By Shadrack Nyakoe
The United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa) has partnered with a United States of America (USA) based higher education institution to deliver a behavior analysis certificate course, a first in Africa.
Dubbed the Kalel Program, the course is designed to enhance capacity building for caregivers and other therapists handling persons with brain development disorders.
The Kalel Program, to be delivered by the USIU-Africa Department of Psychology in conjunction with the University of Nevada, Reno, is a tailor-made behavior analysis study course that will alleviate the plight of autistic persons bridging the skills gap.
According to USIU-Africa interim Vice-Chancellor Professor Freida Brown, the course will provide foundation skills for Behavioral Analysts, allowing them to provide evidence-based therapy for autistic persons. The Kalel Program students will sit for a professional examination and receive an international certificate.
USIU-Africa, she said, is committed to bridging the skills gap in the Sub Saharan market by delivering world-class, demand-driven training courses in diverse fields.
“Special needs children face many challenges in accessing quality education in Kenya. This includes a lack of good physical infrastructure, educational materials, easy access to classrooms, and other services. In addition, teachers are not motivated to take care of the needs of special needs children, resulting in low morale. This program will ensure that the trainees are equipped with requisite skills to provide the necessary care for autistic persons,” she said.
Speaking during the event, Ms. Debra Ntimama, founder of the Kalel Program noted that the Program was founded to create a pool of trained applied behaviour analysts, who would provide quality care to patients diagnosed with autism.
“ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) transformed my child, but the cost of having and hosting an international therapist was never going to be sustainable. This led to a conversation with Prof. Josephine Arasa, who made the suggestion of setting up an ABA training centre at USIU-Africa, as opposed to sending out students to be trained in South Africa. After months of looking for the right partner for the program, we came across the University of Nevada, Reno, who were willing to take us on as a satellite program, “she said.
“We are pleased to offer the first ever ABA training program on the African continent, with 25 students in the first cohort. We are excited at the fact that through you, our children will have a voice,” she added.
Dr. Linda Hayes, the Head of Satellite Programs and Behaviour Analysis at the University of Nevada, Reno expressed her gratitude to all the partners, noting that the partnership would be beneficial to the children in the community, and the community at large. She also noted that the University was keen to expand its partnership with USIU-Africa in the coming years to offer advanced training to students.
The course’s first module is already being delivered online, and will come to a close on July 31,2022. An intensive in-person training will start in August 2022.
Students will be expected to spend at least 4 hours per week on coursework. An assigned qualified instructor will monitor student progress throughout and provide feedback to students. The first portion of the course consists of modules that include videos, readings, and questions. One week of intensive in-person instruction will occur after completing the online part of the course.
The behavior analysis program focuses on the philosophies of behaviorism, the theory and methodology of behavior analysis, basic and applied research in human behavior, basic research in animal behavior, application of behavioral principles to organizational administration and consultation, instructional design and technology, parent and teacher training, and clinical populations, participatory governance, and fiscal management.
Sessions will include demonstrations, one-on-one practice with and without clients, and individualized feedback for all students. Assessments of competency will be provided. Training topics to be covered: Measurement and Assessment of Behavior Skill Acquisition Behavior Reduction Documentation and Reporting Professional American Bar Association Ethics After being deemed competent students will receive a completion certificate from University of Nevada Reno and be qualified to deliver behavior analytic treatment to children on the autism spectrum.
Students will only require a high school completion certificate in order to participate in this course.