I hear a lot what is applied behavior analysis (ABA)? What do you do every day? Well, I am a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and I work with individuals with special needs, that is the simple answer.

Applied behavior analysis is an evidence-based intervention. Individuals have implemented the intervention over the years to make significant and meaningful changes to a person’s life. Even though I currently only work with individuals with autism spectrum disorder, the intervention can be used with anyone or anything. For instance, animal training, obesity, drug addiction and geriatric patients. Applied behavior analysis is a intervention that individuals can receive in school, home and community.

Using the principles of reinforcement and consequences, therapist work to bring about change to any behavior. The change can include activities of daily living, education, communication, toileting, eating, and reducing self-injurious behaviors to just name a few. Many individuals believe that ABA is only for younger children and it only works on problem behaviors, that is not true at all.

A certified individual can support individuals in multiple ways:

  • Decreasing problem behaviors (yelling, spitting, hitting, kicking)
  • Increasing replacement behaviors (things an individual can do instead of the problem behavior)
  • Increasing functional skills (cooking, communication, bathing, hair cutting, eating, social skills)

In conclusion, the simple answer to, “what do you do?” is I love helping people make changes in their lives that can impact them in the future. Over the years, I personally have helped individuals learn how to express their emotions, answer yes and no questions, cut with scissors, use the toilet, open gifts at their birthday and ride a bike, just to name a few. The possibilities for skills that can be targeted are endless and should be individualized for the individual.

Continue to follow this blog to learn more about applied behavior analysis.