Mandy Kloppers

What is ABA Therapy?

ABA, or Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, is a scientific and evidence-based intervention method that is widely used in treating autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other behavioral issues. Since it is a highly effective therapy, people are often interested in learning more about it.

Fundamentals of ABA Therapy

ABA Therapy is based upon certain fundamental principles and understanding them can help you have a better idea of what this therapy is. These fundamentals entail:

Positive Reinforcement

The therapy imposes a positive reinforcement mechanism, reinforcing desirable behaviors by rewarding the individual. For instance, if an individual is learning to communicate with others, the therapist will use positive reinforcement by giving them a sticker or verbal praise when communicating effectively.


Prompting is another fundamental principle of ABA therapy. The therapist provides cues or instructions to teach new behaviors to an individual. For example, if an individual is learning to tie their shoes, the therapist will provide them with verbal prompts or visual cues to help them or learn the behavior.


A therapist tries to shape the individual’s behavior by breaking it down into easier steps. For instance, if an individual is learning to write their name, the therapist will start by teaching them or how to write individual letters and then gradually work on writing their full name.


Generalization involves teaching the individual to apply the newly learned behavior in different settings or situations. Suppose an individual is learning how to interact with peers. In that case, the therapist will teach them to use their communication skills in different environments, such as at home, school, or in the community.

Techniques Used in ABA Therapy

The techniques used in ABA therapy vary with the individual’s needs and the therapist’s approach. Some of the common techniques include:

Discrete Trial Training (DTT)

DTT is a structured teaching technique that makes it easier for an individual to learn complex skills. DTT typically consists of a one-on-one interaction between the therapist and child and is characterized by a series of discrete trials, where the therapist prompts the desired response and provides immediate feedback.  


Modeling is another technique used in ABA therapy to promote skill acquisition and positive behavior. Modeling mainly involves a therapist demonstrating the behavior or skill that an individual is expected to learn, making it easier for them to acquire new skills.

Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT)

PRT is an ABA therapy in Michigan that aims to increase the child’s motivation to learn by targeting “pivotal” behaviors that can positively impact multiple areas of development. The pivotal behaviors targeted in PRT include motivation, initiation, and self-regulation.

Antecedent-Based Intervention (ABI)

ABI is an ABA therapy technique that modifies the individual’s environment and prevents problem behaviors from occurring. This technique involves changing the antecedent, which is the event that occurs before the behavior, to promote positive behavior. Modifying the antecedent makes the problem behavior less likely to occur, promoting positive behavior and reducing stress for the individual and their family.

Benefits of ABA Therapy

ABA therapy can have numerous benefits for individuals with developmental disorders or behavioral issues, including:

Improved Social Skills 

ABA therapy develops social skills by teaching individuals how to interact appropriately with others. For example, the therapist may teach the individual to use eye contact, initiate conversations, and respond to others.

Reduced Problem Behaviors 

ABA therapy ensures individuals have fewer instances of problem behaviors, which include self-injurious behaviors, aggression, and tantrums, by teaching them alternative behaviors and coping strategies.

Better Academic Performance 

Children tend to perform better at academics after getting ABA therapy, as they learn and retain new skills more effectively by breaking down complex skills into smaller steps and providing reinforcement.

Improved Quality of Life 

Lastly, ABA therapy can enhance a person’s quality of life overall by increasing their social skills, reducing problem behaviors, and promoting independence. As a result, the individual will have better relationships with family and friends, improved school and work performance, and increased opportunities for community engagement.


Overall, you can understand ABA therapy better if you evaluate its fundamentals and then understand the different techniques a therapist may use to implement this therapy on an individual. This blog has provided you with every information that you must have in this regard.

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