February 28, 2024

The New England Center for Children (NECC) believes every child with autism deserves the best services available so they can live full, productive, and rewarding lives in their community. This means reaching beyond our own walls, providing not only NECC staff with training and ongoing professional development, but extending its expertise and making it accessible to those with a desire to learn more about autism and applied behavior analysis (ABA), an evidence-based technique in treating children with autism. One of the ways in which NECC does this is through the ABAplus® online learning platform.


“ABAplus is an online, self-paced learning platform based on NECC’s more than 48 years of training behavior analysts and special educators to work effectively with individuals diagnosed with autism and related disorders,” shared Nicole Ciotti, MS, BCBA, CAGS, LABA, executive director of NECC’s ACE® ABA Software System, which includes ABAplus. “It is an opportunity for non-NECC staff, such as parents and paraprofessionals, to learn from our expert clinicians and educators.”

ABAplus launched in 2018 in response to the introduction of the Registered Behavior Technician® (RBT®) certification, a certification established by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® for those who are responsible for the direct implementation of behavior-analytic services, such as paraprofessionals and tutors.

“Prior to the RBT certification, the only education for ABA professionals was to pursue a master’s or doctorate degree in ABA,” said Ciotti, who has a master’s degree in ABA and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®). “Internally, NECC uses the ABAplus platform to train new hires in our public school classrooms, as well as our global consultants and staff working in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.”

But ABAplus isn’t just for professionals working for or with NECC. The platform, which offers two options, is a valuable professional development tool for anyone working in the autism field and/or looking to learn more about using ABA, such as parents or guardians.

“The Introduction to ABA course provides 25 hours of instruction and hands-on practice that gives individuals a basic understanding of ABA,” shared Ciotti. “Meanwhile, the RBT option involves the 40 hours of coursework and training required for the RBT certification process.”

NECC researchers have dedicated the last 48 years to studying ABA and are continuously making advances in the field. And just as NECC’s approach to ABA evolves, so will its online learning. Ciotti shared that NECC is looking to grow its ABAplus platform within the next several months.

“NECC’s is a global leader in autism research and education, and our mission is to create a world where autism is not a barrier to a full life,” said Ciotti. “Through initiatives like ABAplus, we are able to share our expertise on a broader level, which is bringing us a step closer every day to fulfilling that mission.”

For more information on ABAplus, visit www.necc.org/training/abaplus.