University department to establish applied behavior analysis center

MARQUETTE — Those seeking resources for young children with autism spectrum disorder will have a new place to turn to in the coming year.

Northern Michigan University’s psychology department is working to establish a center for applied behavior analysis (ABA). ABA is used to help children with autism spectrum disorder, developmental disabilities, and other behavioral concerns to improve social, verbal, motor, and reasoning skills.

Organizers of the center say the U.P. has a shortage of the early intensive intervention services they plan to provide.

“I see our clinic providing opportunities not only for our students, but for individuals in the community who need treatment and aren’t able to access it,” said Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Instructor at NMU’s Department of Psychology, Jeremy Biesbrouck.

“There’s about ten behavior analysts including myself in the U.P. that can provide these sort of services. Not all of them work with children. Not all of them work in the area of autism,” added Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Coordinator of the ABA Master’s Program, Dr. Jacob Daar.

The center will also provide clinical experience for university students, allowing each student to work toward becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

“Our students will have the opportunity to get practical experience, to get supervision, to get the appropriate training to become credentialed at the Bachelor’s level,” Biesbrouck said.

Daar said, “We’re hoping to train our students to be able to go out into the work force and join agencies that are providing these sorts of resources out in the community.”

While it currently has a smaller space available in the New Science building, the center will ultimately be located in the Services Building on NMU’s campus. Organizers hope it will be up and running in late January or early February.