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Applied Behavior Analysis

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the science in which procedures derived from experimental analysis of behavior, applied behavioral research, and behavioral psychology are used to address socially significant problems. ABA is used to develop data-based individualized programs to teach communication, social skills, self-regulation, coping skills and self-care.

At ABLS, traditional behavioral instructional methods, such as discrete trials, are combined with Naturalistic Teaching Methods (e.g., Pivotal Response Training and Natural Environment Training) and other evidence-based approaches to create a program that meets the needs of each child. Programs focus on the acquisition of skills and the generalization of these skills to natural environments. A systematic, data-driven approach to generalization is used to ensure that skills become part of the child​’​s functional behavior repertoire. At ABLS we believe that in order to provide high quality services for children, it is important to attend to the specific needs of their families and their particular circumstances. In keeping with this philosophy, services are tailored to fit the unique profile of each child and his/her family and may include home visits, community outings, participation in virtual Social Clubs and consultation to the family.

When programming for very young children diagnosed with Autism, ABLS emphasizes the use of positive reinforcement and ongoing assessment of each child​’​s unique preferences in order to maintain motivation. We believe that expectations need to increase gradually, as the relationship between the child and the Behavior Technician strengthens and the child​’​s attention span and motivation increases. Instructional demands are carefully titrated according to the unique characteristics and learning history of each child. This systematic and gradual introduction of structure significantly increases cooperation and motivation and fosters the development of a caring, positive relationship between the student and the instructor.

As for specific curricula that guide treatment planning, traditional discrete trial programs are combined with incidental teaching, curricula informed by research on verbal behavior and/or picture exchange communication systems.​ ​Regardless of the specific approach used in its development, each treatment goal includes the following components:

(a) Operational definitions for the target behavior,
(b) A teaching procedure, including instructions and necessary materials,
(c) Precise data collection methods,
(d) Response to errors,
(e) Response to correct responses,
(f) Stimuli to be used as reinforcers,
(g) Criteria for advancement and remediation,
(h) Prompt hierarchies and prompt fading methods.

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Wellesley, MA, 02481

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