applied behaviour analysis (ABA)

What is ABA?

Cooper, Heron and Heward (2007) define Applied Behaviour Analysis as-

A scientific approach for discovering environmental variables that reliably influence socially significant behaviour and for developing a technology of behaviour change that takes practical advantage of those discoveries. 

Improves Socially significant Behaviour

ABA selects behaviours that are important for the individual to function in society- social, language, academic, daily-living, self-care and leisure behaviours.

data driven

Understanding when and where a behaviour occurs helps in programming for change. Therefore ABA relies on accurate data collected to predict and plan for change in behaviours. 

uses principles of behaviour

Reinforcement, Extinction and Punishment are the most basic principles from which ABA procedures are derived.  Accurate replication of these derived procedures by all team members is essential for seeing progress in a client. 

open and transparent

Everything about ABA is visible and public, explicit and straightforward. There are no mystical, hidden or magical treatments. It is based on observations and baseline data.


ABA gives practitioners and parents real tools that work. Seeing data showing improvements in behaviours increases confidence to take up more challenges in the future. 

intensive and continuous

Ongoing therapy and continuous data taking allows practitioners to detect even the smallest changes in performance that might otherwise be overlooked. 

The ABA Process

Step 1

History, Problem identification

Step 2

Interviews, Direct Observation, Functional Analysis

Step 3

Baseline data, Implementing plan

Step 4

Analyzing data, Assessing trend

Step 5

Modifications + Introducing new skill

Applied Behaviour Analysis in INDIA

Awareness and understanding quality

ABA in India is in its infancy. Parents and professionals are slowly becoming aware of this powerful science and its applications in a variety of areas.  

In India, there are not many ABA practitioners trained in areas like developmental disabilities, clinical diagnoses, education, OBM.  Majority of professionals practicing ABA in India are trained to work with children having Autism and associated difficulties. Therefore, it becomes very necessary for parents and professionals to be able to understand and be aware of the scope of practice. Asking questions about training and experience is a good start to knowing and trusting your therapist 

Parents can use the Behavior Analysis Certification Board Registry on bacb.com to find the list of trained practitioners in their city/ country. At this time, there are 2 boards which regulate the ABA profession around the globe- BACB and QABA, both of which are headquartered in the United States. There are a few more in the process of gaining independent accreditation.

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