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BARC utilizes the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) which is “the science in which tactics derived from the principles of behavior are applied to improve socially significant behavior and experimentation is used to identify the variables responsible for the improvement in behavior” (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007, p. 690). This applied behaviorism is rooted in positive reinforcement making the selected behavior motivating to perform by pairing it with a reinforcer the learner strongly desires. It is something the learner is motivated enough to work for, that strengthens a behavior in the future, increasing the likelihood for it to happen again.  It is a design that sets up a contingency between environment-behavior-environment in which the result is the learner voluntarily offers the behavior because it is more rewarding to do so than not.  It relies heavily on "catching" the behavior in the exact moment in which it is offered, pairing this with reinforcement and then continuing to build and incorporate additional skills until the final goal is reached.  Carefully designed steps of pinpointed observable and measurable behaviors are systematically selected based on the needs and abilities of the individual learner, and are at a tolerable amount or time to avoid aversion or resistance. 


Learning sessions are live and dynamic and the responses, whether correct or incorrect, guide the next course of action.  The learner and teacher are a binary relation.  Thus, as an amazing Mentor states it is a "Study of One."  No two plans of design will look the same nor the environmental contingencies, reinforcers and even data collection.  Research based principles of applied behaviorism guide all decision making from schedules of reinforcement, discrimination of example/non-example, presentation of the stimulus to elicit a response (or the cue when this has been established), shaping procedures, etc.  


Positive Reinforcement is the tool that guides three essential concepts for behavior change in a learner: 1) Confidence 2) Choice Making 3) Autonomy.  A primary reinforcer for all species is control and thus through a well designed positive plan any learner would be motivated to learn, especially when an improvement in quality of life is observed and experienced.    

See "Videos" tab for demonstrations of principles described here.

Melanie Yoder, Executive Director, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has over 15 years of experience in the field of education working to support students with Autism and other developmental needs in public and non-public schools and clinical settings.  Her career in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis began when she was selected for an internship with The Ohio State University Chimpanzee Center; assisting in different teaching trials such as pairing different schedules of reinforcement with tacting (labeling) stimuli. Melanie has senior dogs that are rescues and each of whom presented a variety of behavioral/medical needs.  Her work with them and being a part of each success and setback has caused her to pursue the opportunity to apply her skill set back towards the population that she began with, animals.


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