ABA Therapy
ABA Intervention (treatment) refers to autism services based on the principles of applied behavior analysis. These principles were originally grew out of laboratory research, which in the 1960s and 70s were extended to schools, hospitals, residential services and many other community settings. Intervention is based on the premise that complex human skills are the result of accumulation of many smaller skills, which when combined, create typical daily social, communication and other skills of daily living. Highlights of the approach

1. Clearly specifying the behavior to be strengthened or reduced that will make a practical difference in the child’s life
2. Setting measurable goals
3. Design and implementing behavior change methods building on reinforcement and stimulus control procedures
4. Continuous measurement of target behavior to determine intervention effectiveness
5. Modification of procedures as indicated by success or lack of progress
6. Set new goals to expand skills to more naturalistic performance, and repeat the above.

Some behavior analysis methods are conducted in a quiet setting at a table, teaching the child new skills in a series of Discrete Trials (the UCLA Young Autism Model), while other ABA interventions are conducted in natural environments incidentally in the course of daily routines (e.g. Pivotal Response Training).

Evidence form over 30 studies indicate that approximately half of children with ASDs who receive 2-3 years of intensive intervention function similar to same age peers by 6 or 7 years of age. The other half usually show improvements, but not as dramatic.


1. Baer, D., Wolf, M., & Risley, R. (1968). Some current dimensions of applied behavior analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1, 91 - 97.

2. Lord, C. and McGee, J. Eds. (2001) Educating Children with Autism (2001) Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education of the National Academy of Sciences. Washington DC.

3. National Standards Project, http://www.nationalautismcenter.org/affiliates/

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