Applied Behavior Analysis

What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a natural science of human behavior that applies evidence-based strategies in real-world settings, such as clinics or schools, with the aim of improving issues of social importance (e.g., behavior problems, skill acquisition).

therapist and child, smiling

ABA interventions are typically designed to address specific skill deficits, such as social skills or self-care skills, or other behavioral concerns (e.g., aggression, self-injury, disruptive behavior, pica). Interventions for behavioral concerns often involve first identifying the environmental conditions under which the behavior does and does not occur in order to identify the function of the behavior (i.e., why it occurs). This information is then used to guide the development of an individualized, function-based treatment. Typically, function-based treatments involve altering the physical or social environment in ways that minimize problem behavior and promote adaptive behavior.

ABA interventions have proven effective at addressing a wide range of behavioral concerns with many different individuals. Decades of research have shown that ABA interventions are effective in reducing problem behavior and establishing adaptive skills in children, adolescents and adults with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (including autism spectrum disorder) in home, school, clinic, community and industry settings.

Common features of all ABA interventions include:

Is Applied Behavior Analysis evidence based?

Based on the empirical evidence, many scientific, government and professional agencies and organizations have concluded that ABA-based procedures represent best practice for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder.


How do I learn more about ABA?