What is ABA?
Behavior Analysis is the scientific study of behavior. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the application of the principles of learning and motivation from Behavior Analysis, and the procedures and technology derived from those principles, to the solution of problems of social significance. Many decades of research have validated treatments based on ABA.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the most recognized and widely accepted evidence-based practice for treating Autism Spectrum Disorder that is safe, effective, and has proven results.
The Report of the MADSEC Autism Task Force (2000) provides a succinct description, put together by an independent body of experts:
Over the past 40 years, several thousand published research studies have documented the effectiveness of ABA across a wide range of Populations (children, adults, mental illness, ASD), Interventionists (Parents, techers, staff), Settings (School, home institutions, hospitals, businesses, etc), and Behaviors (Language, social, academic, functional skills, aggression, toileting, stereotypy, self-injury).
Applied behavior analysis is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behavior (Baer, Wolf & Risley, 1968; Sulzer-Azaroff & Mayer, 1991).
“Socially significant behaviors” include reading, academics, social skills, communication, and adaptive living skills. Adaptive living skills include gross and fine motor skills, eating and food preparation, toileting, dressing, personal self-care, domestic skills, time and punctuality, money and value, home and community orientation, and work skills.
Socially significant behaviors
to increase behaviors (eg reinforcement procedures increase on-task behavior, or social interactions);
to teach new skills (eg, systematic instruction and reinforcement procedures teach functional life skills, communication skills, or social skills);
to maintain behaviors (eg, teaching self control and self-monitoring procedures to maintain and generalize job-related social skills);
to generalize or to transfer behavior from one situation or response to another (eg, from completing assignments in the resource room to performing as well in the mainstream classroom);
to restrict or narrow conditions under which interfering behaviors occur (eg, modifying the learning environment);
to reduce interfering behaviors (eg, self injury or stereotypy).
ABA is an objective discipline. ABA focuses on the reliable measurement and objective evaluation of observable behavior.