What is ABA?

(Applied Behavior Analysis)

Some people think of the Behavior Analysis Unit in the show Criminal Minds when they hear about ABA. As a behavior analyst, I can tell you with 100% certainty that I am not as cool as Dr. Spencer Reid.

In short, ABA is the use of proven principles and procedures to better the lives of others by focusing on socially significant behaviors.

Behavior analysts apply the principles of behavior analysis in their work geared toward improving the qualities of life of the individuals, families, and organizations they serve.

They focus on behavior.

Behavior, huh?


What kind of behavior?

Literally all of it...The good. The bad. The ugly.

If a dead man can't do it, then it's BEHAVIOR! (The Dead Man Test)

Breathing, talking, pinching, writing passive aggressive sticky notes, doing cart wheels, buying a yacht. These are all behaviors.

What ISN'T behavior? Inhibiting, refraining from, or not doing x, y, or z. - A dead man can do all that!

We also get to do the fun part… Analysis!

As we rely on observations and metrics to guide ANY clinical decisions, data is a behavior analyst’s best friend! We determine what skills are required to thrive and use evidence-based methods to teach them effectively. We even track progress to ensure that our strategies are working and make changes based on that information. Once a skill is mastered, we move on to using it…everywhere! We even add new goals, so learners never lose momentum.

Behavior analysts also determine if any behaviors are interfering with growth, how environmental stimuli (stuff, people) and contingencies (related events and interactions) affect these behaviors, and get to the root of WHY, functionally, these behaviors are occurring. We then work to decrease these behaviors, while teaching new, more socially appropriate behaviors that often meet the same need.

And of course, we track it, graph it, and analyze it!

P.S. Check out ABAdesk if you’d like to experience the most user-friendly data collection & graphing software available. https://www.abadesk.com


Who Do Behavior Analysts Work With?

In short, anyone.

ABA can be used in a variety of settings. Anywhere there are people, there’s behavior! You’ll see us all over – Autism treatment centers, corporate offices, schools, zoos, and even gyms!

Learn more about Applied Behavior Analysis and its real world applications here:


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