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.

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Applied Behaviour Analysis is the science of behaviour and learning of socially significant behaviours. They need to be meaningful to the people we serve and support them in achieving a better quality of life. 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:

  • Cooperation
  • Expanding preference for items and activities
  • Flexibility
  • Reducing excessive and inappropriate behaviours
  • Attending skills
  • Reducing behavioural supports in line with learner readiness and the acquisition of independence
  • Behaviours 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.