What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?
It is a method to enable individuals with Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder to function effectively.
It is the highest rated method by the Singapore Ministry of Health — Grade A (Level of Recommendation) and Level 1++ (Level of Evidence) (AMS-MOH Clinical Practice Guideline 1/2010). Details here.
It is recommended by the US Surgeon General as most proven for autism.
How is ABA done?
Each skill to be learned is broken down into manageable units so that each part can be taught effectively. This is done through discrete trials, where each unit of behavior is taught to mastery. Then learned units are put together to form more complex behavior.
Behavior excesses (behaviors that need to be decreased eg. tantrums) or behavior deficits (behaviors that need to be increased eg. eye contact) are managed to enable the individual to function effectively. This is done through positive reinforcement.
A comprehensive assessment is first done to determine the child’s skill level and behavior deficits and excesses. Then, an individualized ABA program is created based on the assessment.
ABA sessions involve teaching each unit of behavior. Data from each trial is recorded and analyzed to determine progress.
As the child learns each skill, he/she then progresses through his/her individualized program to learn more complex behaviors.