January 6, 2017

Why Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?

ABA therapy is a discipline that aims to systematically change an unwanted behavior of an individual into positive behavior,their environment and the society, by using appropriate techniques. ABA therapy, which has been proposed by an American research group in 1960s, developed gradually to this day and is used in a wide range of fields such as clinical behavior analysis, that comprises of applied animal behavior, criminology, organizational behavior management, positive behavior support and cognitive behavior therapy. Besides that, it especially carries out successful studies on children struggling with autism spectrum disorder that benefit both children and their natural environments.

ABA therapy affects individuals’ lives on so many levels

In these studies that are conducted on a wide range of autistic people from preschoolers to adults, ABA therapy techniques provide significant progress in communication, social relations, games, personal care, school and even finding a suitable job for oneself. Separate studies of behavior technicians on every age range person with autism proved that thanks to intensive ABA therapy, participation in the family may increase, communication activities can be developed, and socially significant behavior can be built.

It is possible to see in these study results that many children with autism spectrum that joined high quality ABA therapy programs seem to make progress in learning, creating cause-effect relation, communication and adjustment. However, it is also observed that few children made less progress. The question of why some children with autism respond well to treatment while others do not make progress still remains and there are many ongoing studies on the issue.

Lastly, in the light of these study results, it is possible to say that there is a major difference in terms of progress between children who got applied behavior analysis and children who practiced special education programs. It is observed that a child suffering from autism spectrum disorder that practices an efficient ABA therapy program made much more progress than a child who practices special education program. Besides that, the stress that parents of ABA-children have seems to be less than the other ones.

ABA Therapy does not only teach the child

The answer to “why should I prefer applied behavior analysis over other special education programs?” will definitely be “because ABA therapy teaches how to teach your child”. ABA, also known as ”Science of Good Teaching“, Autism Speaks studies on right behavior of people and uses the results to provide a much better life for children with autism. With new techniques and advancements discovered every day for 50 years, life is made easier for many children with autism and their parents.

The concept of ABA therapy is simple; systematically break learning into small pieces and teach the child piece by piece. The child, who is taught how to learn, will gain a new skill every day.

So how does ABA therapy work?

When a child needs to show a new behavior, behavior analysts suggest that it is necessary to prepare a suitable environment for the child to perform these specific behaviors easily. Once the child exhibits the behavior, he should be further encouraged with positive reinforcement he should be further encouraged. The child learn new skills in more efficient ways to get what he wants and the parents are happier with their child that exhibits socially appropriate behavior and has developed communication skills. Thus, the behavioral modification comes with ABA is a win for everyone.

Parents can learn ABA therapy systems

Although it seems complicated, many procedural advices in ABA therapy can be applied by people that are not behavior analyst. You can learn how to easily practice this plan on your child if you stick with the professionally developed intensive aba theraphy plan. Any skill can be taught in a breeze with ABA therapy. The important issue here is to learn the best strategy for the skill you would like to teach. Thanks to 50 years of scientific researches, these methods are open to everyone without the fear of trial and error.

To mention the only problem with ABA therapy; it is not the only program or treatment of autism that you can apply to your autistic children. Your children are already learning things from their environments. Whether or not you understand how to practice ABA therapy, your children are already learning things form their environment every waking moment. This brings up the question: “What does this “environment” mean that my child is constantly learning things from?“. The most accurate answer to this question is “it is every behavior that you would like to know how to change”. Hence, the sooner you meet with ABA and behavioral therapy, the better it is for you and your child.


  • University of Washington - Autistic Self Advocacy Network Autism Speaks:


This article is examined by Clinical Child Psychologist and Ph. D. Researcher Kevser Çakmak, and produced by Otsimo Editorial Team.

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This post does not provide medical advice. See Additional Information.