The acronym ABA signifies “Applied Behaviour Analysis”. ABA is a science whose procedures derived from behavioural principles are systematically applied to improve socially significant behaviours and who experimentally demonstrate how these procedures are responsible for improving behaviour. (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2008).
The works of B.F. Skinner, one of the most well-known behaviourists of the 20th century, are the origin of ABA.
Applied Behaviour Analysis targets:
- Increase socially significant adaptive behaviours
- Develop emerging skills
- Decrease socially significant inappropriate behaviours (notably disruptive behaviours that hinder the child’s learning (independence, autonomy, etc…).
- Dividing complex tasks into several small and easy steps that allow for personalized and intensive teaching.
- Identifying individualized and appropriate rewards (reinforcers) in order to create an enjoyable teaching environment and motivate the child to learn.
- Providing sufficient help so that the child is successful when accomplishing a difficult task without error.
- Providing repetition and frequent teaching opportunities in order to facilitate the acquisition of skills.
- Insuring effective learning by systematic recording and measurements of progress / difficulties via data collection.
- Ensuring parental involvement to generalize skills outside of the intensive learning environment so that they have a positive impact for both the child and the family.
The supervision of the practice of ABA is regulated by two levels of behaviour analysts:
– BCBA supervisors (Board Certified Behaviour Analysts), master’s level with a total required theoretical and practical experience in ABA of 1500 hours of which 5% of the total hours are supervised as well as the completion of a certification exam.
– BCaBA supervisors (Board Certified Assistant Behaviour Analysts), bachelor’s level with a practical and theoretical experience in ABA of 750 hours of which 5% of the total hours are supervised as well as the completion of a certification exam.
Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2008). Applied Behaviour Analysis (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.