An applied behavior specialist works with individuals who have some difficulty processing proper behavioral responses to external stimuli. Such patients may present with diagnoses such as autism, Asperger's syndrome, or other mental or psychological conditions. The applied behavior specialist analyzes abnormal behavioral patterns and responses and then works to help the patient and their families to devise treatment strategies based on understanding triggers, responses and patterns.
Many of the individuals seen by an applied behavior specialist are young people and children from families who have already received a behavioral disorder diagnosis. The specialist typically uses a process called applied behavior analysis (ABA) to study the response impulses the patient has to a variety of stimuli and triggering events. Through analysis of these behavioral impulses, the specialist helps devise strategies to help the patient recognize cues in stimuli they receive and adjust behaviors as a result. This process often requires working with family, teachers and others who are in frequent contact with the affected person.
Most applied behavior specialists have at least a bachelor's degree in psychology or another relevant discipline; graduate study is common as well. Applied behavior specialists typically work in a private practice that sees referrals or in institutions, schools and clinics.
Applied Behavior Specialist Tasks
Perform behavioral analysis assessments and evaluations of patients.
Record objectives of planned intervention and maintain patients progress and behaviors.
Treat patients based on defined interventions, consult with physicians regarding patient status and progress.
Maintain updated knowledge on instruction of ABA, behavior management, and techniques applicable to the patient population.