Support jargon: What is ABA?

Apr 12, 18 Support jargon: What is ABA?
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What is ABA?

Well, it is not the american bar association. At least not for the Seth’s Mom family. ABA stands for applied behavior analysis. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) located in Colorado, defines ABA as

A systematic approach for influencing socially important behavior through the identification of reliably related environmental variables and the production of behavior change techniques that make use of those findings. Practitioners of behavior analysis provide services consistent with the dimensions of ABA.

Common services may include, but are not limited to:

  • Conducting behavioral assessments
  • Analyzing data
  • Writing and revising behavior-analytic treatment plans
  • Training others to implement components of treatment plans
  • Overseeing the implementation of treatment plans

ABA defined in bite sized terms

ABA is a treatment or therapy that involves observing your child and watching for what causes behaviors (tantrums, self-injurious behavior, stimming, etc.). How your child generally interacts with his or her environment is also observed. After everything is taken into consideration (analyzing), the next step involves coming up with a plan (sometimes referred to as a BIP or behavior intervention plan) that not only informs staff and the family of behavior triggers but also shares what type of things (food, a favored toy, television time, etc.) reinforce appropriate behavior.

Some plans are more detailed and include instructions on how and when to give reinforcers. They can even target specific behaviors and work toward goals to minimize those behaviors. Behavior plans are included in your child’s IEP or an adult’s Individual Support Plan (ISP)

Who provides applied behavior analysis

ABA can be provided in any setting but is typically provided in school or at home. However, those who need 24-hour support such as a severely autistic adult may receive ABA services in the workplace. BACB describes specialist who draft the support plan as behavior analyst

Behavior analysts provide services to clients with a variety of needs including, but not limited to:

  • Organizational Functioning (e.g., staff performance, management and pay structure interventions)
  • Skill Deficits (e.g., communication, adaptive behavior)
  • Problem Behavior (e.g., aggression, self-injurious behavior)

The staff that work directly with people to help them accomplish behavior goals are behavior technicians (or behavior techs). Behavior techs work under the supervision of a behavior analyst.

Talk to us

Have you or your family member received ABA services? Did it work? Let us know. Contact Seth’s Mom about sharing your story in a Seth Talk session.


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External Resources

Disability Scoop

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

National Center for PTSD

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