“Applied behavior analysis is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behavior.” (Baer, Wolf, & Risley, 1968)
In other words, applied behavior analysis (ABA) uses established behavioral principles contingently to increase desirable behaviors. Behavior analysts also utilize behavioral principles to reduce maladaptive behaviors and teach more positive replacements. ABA therapy targets skills that will make a meaningful impact on the life of the recipient, be it in terms of one’s level of independence, one’s ability to communicate effectively with others, one’s ability to make and sustain friendships, one’s ability to access his or her community, etc. Common focal points of programming are related to language, communication, social skills, self-help, daily living skills, and the reduction of challenging behaviors. A number of evidence-based practices are employed in ABA therapy to target individualized learning objectives. Each client has a unique set of behavioral strengths as well as areas in need of support, and ABA therapy is tailored to help individuals reach their maximum potential.