“Thirty years of research demonstrated the efficacy of applied behavioral methods

in reducing inappropriate behavior and in increasing communication,

learning and appropriate social behavior”

– U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1999) 1

What is ABA?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the science of behavior and learning, implemented in an individual’s natural environment. Behavior change and learning occur by adjusting variables in an individual’s environment to promote and maintain the desirable behaviors.
One of the major strengths of ABA comes from the use of detailed data collection and data analysis. Behavioral data provides proof that behavior changes and learning can be attributed to the intervention strategies being used and not due to other unknown variables.

Applied Behavior Analysis

  • Applied: the study and implementation of procedures that produce socially significant behavior changes. Behavior change and learning goals are designed to be relevant to the individual in the context of their life, family, community or culture.
  • Behavior: an action that must be observable and measurable. When these specifications are met, the behavior can be measured and quantified as behavioral data.
  • Analysis: has occurred when learning and behavior change can only be attributed to the procedures being implemented and not to other variables in the environment. Behavior Analysts strive to be analytical through the use of data collection and analysis, as well as peer review.
  • BCBA stands for Board Certified Behavior Analyst. This person has gone through university training at the Master’s level, had 225 classroom hours in ABA, had 1500 hours of supervised practicum experience, and passed an international exam to receive certification in Applied Behavioral Analysis.
  • BCaBA stands for Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst. This person has a Bachelors degree in a psychology related field, has 135 classroom hours of training, and 1000 hours of supervised practicum experience.
  • RBT stands for Registered Behavior Technician. This person has a high school diploma and may be working on their Bachelor’s degree in a psychology related field. They have had on the job training for 90 days, have completed a 40 hour computer based training curriculum, and passed the RBT certification exam given by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Why Should You Use ABA?

  • ABA is a structured way of learning any behavior, in any setting, with any living organism
  • Children who receive intensive and early ABA intervention improve more than those who receive eclectic approaches or non-intensive treatments. Howard, Sparkman, Cohen, Green and Stainslaw (2005) 2
  • When an individual’s progress is monitored through the collection of direct-observational data, proof of progress is available immediately.
  • Furthermore, proof of lack of progress is available immediately as well. So, the need to make adjustments to procedures and goals is apparent immediately!
  • With ABA, an individual’s program can be changed as soon or as often as necessary to ensure optimal and efficient progress

ABA can be incredibly effective for any individual when the procedures/treatments used are implemented consistently throughout the individual’s entire day. The most effective use of ABA will occur when the principles of ABA become a part of an individual’s daily life. When ABA becomes a way of living and dealing with all behavior, as opposed to a type of therapy that occurs for a few hours a week, learning and behavior become most efficient and optimal.


So, successful learning and behavioral improvements for an individual only start with the right clinic or therapist. As with any type of therapy, the caregiver’s (e.g. parent, day care provider, teacher, etc.) role in implementing the procedures/treatments is vital. Contact info@behaviortlc.com for more information on how to make ABA a part of your life!