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. “Socially significant behaviors” include reading, academics, social skills, communication, and adaptive living skills. Adaptive living skills include gross and fine motor skills, eating and food preparation, toileting, dressing, personal self-care, domestic skills, time and punctuality, money and value, home and community orientation, and work skills.
ABA methods are used to support persons with autism in at least six ways:
- to increase behaviors
- to teach new skills
- to maintain behaviors
- to generalize or to transfer behavior from one situation or response to another
- to restrict or narrow conditions under which interfering behaviors occur
- to reduce interfering behaviors