What is Applied Behaviour Therapy (ABA)?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a therapy based on the science of learning and behavior. ABA therapy applies our understanding of how behavior works to real situations. The goal is to increase behaviors that are helpful and decrease behaviors that are harmful or affect learning. Interventions based on ABA for the treatment of autism are considered to be the most effective in teaching new skills and reducing problem behavior.

Over the past 40 years, several thousand research studies have documented the effectiveness of ABA across a wide range of:

  • Populations (children and adults with mental illness, developmental disabilities and learning disorders)
  • Interventionists (parents, teachers and staff)
  • Settings (schools, homes, institutions, group homes, hospitals and business offices)
  • Behaviours (language; social, academic, leisure and functional life skills; aggression, self-injury, oppositional and stereotyped behaviors)

There are many different teaching strategies that are used under the umbrella of Applied Behaviour Analysis. These include shaping and chaining behaviours. In addition, it includes specific teaching strategies such as discrete trial instruction, incidental teaching, fluency based instruction and many more. Each of these instructional techniques has a rich empirical support base.