11 months ago

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Graduate Wins Research Award for Master Thesis

Matthew Quiroz, a recent graduate of the MS in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program won the 2022 New York State Association for Behavior Analysis Student Research Award for his Master thesis, “Teaching Children to Identify and Avoid Food Allergens Using Behavioral Skills Training.”

Matthew Quiroz is currently a New York State Certified School Psychologist. He obtained a Master of Science degree in School Psychology from Queens College. Since then, he has worked to help children and their families dealing with a varying social, emotional, and behavioral needs over the past 10 years in his professional career. Matthew enrolled in Hunter College’s Applied Behavior Analysis program in 2018 and has recently graduated in January of 2022. He plans to continue to utilize the principles of applied behavior analysis to help children and their families and hopes to one day earn his doctorate. In this study, conducted under the advisement of Dr. Lauren Schnell, Matthew explored the effects of using behavioral skills training to teach children with severe food allergies to make an appropriate safety response when presented with potentially allergenic foods. All food presented were actually safe but participants were unaware of this. Children were taught to ask for the food packaging, read the food label, and inform the adult that they were allergic to the food if their allergen was found on the label when offered food. The results supported the hypothesis that behavioral skills training can be an effective strategy for teaching participants to avoid consuming allergenic foods when presented with food in school.