Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA is a buzzword that parents often hear for the first time when they begin the diagnosis process for autism. There are many misunderstandings and questions surrounding ABA, particularly for parents who have just received a diagnosis and are searching for the best possible therapy for their child. This series will help parents to understand the basics components and philosophy of ABA therapy.
What is ABA?
Applied Behavior Analysis is the application of evidence-based behavioral principles to socially-significant behaviors encountered every day as a means to increase or decrease individually targeted behaviors in a systematic manner. Let’s break that down.
- Evidence-Based Behavioral Principles: practices that have been proven in a scientific way to work from research both inside and outside the clinic
- Socially significant Behaviors: behaviors that have meaningful and long-term benefits
- Individually Targeted Behaviors: behaviors that are targeted for change and chosen specifically for the client
- Systematic Manner: behavior change will be conducted in a clear and concise manner with careful change made based on objective analysis of data
In simplest terms, ABA uses techniques that have been proven to work to change behaviors that are important to you. These techniques are used in a way that is logical and objective, so we can be sure we are doing a good job.
All of these pieces of the ABA discipline is why we can say that ABA works!
ABA is a scientific discipline that uses data collection to drive decision making for each individual’s behavior change. ABA Therapists create programs to target certain important behaviors, and use data to determine if progress is being made so that the program can be finely tuned to meet the individual needs of the client.