Behaviour Analysis is the science of behaviour. Applied behaviour analysis (ABA) is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviours to a meaningful degree.
The Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) approach teaches social, motor, and verbal behaviours as well as reasoning skills. ABA treatment is especially useful in teaching behaviours to children with autism who may otherwise not “pick up” these behaviours on their own as other children would. The ABA approach can be used by a parent, counselor, or certified behaviour analyst.
ABA uses careful behavioural observation and positive reinforcement or prompting to teach each step of a behaviour. A child’s behaviour is reinforced with a reward when he or she performs each of the steps correctly. Undesirable behaviours, or those that interfere with learning and social skills, are watched closely. The goal is to determine what happens to trigger a behaviour, and what happens after that behaviour to reinforce it. The idea is to remove these triggers and reinforcers from the child’s environment. New reinforcers are then used to teach the child a different behaviour in response to the same trigger.
ABA treatment can include any of several established teaching tools, including discrete trial training, incidental teaching, pivotal response training, fluency building, and verbal behaviour (VB).