Understanding aba


Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a science of human behavior that includes a pragmatic and concrete understanding of why people do what they do. ABA focuses on the principles of reinforcement to increase socially significant behavior and improve the quality of life of all people. ABA uses the word behavior to apply to all actions, not just actions labeled as “bad behavior.” Chances are that you access reinforcement everyday to maintain your own behavior. Your going to work behavior is reinforced by your paycheck, your selfie posting behavior is reinforcement by “likes,” and your brushing your teeth behavior is reinforced by less dental bills. ABA provides a scientific explanation for why we do what do. At Proactive Behavior Services, we refer to the interventions and skills targeted for improvement as ABA programming. 


Children that have a medical or educational need are the most likely recipients of ABA therapy due to current laws, policy, and funding resources. However, anyone can benefit from engaging in programming based on the principles of ABA. There is behavior analytic research in the domains of gambling, gerontology, sports management, criminal justice, animal training, environment and sustainability, addiction, staff performance, business management, self help, mental health, school reform, individuals with disabilities and most notably autism.

ABA programming is delivered by qualified professionals that are certified by the Behavior Analytic Certification Board (BACB). These professionals are certified based on their level of education, experience, and training. At Proactive Behavior Services, master's or doctoral level behavior analysts (BCBA or BCBA-D) assess, develop programming, train, and supervise the implementation of ABA programming implemented mostly by Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs), teachers, other therapists, school aides, and parents.


Because the goal of ABA is to make a socially significant gain, ABA programming should occur in the environment most natural for the individual or the environment in which the individual is struggling the most--whether it is at home, school, work, or in the community. There are times when the individual needs to be a different environment to learn the skills needed for their natural environment. At Proactive Behavior Services, we have set up programming in many different environments so each individual is included, to the maximum extent possible, with their peers and family.


ABA is distinguished from other therapies by the intensity of treatment hours. Research has determined that in order to produce the most significant gains, ABA programming should be occurring across settings and throughout the day. At Proactive Behavior Services, we recommend treatment hours based on the unique circumstances of our clients. There is not a one size fits all approach.


It’s science! By harnessing the science of human behavior, behavior analysis can make radical changes in areas never thought possible. This science proves that all living things are more alike than different. This is powerful for individuals that have needs that limit their quality of life. Through ABA, we can make a difference for anyone.

To learn more about the practice of ABA, check out the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB)