What is ABA?
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a scientific approach to understanding learning and behavior. The principles of ABA focus on how behaviors change, or are affected by the environment, as well as how learning takes place. ABA requires the implementation of established principles of learning, behavioral strategies, and environmental modifications to improve and teach new behaviors.
In practice, implementation must be systematic so therapists can identify how behavior can be changed and understand how learning occurred. The ultimate goal of ABA is to create meaningful changes in socially significant behaviors. Such behaviors can include social, communication, maladaptive behaviors, play, daily living skills and academics. Essentially, any skill that will enhance the independence and/or quality of life for the individual.
Today, ABA is widely recognized as a safe and effective treatment for Autism. It has been endorsed as an evidence-based best practice treatment by a number of state and federal agencies, including the US Surgeon General, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institute of Health and the American Psychiatric Association.
Although there is a continuum of possible treatment possibilities in ABA treatment (intensity, duration, # of treatment goals, intensity of target behaviors, hours of direct treatment provided, etc.), in recent years the following treatment models for defining levels “intensive ABA treatment” have been put forth by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and adopted by most Commercial Insurance providers. These models are not intended to restrict or dictate treatment, they merely provide a universal method of categorization for treatment.