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Program delivery update

To ensure we can safely offer the high-quality learning you expect, we've changed how many of our programs are delivered. Please view this program's delivery option(s) under "locations & availability". Learn more about how programs will be offered

Behavioural Interventions

Get the specialized skills you need to support clients with emotional, behavioural and learning challenges.

Program Image
Start Date:
Typical Length:
1 Year
Advanced Diploma

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This is a challenging and rewarding program that provides you with the expertise to assess, design, implement, modify and evaluate behavioural interventions for a variety of populations of differing ages and abilities.

You learn how to:

  • Develop respectful, person-centered behavioural interventions
  • Teach behavioural strategies to facilitate growth within social, emotional, cognitive and mental health function to individuals of varying ages, abilities and diagnoses
  • Use appropriate assessment protocols to identify behaviours and support the development of new skills
  • Use data collection to document, analyze and evaluate program progress
  • Design modifications for specialized populations, including trauma-informed care, dementia care and traumatic brain injury
  • Apply positive behavioural supports in three-tiered model from universal Tier 1 to individualized Tier 3 interventions

Clinical placement

  • Clinical placements are mandatory credit courses offered throughout the duration of your program. They provide you with the opportunity to integrate theory with practice and understand the everyday challenges of a work environment.
  • Opportunities are typically unpaid.
  • Clinical placements may require you to work weekdays, evenings, weekends and/or holiday shifts.
  • Transportation, living accommodations and other costs related to clinical placements are the responsibility of the student.
  • For more information visit Work Experience Opportunities.

Choose NSCC

  • Learn from faculty with expertise and knowledge of trends in the field.
  • Hands-on learning and field placements provide you with the experience you need to develop your skills and gain the experience employers look for on a resume.

September 2020

Campus Location Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Strait Area Campus/Online Port Hawkesbury Full time BlendedBlended
Complete your program through courses that combine online (scheduled), and on-campus learning.

Admission requirements

  • Undergraduate degree in one of the following areas: behavioural science, child studies, education, human kinetics, psychology, social work or sociology or a diploma in one of the following areas: human services, social services, early childhood education, child and youth care or therapeutic recreation.

Program requirements

  • A current, official Criminal Record check, Vulnerable Sector check and Child Abuse Register search are required to complete work placements in this program. A conviction or finding in Family Court may impact your ability to obtain a work placement. Inability to obtain a work placement will impact your ability to complete program and graduation requirements.
  • Health and Human Services programs have additional requirements, including immunizations and completion of first aid/CPR. You must submit proof that you've completed these requirements at the beginning of your program. View additional Health & Human Services program requirements
    • Receiving immunizations may take up to 10 months to complete. Failure to complete immunizations can result in a delayed work placement.
  • Portfolio Development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.


Tuition is valid for the 2020-21 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for college services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

There is an increasing demand for graduates skilled in applying behavioural strategies to support learning or improve quality of life across the lifespan.

Behavioural Interventionists typically work as part of an interdisciplinary team to assess, intervene or train others in the application of behavioural strategies in settings such as:

  • Schools
  • Group or small option homes
  • Vocational workshops
  • Daycares
  • Community services facilities
  • Outpatient programs

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

BIAD 3001 - Applied Behavioural Analysis I
This course introduces the processes, concepts, terminology and learning principles which form the basis for ABA interventions. Specific topics include developing behavioural objectives and planning interventions using reinforcement, task analysis, shaping, backward and forward chaining to develop, increase or decrease behaviours. Emphasis is on evidence based programs and practices with solid empirical support. Specific ABA programs with strong research evidence demonstrating effectiveness for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder will be highlighted including basic intervention planning using PRT, DTT, ESDM, STARS and TEACCH.

BIAD 3002 - Positive Behavioural Techniques and Applications
Learners will be introduced to the theory and application of Positive Behavioural Supports (PBS) within a Person Centered Philosophy. A three tiered model of supports will be introduced beginning with universal Tier 1 supports applicable to all learners and progressing through to specialized Tier 3 interventions based on individual Functional Behavioural Assessments (FBA). Learners will be introduced to the functions of behaviour and how to create complete Pathways Diagrams with Desired and Replacement Behaviours. Learners will apply differential reinforcement techniques, choose appropriate reinforcers, develop setting event, antecedent, teaching and consequence strategies, as well as consider ecological interventions and positive programming to manage behaviours and develop skills. Distinctions will be made between interventions designed for groups and those for individuals.

BIAD 3003 - Neurodiversity: Risk and Protective Factors
This course introduces some of the major syndromes and disorders commonly associated with significant behavioural challenges, including Autism Spectrum Disorder. It introduces the relationship between genetics, environmental experiences, and resulting developmental outcomes (e.g., ACES). It incorporates the latest research developments pertaining to brain development and the field of Developmental Psychopathology.

BIAD 3004 - Ethics and Professional Practice for Behavioural Interventions
This course will review the different perspectives and rationale for ethical decision-making within a behavioural framework. It will cover both ethical and professional practice guidelines using the foundations established by the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board (BACB) and will also include guidelines from the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) and other professional licensing bodies. Ethical and professional practice issues involved in working with individuals, families, and multidisciplinary teams will be explored using case studies, practice vignettes, structured exercises and group discussions. Preparation for professional practice including resume building, interviewing skills and portfolio building will also be highlighted.

BIAD 3005 - Psychology of Behaviour
Learners will be introduced to the science of behavioural psychology as a system for organizing and responding to human behaviour. Learners will be exposed to various types of behavioural interventions based on classical and operant conditioning principles and acquire essential skills for working on behavioural interventions with clients, families and multi-disciplinary teams. Emphasis will be on understanding the use of positive and negative reinforcement, positive and negative punishment, schedules of reinforcement, extinction, differential reinforcement, and generalization, as well as the role of observational learning in the behavioural change process. The application of behavioural principles in clinical treatment of mental health disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression) will be explored.

BIAD 3006 - Single Subject Research Design and Data Collection
Learners will be introduced to the recording, analysis and management of quantitative and qualitative data. The principles involved in writing behavioural goals and quantifying behaviour will be explored. Models for analyzing, graphing and reporting results using single subject research designs will be applied to sample cases. Emphasis will be placed on presenting information in a coherent visual format through graphs or reports.

BIAD 3008 - Field Placement Seminar
The Field Placement Seminar is an opportunity for learners on Field Placement to share their experiential learning. Learners will participate in case formulations and case reviews based on their placement experiences.

BIAD 3010 - Practicum Placement I
Learners will explore the application of behavioural intervention techniques in a variety of settings which may include vocational and residential programs, small option homes, early intervention programs, schools, and health care settings.

BIAD 3011 - Applied Behavioural Analysis II: Evidence Based Interventions
This course expands on the applications of ABA theories, procedures, and methods as it pertains to special populations (e.g., ADHD, ASD, FASD, other neurodevelopmental disabilities). Specific behavioural challenges and research on selected topics will be discussed. Emphasis will be placed on evidence-based practices and procedures to teach, support and increase behaviours that lead to improved quality of life. Research validated approaches will be introduced including Incidental Teaching, Picture Exchange Communication System, visual supports, video modelling, peer training, self-management, story-based interventions and cognitive-behavioural interventions (National Standards Report) will be explored. The focus is on application and learners are expected to participate in creating intervention materials (e.g., social stories) and applied practice with the techniques discussed.

BIAD 3018 - Practicum Placement I Seminars
This seminar will provide an opportunity for practicum placement I participants to report and reflect on the applied learning experience. The learner will be encouraged to explore opportunities for behavioural placements within Nova Scotia. Through dialogue and class discussion they will utilize basic behavioural principles to conceptualize, brain storm, and generate ideas for behavioural interventions based on the learner’s experiences in the work place.

BIAD 3020 - Practicum Placement II
Learners will spend one day per week observing and supporting the application of behavioural intervention techniques in a variety of settings which may include vocational and residential programs, small option homes, early intervention programs, schools, and health care settings. The goal of this placement experience is to allow learners to develop a greater depth of experience with a specific population of interest.

BIAD 3022 - Behavioural Assessment
Learners will learn the process of behavioural assessment. The focus of the course will be on the role of the Behavioural Interventionist in conducting a full Functional Behavioural Assessment (FBA) including FBA interviewing, ABC data collection, and functional analysis to identify functions. Learners will observe, record and summarize behaviour, develop Pathways Diagrams, and report assessment results in formal consultation reports. Interviewing skills and motivational communication strategies will be explored with a focus on the challenges involved in initiating, facilitating and maintaining behavioural change across a variety of complex conditions. A key focus will be on the Behavioural Interventionists' role in creating, facilitating and motivating teams working together throughout the assessment, intervention and evaluation process.

BIAD 3028 - Practicum Placement II Seminars
This seminar will provide an opportunity for practicum placement II participants to report and reflect on the applied learning experience. The learner will be encouraged to utilize behavioural principles and paradigms to brain storm, problem solve and plan basic behavioural interventions based on the learner’s experiences in the work place.

BIAD 3030 - Field Placement
Learners will spend four days per week performing the role of a Behavioural Interventionist in a setting and with a population of their choice. The goal of the Field Placement is to allow learners to gain experience, demonstrate their skills and establish professional relationships in the work place.

BIAD 3033 - Advanced Clinical Topics in Neurodiversity
Moving further into the lifespan, this course expands on some of the major syndromes, neurodevelopmental disorders, and mental health diagnoses commonly associated with behavioural challenges. The focus will be on understanding the needs of the individual within the disorder as they transition into adulthood and older developmental stages. Emphasis will be on balancing evidence based practices focusing on behavioural change with respect for individual diversity and freedom of choice.

BIAD 3055 - Safe Approaches to Managing Behavioural Crisis
This course will focus on reducing and managing challenging behaviour in the moment. Building on the principles of positive behavioural support (PBS), low arousal strategies and nonviolent crisis intervention (NVCI) principles, learners will be exposed to strategies for de-escalating behaviours while ensuring the safety of all involved. The phases within the crisis response will be explored as well as the progression of de-escalation strategies appropriate to each stage. Case studies will be utilized to explore the application of safe approaches to various behavioural challenges and clinical populations. Adapting behavioural intervention strategies for specific populations where consequent strategies are less effective (e.g., trauma, dementia, acquired brain injury) will be highlighted as will as self-care strategies for staff and behavioural interveners.

SAFE 1050 - Non-Violent Crisis Intervention (12 Hours)
This course is designed to provide high quality, meaningful training in the safe management of disruptive and assaultive behaviour. This 12-hour course includes both theory on crisis development and personal safety techniques.

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