What is ABA?

The acronym ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis. It is the study and analysis of behavior as it relates to triggers in the environment. Utilizing the principles of ABA, our goal is to provide 1:1 care plans that decrease challenging behaviors and increase functional and pro-social skills. ABA is an evidence-based practice that highlights the individual’s unique needs and strengths, in an effort to minimize behavioral challenges.

1:1 Program

Evidence Based


Real Results

ABA Teaching Methods For Children With Autism

Children with autism are a diverse and complex group. Each child has unique needs and skills, and therefore, special educators cannot apply the identical teaching method to every child with ASD. Through the development of Applied Behavior Analysis, special educators have access to a variety of tools they can use to best meet the individual needs of students with autism. These methods include useful data collection and analysis, incrementally improving skills until a child can generalize them in other settings, and incorporating learning principles such as positive  reinforcement and extinction.

Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT)

Discrete Trial Teaching is a teaching modality utilized by Norwegian-American psychologist Ivar Lovaas to reach children with autism. Lovaas conducted a detailed study and later published the treatment protocol in his book Teaching Developmentally Disabled Children: The Me Book (Lovaas, Akerman, Alexander, Firestone, Perkins, Young, Carr, & Newsom, 1981 & 2003). DTT is a scripted teaching method with several key components. It relies heavily on data collection and analysis in making programming decisions.

While critics argued that DTT produces rigid behavior and is only implemented in contrived and unnatural settings, this has been disproven. DTT has been the focus of countless research studies, revealing it to be an essential and effective method for improving skills in children with autism. DTT is primarily implemented in structured settings, but a well-designed ABA-based program will take into account the inherent drawbacks of highly structured DTT and adapt or supplement as necessary, to produce lasting and useful results.

Applied Verbal Behavior Approach (AVB)

AVB is a variation of DTT, and is based on the principles of behavior analysis, yet implements analysis of language and the classification system provided by B. F. Skinner in 1957. Applied behavior analysts, such as Dr. Vincent Carbone, Dr. James Partington, and Dr. Carl Sundberg devised behavior-analytic teaching methods based on Skinner’s analysis of language.

The primary focus in an AVB program is to identify functional language deficits and teach appropriate skills that address motivation and natural controls related to verbal behavior. While strict AVB practitioners apply the method only to vocal or sign language, other practitioners have successfully incorporated it in their work with individuals with no vocal skills or those using augmentative communication.