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What is ABA therapy?

Updated: Feb 9, 2021

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is concerned with the improvement of behavior and refers to the use of principles derived from the science of behavior to improve socially significant behavior (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007, p. 20). The term applied refers to this socially significant change.

ABA uses specific strategies and principles of learning to promote lasting behavior change. Research has shown that the use techniques and strategies used by behavior analysts can effectively change challenging and very disruptive behavior. In addition, it can be used to teach new appropriate behaviors, increase communication (language), improve social skills and create independent skills.

ABA therapy can improve behaviors, communications and teach new skills with the use of positive reinforcement. It focuses on changing behaviors that cause difficulty allowing children to develop the skills and strengths necessary for a fulfilling, independent life.

One of the principles of ABA is that all behaviors have a function. By determining what the function of the behavior is, we can better predict and therefore change it. Key components to understanding behavior is to observe and record.

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