New to ABA?
What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?
“Applied Behavior Analysis is defined as the science in which the principles of the analysis of behavior are applied systematically to improve socially significant behavior, and in which experimentation is used to identify the variables responsible for change in behavior” (Cooper).
ABA focuses on the reliable measurement and objective evaluation of observable behavior within relevant settings including the home, school, and community. ABA uses the science of behaviorism to change measurable behaviors that have significance to the participants involved, in a way that demonstrates a functional relationship (i.e., that the changes in one variable clearly led to changes in another). Procedures that are completely and precisely defined can systematically change behaviors that are important for the individual, and show that the methods used were the cause of the change.
The effectiveness of ABA-based intervention in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) has been well documented through five decades of research and in controlled studies of comprehensive early intensive behavioral intervention programs in university and community settings. According to a 2007 clinical report of the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who receive early intensive behavioral treatment have been shown to make substantial, sustained gains in IQ, language, academic performance, and adaptive behavior as well as some measures of social behavior, and their outcomes have been significantly better than those of children in control groups (Meyers & Johnson, 2007).
What is Verbal Behavior Therapy (VB)?
Verbal Behavior (VB) is an intervention based on the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) which focuses on verbal communication. This intervention was developed through the work of B.F. Skinner. In his book Verbal Behavior, Skinner outlined his analysis of VB, which describes a group of verbal operants, or functional units of language. Skinner explained that language could be analyzed into a set of functional units, with each type of operant serving a different function. These operants include Echoics, Mands, Tacts, and Intraverbals. These components of language are necessary for effective verbal communication and should be the focus of intervention meant to teach language. Skinner, along with many other researchers, theorized that these components of language are necessary for complete understanding, generalization, and mastery of language.
With deliberate use of reinforcement, individuals can be taught to make eye-contact, to follow receptive instructions and engage in reciprocal conversations, to name a few. The tasks become increasingly more complex as the individual learns to perform the simpler ones. The training eventually requires correct pronunciation, correct grammar, appropriate tone of voice, and so on, with the goal that the child’s language should ultimately be like that of typically developing peers (Sundberg& Michael, 2001).
Cooper et al. Applied Behavior Analysis. p. 20. Myers, S.M.; Johnson, C.P.; Council on Children with Disabilities (2007).”Management of children with autism spectrum disorders”. Pediatrics120 (5): 1162–82 Sundberg, M.L. & Michael, J. (2001).”The value of Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior for teaching children with autism”. Behavior Modification 25: 698–724.