So what is ABA?

To put it simply, Applied Behaviour Analysis describes any teaching strategy which uses the principles of Behaviour Analysis in its approach. Back in the early 20th Century, certain psychologists began to argue that observable behaviour should be the only proper subject matter of psychology. Rather than trying to explain people’s thoughts and actions using fanciful theories about the way in which our minds may (or may not) work, these psychologists developed explanations for our actions based on nothing other than observable and recordable facts. They proved that our behaviour is governed by the environment in which we live. 

In the late 1930’s, this research into “behaviour” was consolidated by psychologist B.F. Skinner, and the field known as “Behaviour Analysis” was born. Through his research, Skinner outlined a basic set of principles which describe the various ways in which our behaviour is controlled by our environment. These principles still hold true today and, despite any misunderstandings one might have about what ABA is and is not, they are all proven through years of research.

The use of ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis), as an early-intervention strategy for children with developmental disorders,  was popularized by O. Ivar Lovaas at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) in the early 1960’s. Drawing his methodology from the science of Behaviour Analysis, Lovaas proved that skills can be developed in children with Autism and other developmental delays, whose learning potential would have otherwise been largely ignored.