Medicaid Acronym of the Day – ABA

Applied Behavioral Analysis – ABA is an empirically validated approach to improve behavior and skills related to core impairments associated with autism and a number of other developmental disabilities. ABA involves the systematic application of scientifically validated principles of human behavior to change inappropriate behaviors. ABA uses scientific methods to reliably demonstrate that behavioral improvements are caused by the prescribed interventions. ABA is presently considered the gold standard of autism interventions.

ABA’s focus on social significance promotes a family-centered and whole-life approach to intervention. Common methods used include: assessment of behavior, caregiver interviews, direct observation, and collection of data on targeted behaviors.

A single-case design is used to demonstrate the relationship between the environment and behavior as a means to implement client-specific ABA therapy treatment plans with specific goals and promote lasting change. ABA also includes the implementation of a functional behavior assessment to identify environmental variables that maintain challenging behaviors and allow for more effective interventions to be developed that reduce challenging behaviors and teach appropriate replacement behaviors.

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