Applied Behavior Analysis
A SCIENTIFIC WAY TO LEARN
Behavior therapy has been around for over a century and began to be heavily researched as early as 1913. The systematic application and practice of behavior therapy, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), was founded in 1967 by Dr. Lovaas. He was able to prove the effectiveness of ABA as a form of early intervention using the behavior technique called Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT). In fact, ABA is the only therapy endorsed by the surgeon general for the treatment of Autism.
When most people think of behavior, they think tantrums, talk-back, and hitting. While all of those are behaviors, they are not the only behaviors we treat. Behavior is defined as anything a person does. Once we begin to realize the vastness of behavior we can begin to understand the scope of ABA. From emerging speakers and object tracking to job training and checkbook balancing, ABA can teach it.
Board-Certified Behavior Analysts teach new skills and modify current skills by using environmental factors to increase or decrease a behavior. This can be done through environmental manipulations and using reinforcement or punishment techniques. All of this combined is called operant conditioning.
ABA can look different across settings, providers, and children. ABA can be done by using flashcards and work materials, during playtime, or out in the community. The two most important factors to look for in your ABA provider are that data collection and visual analysis are being conducted every session and most importantly that you feel comfortable with your child's team and the therapy being provided.