What is ABA?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is an evidenced-based therapeutic practices that aims to improve quality of life indicators. ABA-based interventions typically focus on pro-active strategies and positive reinforcement (providing rewards) to increase socially appropriate behaviors (e.g. skills that will increase independence and quality of life for the individual and their family ), while decreasing maladaptive problem behavior (e.g. dangerous behavior, or behavior that impedes learning and/or independence.) An ABA approach can help in identifying the important environmental variables that can be impacting behavior as well as provide insight to why behaviors may be occurring. Quality ABA programs include initial and ongoing assessment measure to determine potential functions of behavior as well as potential reinforcers and skill deficits. Through these thorough assessment measure, individualized treatment programming can begin and can identify both the behaviors targeted for reduction as well as behaviors targeted for acquisition. Behaviors targeted for decrease and/or increase are precisely defined and can be used to develop a specific interventions and teaching plans.  Once the interventions and teaching plans are implemented, data is taken and closely monitored to provide direct measures of progress, assess the need for immediate modification to maximize success, and provides the opportunity to make data driven decisions.  Teaching plans may break skills down into small, manageable parts, implement highly specific teaching strategies, use prompts to support correct responding, and include the use of positive reinforcement. Development and implementation of these interventions should occur with all valuable stakeholders in an individual’s life to ensure viable and realistic treatment approaches.

The way positive reinforcement is carried out is more important than the amount.

B.F. Skinner


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