Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a widely recognized scientific approach which applies the techniques and principles of learning to improve socially significant behaviour and bring about meaningful and positive change in behavior. Through decades of research, the field of behavior analysis has developed a wide variety of techniques for building useful skills in learners while reducing those that may cause harm or interfere with learning. ABA therapy sessions often involve one-on-one interaction between the behavior analyst and the individual, however, group instruction can also be effective.
Teaching techniques based on ABA has been shown to not only foster basic skills such as looking, listening and imitating, but also significantly improve complex skills such as reading, conversing and understanding another person’s perspective. All ABA programs share similar components including discrete trial teaching, programming for generalization to the natural environment, reinforcement, prompting and fading strategies, and outcome-based decision-making. Based on over 50 years of scientific investigation with individuals with autism and other behaviours and developmental disabilities, ABA has also been shown to be effective in reducing disruptive and challenging behaviours such as self-injury, tantrums, non-compliance and self-stimulatory behaviours.