In her first year as an elementary teacher, Angela Bricker (BCBA-D), was surprised that so many of her young students were diagnosed with autism.
So she joined an applied behavior analysis center to learn ABA principles and techniques. While at the ABA center she began taking evening classes to learn more about ABA, while using the principles with clients during the day.
“I started working in the ABA field due to my interest in helping students that I didn’t think were getting what they truly needed in the general education classroom,” says Angela, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctorate (BCBA-D) and Ball State assistant teaching professor of special education.
Has Love for the Science
“I fell in love with the science of ABA,” says Angela, who completed Ball State’s MA in special education in 2008. “I have now been in the field for over 25 years, and I am still in awe of the differences ABA can make in the lives of others.”
During her 25-year career, she has worked in clinical, home, educational, and residential settings, and has established multiple school-based programs for children with autism.
She began teaching in the Ball State master’s in ABA with an emphasis in autism program in 2009, and today she teaches and mentors adjunct faculty as a content specialist.
ABA Master’s is Largest in the Nation
Ball State was the first university in the state to offer such a master’s program. The master’s in ABA with an emphasis in autism has grown to be the largest in the nation.
Angela thinks she knows why.
“Reputation! Students who enjoy the program and become successful share their experience with others,” she says. “We truly have an amazing set of courses, and they are set up to help students with lots of different backgrounds.”
Program Gives Students World Perspective
The master’s in ABA with an emphasis in autism enrolls students worldwide, which only broadens the classroom perspective.
“Sometimes I will have a zoom meeting with a student at 8 a.m. Eastern Standard Time,” says Angela, “and then another at 11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time in order to accommodate students from around the globe.”
One uniqueness of the program is having students collaborate with international peers on class projects.
“Having the ability to collaborate this way is so important within ABA, and I think most students find this to be a positive experience,” says Angela. “It allows them to become more comfortable with different formats of technology for communication.”
On the Forefront of Training Professionals
Another advantage is its history. The department has been on the forefront of training professionals to help special populations with best-practice methods for decades.
After teaching in the ABA program for more than a decade, she believes her faculty colleagues are passionate about the science for the benefit of students.
“As a department we have biweekly meetings to stay in touch and brainstorm ways to keep the program successful,” says Angela. “Each course is also set up with a content specialist who will reach out to all instructors teaching that specific course several times throughout the semester.”
If you have ever watched what ABA can do, she says, then “you would understand the thirst we have for more knowledge in this field.”