Applied Behaviour Analysis

Psychological .

Applied Behaviour Analysis

What is Applied Behaviour Analysis?

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is a type of therapy that focuses on improving specific behaviours and equipping you with new skills. It is often used with individuals who have a diagnosis of Autism.

How does ABA work?

ABA takes a research approach to therapy based on proven theories which already exist regarding learning and behaviour. Generally, therapists who use ABA understand how human behaviours are learned and how they can be changed over time. ABA therapists operate in settings such as schools, homes and community centres. ABA requires substantial monitoring and continuous evaluation in order to ensure that progress is managed in line with the treatment plan.

Why might I need ABA?

ABA is widely used to ABA can help aging adults cope with the losses that come with age, like memory, strength, and relationships. ABA can help individuals of various ages to help manage some of the lifestyle challenges that accompany many mental and physical health conditions.

What can ABA help with?

ABA can help with a wide range of issues including:

  • Social and interpersonal skills
  • Communication
  • Reading and academics.
  • ABA also explores adaptive learning skills, such as fine motor dexterity, hygiene, grooming, domestic capabilities, punctuality, and job competence.

How many sessions would I need?

The length of time spent in ABA depends on the severity of the problem and individual rate of improvement. For example, with a diagnosis such as autism, ABA is most successful when intensely applied for more than 20 hours a week and prior to the age of 4 years old. However this may not always be feasible depending on assessment age.

When working with an ABA therapist, you will explore:

  • Which behaviours requires a change
  • Goal setting and expected outcomes.
  • Establishing ways to measure changes and improvements.
  • Evaluate where you are now in life.
  • Learn new skills and/or learn how to avoid negative behaviours which may exist currently.
  • Regularly review your progress
  • Decide whether or not behaviour modification will be necessary (this is another method which would discussed with you).

Applied Behaviour Analysis Case Study

Rowan is a 13 year old male with a diagnosis of Autism (ASD – Autistic Spectrum Disorder). He lived with his parents and 3 siblings. Both parents were working long hours in their jobs and the maternal grandparents who lived nearby, were looking after Rowan and his siblings when he finished school.

Rowan was in a mainstream school. Rowan had few friends and often found it difficult to make eye contact with people and often people thought he was being rude. He did not engage in afterschool activities as he found it hard to socialise and initiate verbal communication, especially with people he did not know very well.

He would get easily frustrated if he did not understand things and would resort to having a tendency to cause harm to himself (for example pinching himself or scratching)

Assessment and Treatment

One goal identified with Rowan was developing his social and interpersonal skills in regards to increased and appropriate eye contact and instigating verbal communication with people he did not know that well.

Rowan underwent a ten week ABA programme designed to improve his ability to engage in socially appropriate behaviours and started attending an after school club with new people who shared a similar interest to him. He started by saying hello and introducing himself to others.

ABA was effective in increasing spontaneous greetings in this student with autism and has improved his socialization by targeting specific behaviours that impacted upon his ability to interact with others.

In regards to managing his frustration, Rowan was introduced to relaxation skills such as deep breathing, taking Time away from the situation, counting to ten and using elastic bands and stress balls to use when he had the urge to hurt himself.

If you would like to know more about how My Family Psychologist can help, call us on 07801 079555 or email

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