Applied Behavior Analysis is a scientifically validated approach to understanding behavior and how it is affected by the environment. In this context, “behavior” refers to actions and skills, and “environment” includes any influence - physical or social - that might change or be changed by one’s behavior.
Since the 1960’s, therapists have been applying behavior analysis to help children with autism and related developmental disorders. Early techniques often involved adults directing most of the instruction; however, some recent naturalistic approaches encourage the child to take the lead. Through decades of research, the field of behavior analysis has developed many techniques for increasing useful behaviors and reducing those that may cause harm or interfere with learning.
On a practical level, the principles (how learning takes place) and methods of behavior analysis have helped many kinds of learners acquire many different skills. Techniques used within ABA can be used in structured situations, such as a classroom lesson or “everyday” situations such as family dinnertime or the neighborhood playground. Therapy sessions can include one-on-one interaction or group instruction.
Applied Behavior Analysis strives to bring meaningful and positive changes in behavior- from healthier lifestyles to the mastery of a new language - from toddlers through adulthood.