Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a fairly simple but effective form of therapy that uses the way each subject reacts to changes in his or her environment to modify or stop a certain behavior.  Today we’re going to go over the basics of what it helps with, how it works, and where you should go to learn more!

What it helps:

ABA is most often used to treat people with developmental disabilities.  Children on the Autism spectrum (Autism, Aspergers, PDD-NOS) can greatly benefit from ABA when dealing with behavioral, language, and social issues.  But it can be applied to many things ranging from seatbelt use to other severe mental disorders. While most commonly used when working with children, it can also help adults.

How it works:

There a number of ABA applications that are employed based on each case, but what they all revolve around is the following four ideas:

  • A clear understanding of the issues to be addressed
  • Interaction with the subject to determine what motivates or discourages them
  • Breaking down whatever behavior needs to be improved or discouraged into the simplest steps possible
  • Using the understanding attained in the second step to motivate or discourage each step of the behavior

Example:  Tommy has Autism and is having difficulty remembering the alphabet.  Tommy’s therapist interacts with him and discovers that he loves putting puzzles together.  Tommy’s therapist offers him a puzzle piece for every successive letter of the alphabet that he recites to her.

Want to see it in action? Here’s a look at a session featuring a wonderful therapist and little boy named Nathan.  Nathan loves trains and bubbles, so the therapist uses them to help Nathan begin learning how to observe and respond appropriately to the actions of those around him (a social skill that many Autistic children struggle with).

Where to learn more?


Tagged with:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>