What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?


So our jargon term for today is ABA. This is something that we talk about a lot and every once in a while, we get new viewers, I want to make sure that everybody knows what we're talking about. So our actual definition of ABA, are you ready?

ABA. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the application of the principals of learning and motivation from behavior analysis. Oh, well that's crystal clear now. It employs procedures and technology derived from scientifically demonstrated principles of behavior to increase socially significant behaviors and decrease unwanted or inappropriate behaviors.

Now, I just want to say that I have crossed over to the dark side because I read this now and go, "Yes, of course, that's exactly what it means." But I remember the first time I looked this up, I went, "What in the heck does that mean?" They use the exact same words they just rearrange them 12 times and I'm no closer to knowing what it is we're talking about and why is this important to me.

The truth of the matter is that I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say to you I think ABA saved our collective lives in my family. It is amazing. So what is it really for those of us who don't understand this definition.

Our working definition. ABA is a proven method of increasing teaching desired behavior and reducing unwanted behavior. Increasing or teaching desired behavior and reducing unwanted behaviors. So we can get all emotional and talk about all the symptoms of autism and all the behaviors that are happening in autism. But basically when you get through all the emotion and the fear and everything, you basically can put things in two different columns.

And a parent can say, "I'm so frightened because my child isn't making eye contact." Okay, well that's a skill we want to increase. And they say, "I'm frightened because my child is biting me." Okay, that's a behavior we want to decrease. "I'm afraid that my child isn't going to be able to read." Okay, we want to increase a bunch of skills in order to get them to be able to read. "I am concerned because my child doesn't respond when I say his name." Okay, well that's a behavior that we want to increase. "My child is throwing things." Oh, a behavior that we want to decrease. "I want my child to be able to sleep." Oh, a behavior I want to increase.

Do you see what I'm saying? It all comes down to what do we want to increase and what do we want to decrease. And if you could just change the dial on those things, what would your life look like? And what would your child's life look like? What would everyone's life look like? And ABA is a very scientifically proven method of being able to get to that quickly and efficiently.

Increasing behaviors that we want to see more of, and skills, and decreasing behaviors we want to see less of. It is amazing. I have referred to ABA as the autism miracle in my living room. And I do that with not shame what so ever. It changed our lives. Quality ABA for intervention for autism is the gold standard of treatment for autism. It has been the gold standard of treatment for autism for multiple decades.

The surgeon general has referred to it as the gold standard of treatment. It's so important now more insurance funding is covering it, it's so important for people to take advantage of that and get it. It is also equally if not more important people make sure they are getting quality ABA because not everyone is. Some people are getting watered down, doesn't get it done the ABA.

So we do talk about ABA on the show for the reason that it is so effective and we talk about it to let people know what quality ABA looks like, what can happen when quality ABA is on board and how to ensure that someone gets the funding for it and carries through on it. It's so important that we all be involved in making sure that all individuals with autism are given the option of getting good quality ABA in the amount that we know to be effective. ABA, it's miraculous.

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