Diploma in Applied Behaviour Analysis

Brief description of the event:

Provide an understanding of the philosophical and historical underpinnings of Applied Behaviour Analysis

Explain and introduce students to the basic assumptions and principles of Behaviour analysis as an applied field,

Outline and explain each of the seven dimensions of ABA

Training in the use of behavioural principles and technologies to promote and increase socially significant behaviours like communication, self-management, social skills and life skills for those with intellectual disabilities.

Training in conducting behavioural assessments to identify the function of a challenging and create an intervention to reduce that behaviour using methods like functional communication training, differential reinforcement of alternative behaviour and so on.

Understanding the importance of using evidence-based interventions and data collection

Provide training in methods of data collection and interpretation.

For Whom:

This course is designed for teachers, SNAs, youth workers, care workers and those working with children or adolescents with autism and other disabilities in many different settings.  It may also be helpful for parents who want to develop skills in ABA for supporting their own children.

The participants will learn:

Learning outcomes, defined in terms of knowledge, skills and attitudes. Must be specific, relevant, realistic, & measurable.

Understand the principles of behaviour and how to apply them with particular attention to populations with intellectual disabilities

Understand how to conduct behavioural assessment to identify the function of a behaviour

Understand how to design behavioural interventions and apply behavioural technologies to increase and decrease behaviour and necessary

Learn methods and importance of accurate data collection and interpretation

Awareness of the importance of using an evidence-based approach when designing interventions

Awareness of the ethical issues involved when working with at-risk populations and using applied behaviour analysis methods.


This course is aimed at providing students with a clear critical, analytic, and evaluative understanding and solid foundation of contemporary knowledge in behavioural theory and practice and the principles underpinning the subject area.

Brief description of themes, broken down into sessions:

Definitions, Characteristics and Basic Principles:

  • History of ABA
    1. Philosophical world view
    2. Origins of ABA
    3. Seven dimensions of ABA
  • Basic Principles
    1. Positive reinforcement
    2. Negative reinforcement
    3. Positive punishment
    4. Negative punishment
    5. Extinction
    6. Verbal behaviour
    7. Three-term contingency
    8. Function of a behaviour

Selecting, Defining and Measuring Behaviour:

  • Selecting socially significant behaviour
  • Measurement systems
    1. Importance of data
    2. Types of data
    3. Interval recording
    4. Developing appropriate means of measurement

    Behavioural Assessment:

    • Functional behavioural assessment (FBA)
    • Descriptive assessment
    • Functional analysis
  • Behavioural Intervention, Measurement and Evaluation:

    • Discrete trial training
    • Natural environment teaching
    • Functional communication training (FCT)
    • Dealing with challenging behaviour
    • Behavioural technologies
      1. Task analysis
      2. Chaining
      3. Shaping
      4. Prompting fading
      5. Generalisation
      6. Thinning of R+ schedules
    • Displaying data
    • Interpreting data


This event requires engagement and participation

Discussion of clinical cases and experiences of participants which is woven into the experience of the classroom presentations. The course is taught in-person and online. 

Qualifications and prior experience necessary: The programme is open to all participants who capable of participating in the course. The course lecturer is always available to mentor and support participants in completing the course assignments and reading.


Method of Event Evaluation: City Colleges provides online and paper feedback forms to all course participants during the programme. This is reviewed by the relevant Deans and Academic Managers, in line with our Quality Assurance Policies.


Fees & what is included (e.g. materials, lunch)

All materials and attendance at the course in our city-centre location including tea and refreshments during breaks. Online recordings are also available, in addition to course materials, on our Moodle system.


27 January 2020, ten weeks, 30 hours total. Running three times per year in January, April and September.

Venue: City Colleges, city-centre campus at the above address.   


Contact for making reservations and enquires, include links to online reservations

Via www.citycolleges.ie or phone 1850 252 740 or (01) 4160034.

Cancellation and Refunds Policy

The outstanding balance of fees is payable on or before the first lecture of the course. Alternatively, a Direct Debit Mandate can be completed, which must be signed and returned on or before the commencement of the course. Course fees are not normally refunded after the course start date. City Colleges reserves the right to change course schedules, with reasonable notice and, in the event of insufficient students enrolling on a course, it reserves the right to postpone or cancel the course. In the event of cancellation, the College will refund all fees paid. In the event that an agreed 3rd party payee does not pay for the course in its entirety due to the fault of the student, the student will be liable for the full amount outstanding to the College.



Dr Keith Lyons, BCBA-D, D.Psych.BAT, B.A. Psych.

Dr Keith Lyons is one of approximately 12 Doctoral Level Board Certified Behaviour Analyst in Ireland. He has achieved the highest level of training and qualification possible within the field of behaviour analysis.

He holds a Doctorate in Psychological Science: Behaviour Analysis and Therapy from the National University of Ireland Maynooth. He has also worked as a reviewer for the Journal of Psychology and Psychotherapy.

Dr Lyons currently works within adult services with some of the most complex and challenging individuals in the country. Previously, he has worked in both schools and as a private behavioural consultant, providing behavioural support and interventions to families. He has experience working with a wide range of clients each presenting with a unique set of needs, abilities, communication systems, diagnoses and challenges. Dr Lyons employs evidence-based behavioural approaches to combat and reduce challenging behaviour while simultaneously increasing more acceptable socially significant behaviours.



The core text to be used listed below is a well-established and widely used textbook on the area of Applied behaviour analysis and covers all the topics to be covered in great detail along with providing supporting evidence for each area. Also, there are a number of peer-reviewed journals which focus specifically on the area of applied behaviour analysis to which students will be directed to and given selected readings as appropriate.

Core Text
Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis, 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.


Relevant academic journals

Journal of Applied Behaviour Analysis (JABA; Flagship journal of the Field)

Behavioral Interventions

Behavioral Technology Today

The Behavior Analyst

Behavior Modification

British Journal of Special Education

British Journal of Developmental Disabilities

Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities

Journal of Special Education Technology

Journal of Experimental Analysis of Behavior

Journal Of Precision Teaching and Celeration

Psychological Record

Research in Developmental Disabilities