‘ Applied behavior analysis is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behavior ‘ Maine Administrators of Services for Children with Disabilities (1999).
For example, following an assessment of a child’s inappropriate social interactions, a therapist may try to improve those skills by demonstrating some of the right ways to interact with other children and by rewarding the child when he does so correctly. The therapist may then analyse the success or otherwise of this approach and then modify it to improve the behaviour further.
The principles of applied behavioural analysis are incorporated within many specific interventions (such as early intensive behavioural intervention) and within many specific programmes (such as the Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention UCLA model ). Confusingly, some people refer to these specific programmes as ABA – even though ABA covers a wide range of different interventions.
Please click here for a list of some of the interventions and techniques that use ABA.
The literature on applied behavioural analysis suggests that it can be used to change a huge variety of behaviours in individuals with autism, including improving social and communication skills, and reducing repetitive and stereotyped behaviours.
Because there are many different interventions, programmes and techniques used to help individuals with autism which incorporate the principles of applied behaviour analysis it is not possible to provide a ranking for applied behavioural analysis as a whole.
However there is very strong positive evidence for some individual interventions that use applied behavioural analysis, such as early intensive behavioural intervention. There is less strong but still positive evidence for other approaches which use applied behavioural analysis, such as incidental teaching and pivotal response training.
Thus there is still a need for more research in some areas. For example,
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Last Updated : 25/01/2013 Back to Top