May Institute

Applied Behavior Analysis

What most attracts parents to a program of applied behavior analysis (ABA) are its positive and reinforcing tone, its strong focus on teaching new skills, the documentation of progress in reports and charts, its foundation in research, and the manner in which it is individualized for every child.

ABA is a methodology, or framework, that applies scientific interventions to address behavioral needs. ABA facilitates the development of language, social interactions, and independent living by applying basic behavioral practices — positive reinforcement, teaching in small steps, prompting, and repeated practice. ABA can also help reduce both everyday social problems and serious behavior disorders.

Hundreds of scientific studies have shown that ABA is the most effective method to teach children and adolescents with autism and other developmental disabilities. ABA has been endorsed by the National Institutes of Health and the Association for Science in Autism Treatment and has been identified by the Surgeon General of the United States as the most effective way to treat autism.

According to the National Autism Center’s National Standards Report (2009), data collected through hundreds of studies indicate that ABA is a highly effective method to teach children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder.