What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy?
Behavior Analysis is a scientific model of how behaviors affect and are affected by environmental events. ABA is the applied use of principles and methods of behavior analysis (such as reinforcement) to create meaningful changes in socially important behaviors.
ABA has four major characteristics:
- An objective assessment of the individual and the individual’s environment that forms the basis of an individualized treatment plan.
- Understanding of the concept of behavior within the individual, his or her family, and his or her community.
- The utilization of principles and methods of behavior analysis to improve the individual’s independence and quality of life.
- Objective and ongoing data analysis to inform clinical decision-making.
ABA has been demonstrated as effective at treating the symptoms of ASD.
Why Does ABA Work?
Over 30 years of research has demonstrated the effectiveness of ABA for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Children who receive early, intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) have demonstrated positive improvements in their development. Areas of improvement include: communication, socialization, following instructions, daily living skills, etc.
What are the ABC’s of ABA?
- Antecedents: Antecedents are things or events that precede a behavior.
- Behavior: Behavior is an observable and measurable action. Behavior does not refer to challenging behavior only. For example, eating, yelling, reading are all behaviors.
- Consequences: Consequences are events that follow a behavior. Consequences are not always negative, they can be positive. For example, a child may receive an ice cream after standing in line quietly at the ice cream shop.