What is ABA?

A natural science that evaluates behavior-environment relations that are socially significant. Practitioners of ABA are board certified or licensed professionals who observe, measure and change behaviors that are socially significant and sensitive to the rules of the local community. Evidence-based methods are utilized, behavioral data is used as a tool for decision making. Each behavior-change strategy is monitored closely for effectiveness. ABA procedures must be explicitly defined and provided consistently to enable meaningful behavior change. In order to be effective meaningful behavior changes must occur in various locations, not just in a training setting, such as a classroom, therapy space, or single-setting location. Generalization of those behavior changes is as important as the behaviors themselves and must be actively planned.

Some basic procedures include shaping, prompting, differential reinforcement, errorless learning, extinction, and generalization. These programs may be adjusted based on the techniques used to “fit the individual’s learning needs” and response to intervention. There is no standard “cut and paste” ABA program. This could be dangerous, as we have learned from decades of field development, such as the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Seven Dimensions of ABA



Applied interventions deal with measurable behavior (or reports if they can be validated)


Applied interventions are designed from the outset to operate in new environments and continue after the formal treatments have ended.



Applied interventions produce strong, socially important effects



Applied interventions are described well enough that they can be implemented by anyone with training and resources.



Applied interventions deal with problems of demonstrated social importance


Conceptually Systematic

Applied interventions arise from a specific and identifiable theoretical base rather than being a set of packages or tricks


Applied interventions require an objective demonstration that the procedures caused the effect