What is applied behavior analysis?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 15,174
    Autism expert Peggy Halliday discusses what an Applied Behavior Analysis is.

    Peggy Halliday

    Peggy Halliday is a board certified associate behavior analyst who has specialized in autism education for the past ten years. She is the Director of Outreach Services at the Virginia Institute of Autism (VIA) in Charlottesville, VA. VIA is a non-profit organization which provides a day school and other resources for families, educators, and other professionals seeking services, training or information about autism and evidence-based interventions. The Institute operates a year-round school for students ages 2-22, a 700-volume library, training workshops, internships for undergraduate and graduate students and teachers, and customized trainings for schools. Peggy supervises a wide range of outreach services, including development and supervision of comprehensive, home-based early intervention programs incorporating naturalistic, incidental, and structured teaching using the principles of applied behavior analysis; training for parents and home instructors; skills assessments, functional behavior assessments and intervention plans, and consultation on Individual Education Plan goals. She has presented trainings and workshops at state and national conferences.

    Host: What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

    Peggy Halliday: Applied Behavior Analysis is the process of using behavioral principles to teach new skills and increase desirable behaviors. In ABA, skills that you want to teach are broken down into small measurable units and high rates of positive reinforcement are used to teach those skill. ABA is committed to objective measurement of the skills that you are teaching and data analysis to make sure that you are being as efficient as you possibly you can be.

    ABA also looks at teaching new skills and maintaining skills and generalizing skills to new environments and they look at the skills children need across school, across home and across community settings. There are decades of research to show that ABA strategies are effective with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. They are effective in improving IQ scores, in teaching language, adaptive behaviors, academic behaviors as well as some social behaviors.