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What is Applied Behaviour Analysis?


ABA stands for Applied Behaviour Analysis. Putting all the scientific jargon aside, ABA utilises the core principles of behaviour analysis and applies them to real-life issues, in order to make a meaningful change that is of social significance, not only for the person in question but also for those closest to the individual such as friends and family members.

Emphasis is placed on socially significant behaviours and skill sets so that behaviour analysts teach what is actually needed for an individual, and not what others want or deem necessary. Behaviour analysts teach what is

relevant for that person and their family, equipping them with the tools that they require in order to navigate the world and allowing them to access new learning opportunities and environments that were otherwise inaccessible.

Behaviour analysts teach skills such as language, communication, social skills, daily living skills, healthy sleep patterns, academic skills, toileting, feeding and much more. We also reduce behaviours that are of social significance e.g. behaviours that might be stopping an individual from accessing environments and preventing them from engaging with parents, peers and most importantly, behaviours that impede the individuals learning. In addition to this, behaviours such as self-injurious or aggressive behaviours, which may harm the individual and others around them would be of social importance for meaningful change. Again, we do not target behaviours that are not deemed socially significant. For example, hand flapping might be something that an adult in the person's life feels uncomfortable about and would like this behaviour to be targeted in order to encourage social acceptance, but this behaviour may be functioning as a coping mechanism for the person, and may not necessarily interfere with this persons learning. Most importantly, if this behaviour is not interfering with the person's day-to-day functioning, nor preventing them from accessing learning environments, social inclusion and so on, the behaviour is not deemed a socially significant behaviour for behaviour reduction, and therefore will not be targeted.

The Behaviour Analyst Certification Board (BACB) offer an insightful explanation of applied behaviour analysis