Live and Learn: The story of TICE Cooperativa Sociale

Imagine that nearly everything you wanted to learn about behavior analysis was written in a different language, that only a few who could teach you were in your country, and/or that to see behavior analysis in action you had to travel to another country.

This was Francesca Cavallini’s experience, after her first exposure to behavior analysis in an Educational Psychology course taught by Professoressa Silvia Perini at the Università di Parma.

[2] Francesca Cavallini (photo credit to
Francesca, the founder and president of TICE Sociale Cooperativa, traveled to the US shortly thereafter with a dream to open a learning center for children with special needs in Italy that brought science to education through the application of principles of behavior analysis. On this trip, she met some of the leading researchers and clinicians in behavior analysis and Precision Teaching – spending time with Drs. Carl Binder, Elizabeth Haughton, Kimberly and Nicholas Berens, and Kent Johnson.

Upon her return to Italy, she partnered with Fabiola Casarini (no longer with TICE Cooperativa Sociale) who went to New York shortly thereafter to learn about the Comprehensive Application of Behavior Analysis to Schooling (CABAS®) with Dr. Douglas Greer.

Only one year later, Centro Tecniche di Insegnamento per le Competenze dell’età Evolutiva (TICE Cooperativa Sociale) was founded. It was the first, center-based Italian organization to provide programs and services based on applied behavior analysis for children with and without disabilities ranging from birth to adulthood and their families.

Children completing a classroom activity with colorful construction paper
[3] Image provided courtesy of Yan Krukov under Pexels License
TICE Cooperativa Sociale soon characterized itself as a place focused on technological and experimental transfer of knowledge from the university to practice. Francesca worked collaboratively with the Università di Parma to establish postgraduate masters courses and professional development courses for non-degree seeking students in behavior analysis where students of these programs gained supervised experiences in behavior analysis at TICE Cooperativa Sociale.

TICE Cooperativa Sociale now operates three learning centers in two provinces of northern Italy. Graduates of the professional training program or the master’s program at the Università di Parma Italy have opened at least ten additional learning centers in Italy.

TICE Cooperativa Sociale and its partner centers provide a number of employment opportunities for behavior analysts in Italy. The centers also serve as training sites for students of behavior analysis where research informs clinical practice and clinical practice informs research. TICE Cooperativa Sociale personnel have published 17 papers in European and Italian peer reviewed journals.

Woman sitting on a table and typing on a computer next to a blackboard
[4] Image provided courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio under Pexels License
What it was that allowed TICE Cooperativa Sociale to have such an impact on behavior analysis in Italy? Francesca says

It’s learning. TICE lives and learns. It changes in response to its contingencies, just like humans change in response to their contingencies.

Francesca continued to offer some advice to our readers who are experiencing the same challenges as she had or those interested in international dissemination of behavior analysis.

Travel…go see behavior analysis and education in other countries. Learn how to establish and disseminate behavior analysis in education through others’ examples and non-examples, through their successes and failures.

[5] Image provided courtesy of author

Grazie mille Francesca Cavallini per il tuo aiuto con questo post e per tutto quello che ho imparato.

Image credit:

  1. Cover image provided courtesy of Matt Hardy under Pexels License
  2. Image provided courtesy of
  3. Image provided courtesy of Yan Krukov under Pexels License
  4. Image provided courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio under Pexels License
  5. Image provided courtesy of author