Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)

Applied Behaviour Analysis has been defined as ‘the science in which procedures derived from the principles of behaviour are systematically applied to improve socially significant behaviour to a meaningful degree and to demonstrate empirically the procedures employed were responsible for that improvement’(Cooper, Heron & Heward, 1987, p. 14)

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is the application of behavioural principles to human behaviour, and focuses on changing socially significant behaviour in meaningful ways. It is a set of principles on which educational programs for learners are based. It is not a set curriculum, although there are curricula available based on a behaviour analytic approach.

Applied Behaviour Analysis based programs have been in use in special education, and in the education of children who have autism spectrum disorders in particular, since the 1960’s. These approaches include but are not limited to:

  • Intensive Behavioural Intervention
  • Discrete Trial Instruction
  • Natural Environment Training
  • The UCLA model
  • Applied Verbal Behaviour
  • Functional Assessment of Behaviour
  • Positive Behaviour Support
  • Pivotal Response Treatment