ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) refers to interventions that are developed from a branch of science called behaviour analysis.

ABA is much more than an intervention for children with autism. It can be used to help with anything from treating eating disorders to traffic control.

Behaviour analysts examine the causes and the consequences of behaviour. They then develop interventions based on this information.

One of the strengths of ABA for children with autism is that it can address every behaviour relevant to that child (both excesses and deficits). Behaviour Analysts are not distracted by the many different theories of the causes of autism  (along with their related treatments) and so have been able to steadily develop and refine their approach. Today’s modern ABA programmes look very different from those 20 years ago. ABA is now able to be much more flexible, functional and fun for the child.

The research shows that ABA is most effective for children with autism when used intensively (30-40 hours per week). These programmes are also known as EIBI (Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention). However, other ABA techniques e.g. PECS (picture exchange communication system), specific behaviour management techniques can also be very helpful on their own to target specific concerns without the intensive programme. Child Autism UK offers both the intensive service and short term programmes to target specific needs.

The Evidence

Behavioural interventions have undergone the most rigorous assessment compared with non-behavioural and eclectic approaches. There are many decades of research concerning the effectiveness of ABA in general and hundreds of more recent studies demonstrating the effectiveness of EIBI (Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention) with young children with autism.

Link: https://www.childautism.org.uk/about-autism/applied-behaviour-analysis-aba-and-autism/

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