Applied behavior analysis is a scientifically proven technique for helping children on the autism spectrum but it is also used with typically developing children and adults, across a range of ages, populations, and in many settings such as homes, schools, businesses, community settings, hospitals, and many others.
ABA services are used to teach appropriate skills and decrease inappropriate behaviors. Goals are created and agreed upon by the family and the behavior analyst, to determine what behaviors are targeted for change and what skills are desired for the child to learn. Goals are established based on most concerning behaviors (for example safety skills and aggression) and are prioritized based on importance and value within daily life. Although, parents may have academic concerns, these are considered less important goals than safety, socialization, daily living skills, community living and several others.
We look at a behavior, determine the reason for the behavior, set up a program to change the behavior to a significant measure, and all the while take data to determine if the program put in place was the reason for the change in behavior.
Applied behavior analysis is data driven, however, it differs from pure statistical analysis in one large way. Statistics uses data to show that differences have been made over time. In a statistical analysis one can show that a treatment was 95% effective which is statistically significant. However, a 95% effectiveness rate is not socially significant if one is teaching a child to look both ways and safely cross a street! Applied behavior analysis changes behavior in socially significant ways.