What is Applied Behavior Analysis?
Applied Behavior Analysis focuses on the principles that explain how learning takes place. Positive reinforcement is one such principle. When a behavior is followed by some sort of reward, the behavior is more likely to be repeated. Through decades of research, the field of Behavior Analysis has developed many techniques for increasing useful behaviors and reducing those that may cause harm or interfere with learning. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the use of these techniques and principles to bring about meaningful and positive change in behavior.
Behavior Analysts began working with young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and related disorders in the 1960s. Early techniques often involved adults directing most of the instruction. Some allowed the child to take the lead. Since that time, a wide variety of ABA techniques have been developed for building useful skills in learners with Autism from toddlers through adulthood.
These techniques can be used in structured situations such as a classroom lesson as well as in everyday situations, such as family dinnertime or the neighborhood playground. Some ABA therapy sessions involve one-on-one interaction between the ABA technician and the participant. Group instruction can likewise prove useful.
ABA is also designed to demonstrate that the interventions are responsible for the behavioral changes. Applied Behavior Analysis breaks down skills into simple steps, teaching each step in succession. While teaching the steps, the progress of positive behaviors and skills are measured. ABA therapy is used to modify various forms of behavior, increasing positive skills and decreasing negative skills and deficits. These positive skills include language, socialization, daily living skills, etc.
Thousands of published studies, over the past 50 years, have documented the effectiveness of ABA for increasing a variety of skills and decreasing challenging behaviors.
ABA has been proven the most effective for improving behaviors for people with Autism and it’s a science that has been validated by research. The goal of Applied Behavioral Analysis is to facilitate lasting behavioral changes that lead to enhanced quality of life.
There are many different types of ABA techniques within the field. Verbal behavior and Discrete Trial Training (DTT) are two common types of ABA used in the treatment of children with Autism. We frequently use both.