The ABCs of ABA

what is aba

If you have a child with autism, chances are you have either heard of, use, or integrate aspects of Applied Behavior Analysis into your life. Let’s get down to the basics -. What is ABA and why does it work? Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based science dedicated to making socially significant change. ABA has a proven history to be the ONLY scientifically validated treatment for autism and related disabilities.

Let’s learn the ABC’s of ABA together:

A – Antecedents

When identifying Antecedents, be sure to ask the “Wh” questions:


With whom?


What activity?

What are other people doing?

While also considering possible environmental contributing factors:


Proximity of others

Noise level

Group size

Or more distant setting events:

Medication changes

Changes or distress in home life

Health status of child

B- Behavior

This is the response. Details are important here. You want to showcase what is happening so instead of just “behaved aggressively.” you want to keep track of more specific behaviors like “kicked peer,” “pinched brother,” and “slammed fist into shelf” as examples.

C – Consequences

When identifying consequences, things may not be as clear as one event following a behavior. Instead, multiple events may follow the behavior of concern (for example- adult provided attention and then removed or modified a task). This is one reason that recording multiple occurrences of ABC data is required, so that the patterns can be evaluated for its influence on behavior while strengthening the confidence in the hypothesis.

These three things are the building blocks of ABA therapy and really set up how behaviors are tracked and therefore modified by changing things like environment, etc.

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