Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)
The Ventura County SELPA supports the philosophical tenets of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) as described extensively in the professional literature. Some typical definitions are:
“Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is a systematic process of studying and modifying observable behavior through a manipulation of the environment.”
Prizant, Barry M, PhD, CCC-SLP, Center for the Study of Human Development,Brown University, RI
“ABA is the science in which tactics derived from the principles of behavior are applied systematically to improve socially significant behavior and experimentation is used to identify the variables responsible for change.”
Cooper, JO, Heron, TE, Heward, WL, (2007). Applied Behavior Analysis, 2nd ed.,
The SELPA recognizes that in the school setting ABA is considered to be “good teaching” and very effective for many learners with disabilities. Colleges and universities incorporate the practices of ABA in their basic Special Education teacher training programs.
The National Professional Development Center study of Autism Spectrum Disorders has reported that ABA is an effective practice for children with autism.
However, the National Academy of Sciences in Educating Children with Autism, (NRC, 2001) concluded that, "Studies have reported substantial changes in large numbers of children in intervention studies and longitudinal studies in which children received a variety of interventions." (emphasis added)
The techniques of ABA can be used for these outcomes:
• Teaching new behaviors that exist in the student's repertoire
and are not used efficiently, or do not exist at all. Teaching of
pre-academic and functional life skills.
• Changing behaviors that are considered to be non-desirable
in the school setting.
The Ventura County SELPA offers a process in which Special Education teachers can become verified as having expertise in the tenets of Applied Behavior Analysis, both for changing non-desired behaviors as well as teaching new skills and behaviors. Click here for a copy of the handbook which describes the process.
Many of the instructional methodologies used by our Special Education staff fit within the philosophy of ABA.
Click here for a chart of how they can be used for "teaching new skills" as well as "replacement skills."
The SELPA has a training model for implementing the strategies of ABA, both for teaching new behaviors (particularly for students with autism) as well as changing challenging or non-desirable behaviors. This model includes training for professionals as well as paraprofessionals.
See the Section "Positive Behavior Support" for ABA strategies for changing non-desired behaviors.