Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, is a scientific approach to studying and changing behavior. This behavior change covers a broad range of behaviors, from improving academic skills to reducing harmful or disruptive behaviors.
Research supports that high-quality, intensive therapy programs based on the principles of ABA provide the best outcomes for children diagnosed with autism and other neurological and developmental disabilities.
What is Applied Behavioral Analysis? Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based approach to teaching socially significant behaviors. This approach is derived from the principles of learning and is used to teach any set of skills or behaviors that are in need of change. ABA uses objective and reliable data collection systems to monitor behavior change and is individualized to each child based on his/her specific needs.
As all individuals are different, they may not learn the same as their peers. Therefore, alternative teaching methods may be necessary in order to effectively assist in learning. In an ABA program, motivation is a key component. When a child is motivated to learn, learning becomes fun rather than challenging. The child can “Learn how to Learn” via ABA.
How ABA Works
A professional, trained and experienced in applied behavior analysis, will complete an assessment on the individual. This assessment is often a skills assessment or functional behavioral assessment to determine the child’s current skill level and function of any maladaptive behaviors (tantrums, physical aggression, non-compliance, self injurious behavior, etc). From there the function of specific behaviors can be determined and goals for teaching can be established. Positive reinforcement is used to increase the duration and frequency of appropriate behaviors, while reduction procedures and replacement behaviors are put in place to decrease/eliminate maladaptive behaviors. Data collection procedures are applied for each targeted behavior and analyzed by the ABA team.
Trained ABA therapists will implement the programs and a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) oversees the program in order to make appropriate data based decisions on all programs. Parents, therapists and consultants work together as a team to discuss data, current goals and targets, as well as future programming. Our team at AEL provides services for individuals and families affected by, but not limited to: Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), ODD/CD, other developmental disabilities, ADHD, ADD, and/or any typically developing child/adult with challenging behaviors or behaviors in need of change (anxiety, diet/nutrition, bad habits, etc).
- Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) (ABLLS-R, VB-MAPP, etc...)
- Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) development for maladaptive behaviors
- Ongoing data analysis and graphing
- Family/Parent training
- Personalized skill acquisition programming based on the learning style and history of the learner.
- Social skills, activities of daily living, self-management, coping skills, and functional communication development
- Community & School support
- Systematic approach to maximize independent functioning
- Transition & Support plans
- Innovative strategies developed to meet the needs of each learner/family
- Continuous and systematic evaluation throughout services
- Providing highly qualified and trained therapists for daily treatment
- Communication with all outside supports (teacher, OT, PT, SLP, etc...)
What Are Socially Significant Behaviors?
Socially significant behaviors are behaviors that would benefit the individual’s quality of life and lead to a greater opportunity for independence.
- Functional Language skills
- Reduction of maladaptive behaviors
- Self help skills/Activities of Daily Living
- Motor Skills and Imitation skills
- Social Skills
- Independent play skills
What is a BCBA?
Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
This individual has a credential from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, a nonprofit credentialing organization accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. This certification is given to individuals who have a master’s degree with coursework in Applied Behavior Analysis. Individuals must also complete a minimum of 1000 hours of supervised experience by an experienced BCBA, and take a comprehensive exam covering knowledge of the field.
What is not a BCBA and why should I be concerned?
BCaBA - A Board Certified Associate Behavior Analyst- This individual is certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, but as a BCaBA, their treatments need to be supervised by a BCBA.
Behavior Specialist, Autism Specialist, Autism Intervention Specialist, etc - Other individuals may provide services to individuals with autism but their titles may not indicate high quality experience, education, or treatment services. Be cautious of individuals who claim they are a “behavior specialist” or “autism specialist” etc.
Choose your provider with careful consideration.