What is Applied Behaviour Analysis?

Applied Behaviour Analysis is the science in which the principles of behavioural science are applied systematically to improve socially significant behaviour. ABA is best known for its application to individuals with developmental disabilities. Research has demonstrated that ABA is effective when applied to a variety of fields including but not limited to; Sports Science, Human Resources, Paediatric Medicine and General Education. At BeChange we use the well researched principles of learning and behaviour to help those children with challenging behaviour and/or ASD. All interventions and teaching procedures that we use are evidenced based and have been derived from research within this field. There are several aspects that are integral to any quality behaviour change program. These include:

  • The identification of goals and objectives that are realistic and of importance to the child, parent and teacher.

  • The systematic and objective measurement of the target behaviours to determine the effectiveness of the intervention or teaching procedures.

  • On-going evaluation of the intervention, with changes made as necessary to ensure that success is maintained or increased.

Verbal Behaviour

It is a common misconception that Verbal Behaviour is a teaching technique and a branch of ABA. However, verbal behaviour is simply a name given to behaviour analysis as it applies to language. Traditional methods of classifying language relied on linguistic properties and typically divided language into two categories (receptive language and expressive language). A behavioral approach to language takes this a step further and provides an analysis of language by both its form (i.e. how it looks/sounds) and its function (i.e. what purpose it serves the child). The procedures used to teach verbal behaviour will vary according to the function being taught. It is important to teach a child the varying functions (purposes) for communication so that they can generalise this across different circumstances (e.g. requesting, commenting, responding to questions, having a conversation and following instructions). Verbal behaviour includes all forms of communication such as sign language, picture exchange, written language, gestures and vocal speech. Verbal Behaviour is an essential component to any program that aims to teach speech, language and communication.

Discrete Trial Training

Discrete Trial Training (DDT) is an instructional approach used to teach skills in a planned, controlled and systematic manner. DDT can be used to help children acquire complex skills, by breaking those skills down into smaller steps that can be more easily mastered and then systematically combined to form the more complex and functional skill. This procedure has a large evidence base for teaching attending, generalised imitation, verbal imiation (echoics), basic play skills, motor skills and following instructions. DTT is an effective teaching strategy for the acquisition of certain skills. Other teaching strategies that are based on the principles of behaviour analysis have also been described on this page.

Task Analysis and Chaining

Often the skills we would like to teach are complex and involve a number of steps that must be completed in a certain order. This sequence of steps is referred to as a behaviour chain. Almost everything we do can be considered part of a behaviour chain. For example, getting dressed, eating, going to the bathroom, playing on the computer, watching T.V. and playing a game.In order to teach a behaviour chain, it must be broken down into small steps. The process of breaking this down is called a task analysis. The chaining procedure is used to link the steps of the task analysis. At BeChange we use these procedures to teach a variety of self-help, leisure and vocational activities.

Other Procedures

There are other procedures that are based on behavioural principles and may be used for skill acquistion or behaviour reduction:

  • Video modeling and Video feedback
  • Fluency Building
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