Applied Behavioral Analysis
Applied Behavior Analysis is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behavior.
ABA, Applied Behavioral Analysis, is simply the application of behavioral principles, to everyday situations, that will, over time, increase or decrease targeted behaviors. ABA has been used to help individuals acquire many different skills, such as language skills, self-help skills, and play skills; in addition, these principles can help to decrease maladaptive behaviors such as aggression, self-stimulatory behaviors, and self-injury.
ABA is a discipline that employs objective data to drive decision-making about an individual’s program. That is, data is collected on responses made by the individual to determine if progress is being made or not; if there is no progress under a particular intervention, we need to reevaluate the program and change it so that the child begins to make progress.
Parents are indispensable in the child’s program. They play a necessary and critical role. Studies show that children whose parents are actively engaged in the process to make measurable gains. First, no one knows the child better than the parent; the parents provide critical and insightful information that will help guide the ABA program. Second, parents are able to continue to prompt and reinforce the child through his and her various daily activities – an essential component to generalizing skills. Finally, parents are in a position to be able to record and track ABC data in the home and community setting. This information is vital in hypothesizing the function (the “why”) of specific behaviors as well as for determining what conditions encourage behaviors to occur.