ABA Defined - with a Free ABA Parent Training Handout
One of the things that parents of children with autism (especially of kids who are receiving ABA services) need to know is what exactly is ABA. What does ABA mean? How is the service provider “doing ABA”?
You can talk to a parent about what applied behavior analysis is by starting with a definition. One definition of ABA is “the science in which tactics derived from the principles of behavior are applied to improve socially significant behavior and experimentation is used to identify the variables responsible for the improvement in behavior (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2014).”
Teaching parents about ABA is important so that the parent is familiar with what the service is that is being provided. In ABA parent training, you could use a structured training program to help parents learn more about ABA. Our ‘One-Year ABA Parent Training Curriculum’ is an example of a resource you could use. You may also assign parents homework to help them learn to use ABA concepts outside of session.
When talking about ABA with parents, it is important to explain the technical language that you use. So, for instance, in the above stated definition of ABA, you would want to break it apart and explain what each part of that definition actually means.
To explain the definition of ABA, you could talk more about each of the following parts:
What is science?
What does it mean by “tactics derived from the principles of behavior”?
What is meant by “applied”?
What are “socially significant behaviors”?
How is “experimentation” used in the child’s ABA services?
What “variables” are looked at and evaluated?
What exactly does it mean when you talk about “behavior”?
For further explanation of these different parts of the definition of ABA, you can get a free handout that can be used either as a guide for further discussion for your own professional reference or it can also be provided to parents as an ABA parent training handout to help them to visualize the concepts that you are talking about.