What is ABA and Why is it Effective?

April 20, 2017

What is ABA?


Behavior Analysis is the scientific study of behavior and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the application of the principles of behavior. ABA focuses on the functions of behavior and how learning takes place. ABA therapy applies these principles to help increase desired behaviors and decrease problem behaviors. For instance, it is used to increase skills such as language and communication, attention, social skills, daily living skills, and academics. It is also used to decrease maladaptive and harmful behaviors. ABA therapy focuses on antecedents (what happens before a behavior occurs), behavior (what is the behavior), and consequences (what happens after the behavior). ABA suggests that children are more likely to repeat behaviors that are reinforced, and they are less likely to continue behaviors that are not reinforced. It is also important to note that collecting data is critical in ABA therapy. The Behavior Technicians, working with Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA), collect data during the therapy sessions, and the BCBA makes data-driven decisions. ABA training is most beneficial when parents participate in training as well. That way, parents can reinforce positive behaviors effectively and help their child reach their highest potential.


Why ABA Therapy?


As every child with an is unique, therefore, each child should receive individualized treatment that meets their specific needs. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is one of the most widely accepted therapies for children with autism spectrum disorder (Autism - Treatment Overview, 2015). ABA therapy is most effective as an early intervention when children are younger than age five. However, older children can also benefit from ABA. Recent studies confirm that ABA techniques are effective for building important life skills in adolescence and adults with autism, such as helping individuals transit successfully into independent living and employment. 


Many studies confirm that ABA is effective in increasing behaviors and teaching new skills (National Autism Center, 2015). In addition, research demonstrates that ABA is effective in reducing problem behavior (NAC, 2015). Several studies also indicate that early and intensive intervention of ABA (beginning before age 4 and more than 20 hours per week),  can increase the chance of improvements in development and reduce the need for special services (Reichow, 2012). The United States Surgeon General (1999) concluded, “Thirty years of research demonstrated the efficacy of applied behavioral methods in reducing inappropriate behavior and in increasing communication, learning and appropriate social behavior.”


A quality ABA program can improve children’s ability to express their own personality and preferences by teaching them the skills they need to communicate, play, and enjoy life. ABA is effective because it teaches children how to learn!   Contact us at kwilcox@behavioralmomentumllc.com to find out more about how ABA can help propel your child’s progress!




ABA RESOURCES: WHAT IS ABA? (n.d.). Retrieved from Center for Autism and Related Disorders : http://www.centerforautism.com/aba-therapy.aspx


Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). (2017). Retrieved from Autism Speaks : https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/applied-behavior-analysis-aba


Autism - Treatment Overview. (2015). Retrieved from WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/autism-treatment-overview


Autism Teaching Methods. (2017). Retrieved from AutismWeb: http://www.autismweb.com/aba.htm


National Autism Center. (2015). Findings and conclusions: National standards project, phase 2. Randolph, MA: Author.


Reichow, B. (2012). Overview of meta-analyses on early intensive behavioral intervention for young children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42, 512-520.


Therapies for Autism Spectrum Disorder. (2016). Retrieved from WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/autism-therapies-aba-rdi-and-sensory-therapies#1 


United States Surgeon General (1998). Mental health: A report of the Surgeon General. Washington, DC: Author.



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