Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy
The Minnesota Autism Center implements Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. Applied Behavior Analysis is a natural science approach to understanding behavior. ABA is the use of behavior analytic methods and research findings to change socially important behaviors in meaningful ways. Since the early 1960’s, hundreds of researchers have documented the effectiveness of ABA principles and methods for building a wide range of important skills and reducing problem behavior in individuals with autism and related disorders of all ages.
Today, bona fide ABA programming for learners with autism combines many research-validated methods into a comprehensive but highly individualized package. For each learner, skills to be increased and problem behaviors to be decreased are clearly defined in observable terms and are measured carefully by direct observation.
Selection of treatment goals for each individual is guided by data from that initial assessment, and a curriculum scope and sequence that list skills in all domains (learning to learn, communication, social, academic, self-care, motor, play and leisure, etc.). These skills are broken into smaller component skills and sequenced developmentally, or from simple to complex. The overall goal is to help each learner develop skills that will enable him or her to be as independent and successful as possible in the long run.
Effective ABA programming blends discrete-trial procedures with a variety of other ABA methods, including child-initiated instructional sequences (known as incidental teaching procedures), task analysis and chaining to teach skills involving sequences of actions or steps, instructional trials embedded in ongoing activities, and other procedures. There is a heavy emphasis on making learning enjoyable and on engaging the learner in positive social interactions.