Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the application of behavioral principles to change socially significant behavior. ABA is an effective, evidence-based approach for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities that is overseen by qualified behavior analysts, such as Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) or Licensed Behavior Analysts (LBA). ABA has been scientifically tested and the United States Surgeon General (1999) concluded, “Thirty years of research demonstrated the efficacy of applied behavioral methods in reducing inappropriate behavior and in increasing communication, learning and appropriate social behavior.”

Socially significant behaviors that improve quality of life and experiences of an individual can include:

  • Communication
  • Socialization
  • Daily Living
  • Self-care
  • Vocational
  • Academic
  • Leisure activities

1 in 68 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, according to the CDC.


ABA is an effective intervention for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities. The CDC estimates that about 1 in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ABA interventions should be supervised by qualified behavior analysts. Although treatments based on the principles of ABA are the most effective options, it can be difficult to ensure techniques are implemented correctly without qualified professionals with experience in behavior analysis, such as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA).ABA is scientifically supported, if professionals and families wish to obtain additional information about ABA; resources are listed in the references below.

Systematic reviews of scientific studies:

National Autism Center. (2015). Findings and conclusions: National standards project, phase 2. Randolph, MA: Author.

Reichow, B. (2012). Overview of meta-analyses on early intensive behavioral intervention for young children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42, 512-520.