For students in St. Lawrence College’s (SLC) Behavioural Science programs, an unparalleled opportunity exists for hands-on learning at the Centre for Behavioural Studies on the Kingston campus.

The Centre for Behavioural Studies is a hub for researchers, faculty, students, behaviour analysts and community service providers to work together to advance the science of behaviour analysis. Students in the Honors Bachelor of Behavioural Psychology, Behavioural Science Program, Autism and Behavioural Science, and Communicative Disorders Assistant programs at St. Lawrence College will have access to this “living lab” of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA).

Offering placements, volunteering, research and thesis supervision, students will have the opportunity to work closely with people living with autism, communication disorders, brain injuries, addictions, intellectual disabilities, age-related dementia, and others.

Nicole Therrien, a 2017 graduate of the Honours Bachelor of Behavioural Psychology program, was attracted to St. Lawrence College after picking up a pamphlet listing it as a “Degree in Demand” at her high school.

“The program was enticing to me for several reasons,” Nicole said. “It combined university level academic courses with three applied field placement opportunities, at the time was the first course of its kind in Canada, and I could pursue a wide variety of career opportunities upon graduation.”

Another benefit of the program was the close and supportive relationships that Nicole developed with her peers and professors. “When you spend four years together, you develop a strong sense of community that carries you throughout your time in the program and into your future, whether that is continuing your education or joining the workforce upon graduating.”

As a Behavioural Psychology student, Nicole worked at the Centre as a research assistant. Nicole helped develop projects for use by teachers in managing primary classroom behaviour, worked on creating resources to promote the various research projects that the Centre conducts, and helped analyze data collected from research on a life skills course for young adults with autism spectrum disorder.

Nicole learned several valuable skills working at the Centre and through eld placements in her program, including the ability to problem solve and how to adapt to change.

“Through field placements and the research assistant position at St. Lawrence College, I learned that behaviour does not occur in a vacuum; there are always external variables that we cannot foresee that may affect treatment. When obstacles appear, it is important to come up with viable solutions that will allow the intervention to continue without major disruption to our clients’ wellbeing or to the validity of our research. The ability to problem solve is a universally valuable skill.”

Students at the Centre also have the opportunity to complete curriculum assessments and interventions supporting children living with autism spectrum disorders in their schools, support families Restructuring After Divorce (RAD), deliver life preparation training, and other direct services to a wide variety of clients.

The Centre supports St. Lawrence College’s mission of providing high-quality education by delivering innovative learning opportunities and preparing career- ready graduates. The Centre puts students first by ensuring all programming provides high quality learning opportunities. This includes providing advanced placement opportunities, and expanding community partnerships. In addition, the Centre bridges the gap between the lab and the classroom by providing clinical observational learning opportunities.

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