Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the science of human behavior and learning that began with the work of B.F. Skinner over 70 years ago. Skinner taught us that learning can be accelerated by arranging the learning environment and consequences of behavior in classrooms. Teachers or parents who actively work to organize the learning environments of their students to accelerate learning are more effective than those teachers who instead rely on the student to organize his environment.
Through many years of research in the field of ABA, we have learned that the important parts of the learning environments that we need to organize are:
What we do to make a behavior occur.
What we do after the behavior occurs to make it stronger in the future. In other words, if we want a child with autism to learn to come to us every time we call him then we have to
do something to make the behavior occur (call him) and then
What is ABA?
Applied behavior analysis is the extension of operant (focus on observable behavior in individuals) methodology to the modification of human behavior.
History of ABA (very brief):
Watson & Raynor (1920): Conditioned a phobic reaction in an I I month old child.
Hull (1943): Stimulus- response learning theory
Skinner (1953): Extended operant principles to human problems. Criticized the psychoanalytic approach and adopted a philosophical position of radical behaviorism (only observable behavior can be the subject of scientific investigation).
Eysenck(1959): Defined behavior therapy as an applied science (as opposed to psychotherapy).
Behavioral treatment applied to autism focuses on increasing behavioral deficits and decreasing behavioral excesses.
'ABA' is a general term. There are several different behavioral treatments for many disorders including autism.
Behavioral Treatments/Programs for Autism