half in Zambia, Africa developing treatment plans, training staff, and providing family supports to children with intellectual disabilities. Rachel enjoys exploring new activities around Michigan with her son, relaxing at the lake, and reading.
What ABA looks like
The duration of treatment varies based on the client’s needs. Treatment duration could be anywhere from 5-20 hours weekly. ABA often looks like play while specifically targeting functions of behavior to increase socially acceptable behaviors. Treatment methods may include discrete-trial training, naturalistic environmental teaching, functional communication training, antecedent-based interventions and more. ABA is centered around the principles of reinforcement (increases behaviors), extinction and punishment (decreases behaviors). The client’s plan is individualized to meet their needs, and sessions are centered around the plan of care. You will typically see our clients engaging in activities of daily living, academic skills, increasing their communication skills or increasing social skills; all while earning their biggest reinforcement.