ABA techniques are based on scientific principles and they can be very effective at increasing skills we would like our learners to acquire and reducing behaviours that are inappropriate and excessive, and which are impacting in a person's learning and quality of life.
Applied Behaviour Analysis is the science of learning socially significant behaviours that are part of the community in which we live. Examples of socially significant behaviours are as below:
Requesting for wants and needs
Learning to use the toilet
Learning play, social and leisure skills
Being able to perform independent living skills and self-help tasks
Learning academic skills
Increasing the variety of foods
Improving levels of tolerance to medical procedures and routine appointment such as the dentist and the hairdresser
We can also use the science of ABA to teach individuals readiness for learning skills and decrease behaviours of concern which include skills such as:
Expanding preference for items and activities
Reducing excessive and inappropriate behaviours
Reducing behavioural supports in line with learner readiness and the acquisition of independence
Behavious of concern include: Feeding, Sleep and inappropriate and excessive behaviours such as teaching a child to stop when out and about and reducing throwing behaviour. Other examples are challenging behaviours which include self-injury and aggression towards others.
Applied Behaviour Analysis has been used with a variety of populations including those with autism and developmental disabilities (Van Houten et al, 1988; Roane et al, 2016).
Studies show the effectiveness of ABA in the teaching of children with developmental disabilities when compared with eclectic approaches (Howard et. al, 2005). However, ABA is not just used with autism and developmental disabilities.
ABA can also also be used:
In organisations as part of staff training (Parsons, Hollinson & Reid, 2010)
With individuals that require self-management strategies to deal with areas they are struggling with such as addiction (Petry, N. M. et al, 2000)
To help with anxiety and depression (Hayes, S & Smith, S., 2005).
ABA is also used successfully in animal training (Pryor, K., 1999).
ABA literature has studies published and evidence based research in each of the above areas. This list is not exhaustive.
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