Applied Behavior AnalysisLast updated Thursday, April 28, 2011 |
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) or behavior therapy, is a commonly misunderstood treatment that is used for children diagnosed with Autism. As the name implies, behavior therapy deals with just that …behavior. However, contrary to popular belief, the term "behavior" does not just refer to two-year-old's tantrums.
Behavior is anything and everything that a person says or does. Thus, behavior analysts not only address behaviors which are problematic, but those skills which need to be taught, such as language, self-care, and social skills. The key to ABA is that the behaviors that are addressed are socially significant and the interventions produce measurable improvement in the person’s life.
Applied Behavioral Analysis is a comprehensive approach to understanding and addressing behavior based on the principles of operant conditioning. This principle states that behavior is directly influenced by the events that proceed and follow it. Thus, if you change the events you change the behavior. ABA is used to reduce problematic behaviors through replacement with those that are more appropriate. It is successfully used to teach new skills to individuals in all environments - home, school, and the workplace.
In addition to being the treatment of choice for individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, it has proven itself effective in addressing the needs of individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder, Non Verbal Learning Disorder, Communication Disorders, and Learning Disabilities, as well as a host of other behavior problems. Behavior analysts focus attention on reducing behavioral excesses, such as tantrum behavior and hyperactivity, while addressing skill deficits like self-help/motor-skills, social skills, theory of mind, language, and play domains.
The beauty of ABA and the reason it is the foundation for most learning programs is that it does not take a “one size fits all” approach to education and treatment. The science of ABA allows teachers to customize education to the learner. We are all unique in both the way we learn and what drives us to learn. ABA accounts for this and it enables us to create successful programs for any level learner allowing ongoing data collection to guide our teaching/interventions.