What is ABA? What is Applied Behavior Analysis? | Autism Treatment | Treatment for Autism (ASD) | ABA Singapore

Autism Treatment | What is ABA?

What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?

What is ABA?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) uses an understanding of why behavior occurs to address a wide range of issues, including helping individuals to learn. Like other applied sciences, ABA can be applied to a range of populations and settings (e.g., business and industry, education, gerontology, healthcare) and to a range of social concerns (e.g., anxieties, depression, phobia, addiction, behaviors associated with autism).

In short,
✓ ABA helps us understand why a behavior occurs, how behavior is affected by the environment and how learning takes place.
✓ ABA utilizes empirically validated approaches to address challenging behaviors that are disruptive to learning.  
✓ The child’s progress is tracked and measured. 
✓ ABA therapy can also help increase language and communication skills, attention, social skills, memory, self-help skills and various play and leisure skills to individuals with ASD – these are the range of skills required to experience a rich and fulfilling life.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA):
• is outstanding teaching where skills are broken down to help children with ASD learn.
• uses a systematic approach that incorporates precision teaching with a degree of structure and naturalistic teaching.
• looks at individual's interest and deficits to identify complex skills that an individual may need.
• programs are also customised to individual child's needs and goals; no two programs are the same.

Who is ABA for?

You may have heard of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for autism treatment but in fact, the scope of ABA is not that narrow. Behavior analysis has been studied and used for decades. Thousands of learners have benefited from good teaching involving ABA principles – such as learning to live healthier lifestyles to learning new languages. 

Fun Fact: Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) is a sub-discipline of ABA which uses the application of behavior analytic principles to change behavior in organizational settings across various industries.

With regards to the field of Autism, ABA is a comprehensive treatment plan which has scientific evidence to prove its effectiveness. With children on the Autism Spectrum (ASD), we have to look at what each student’s individual deficits are – whether it is an issue with their attention, their language, their play, or their social skills.

Once we have identified the complex skills that need to be learned, that’s when we break them down, teach them until mastery and then help the students apply those skills in the future. Since we individualize each and every student’s program, a good ABA programme can be used with any learner so that they can have a better quality of life.

What makes ABA different from other disciplines or treatments?

Applied Behavior Analysis focuses on behavior (not theoretical constructs). It uses laws of behavior that have been experimentally demonstrated, and it uses clearly defined procedures to specify how to change behavior. The primary focus of ABA is on behavior that is important to individuals, in terms of enabling them to lead more fulfilling lives.

ABA employs teaching where the objectives of intervention are to teach your child those skills that will facilitate his/her development and them achieve their greatest degree of independence and the highest quality of life possible. 

Although ABA comprises of many different techniques, the primary instructional method is called Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT).

Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT) involves breaking a skill into smaller parts, teaching one sub-skill at a time until mastery, allowing repeated practice in a concentrated period of time, providing prompting and fading as necessary, and using reinforcement procedures.

This helps children with ASD learn and maintain new skills. Like other ABA techniques, it can significantly enhance a child’s developmental progress.

Are all ABA the same?

This is a complicated issue. While all ABA may be founded on the same foundational principles, NOT all ABA is alike. There is tremendous variation, in which some of those approaches are extremely rigid, protocol-driven, and adherent to a set of predetermined rules, regardless of the child, to those approaches that are lackadaisical and without any structure, as well as a range of approaches falling somewhere in between.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) can take a variety of different forms depending upon the individual or agency providing the service. In addition to the skill level of the provider, there are technical and stylistic differences in implementation. Approaches range from those that are dogmatic and rigid to unstructured.

Autism Partnership’s over forty-five years of clinical and research experience shows the most effective option is a careful balance of structured flexibility while still retaining the essence of a systematic, empirical approach to teaching that is individually tailored for each child.

Early behavioral practitioners were often perceived to be too rigid and punitive. And sadly, even today, there are behaviorists who continue to use highly artificial and unnatural teaching strategies. This has led to a wave of clinicians who distanced themselves from traditional methods. They’ve even created new terminology to make the therapy more appealing to parents and teachers.

Apart from a well-researched approach, a quality ABA program should also consist of the following:
• All-Inclusive Curriculum
• Intensive for Maximum Results
• Highly Individualized Programming
• Data and Progress Driven
• Active Learning
• Specific Learning Objectives for Progress Evaluation

applied behavior analysis aba

Key Elements to Achieve the Best Outcomes for Children with ASD

factors contributing to asd aba treatment outcome

There are several studies demonstrating the effectiveness of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for people diagnosed with ASD, including a study conducted by Autism Partnership (2011). In these studies, the children with the best possible outcomes had these key elements in common:

  • Early Intervention
  • Consistency of Treatment
  • Intensity
  • Utilizing Quality ABA (Autism Partnership Method)
  • Intensive Supervision
  • Parental Expertise
  • Not Incorporating Other Treatment (Diluting Impact of ABA)

What makes AP's ABA different?


Our Unique Approach: Autism Partnership Method

We believe that children can make amazing gains with a highly individualized and intensive learning program.

Our method is derived based over 45 years of clinical findings including the key elements that contributes to the best outcome for children with ASD. At AP, our programs are highly clinically driven and utilize procedures that have been developed out of working with children and from our research center. We aim not solely to maximize each child’s progress under our care but also to provide guidance and support to the family.

Our curriculum is all-inclusive focusing on critical foundation skills including managing behaviors, communication, social, learning-how-learn, and self-help skills. We teach in a fun and innovative way with natural reinforcements that motivate children to learn and make rapid progress.

With a multi-tier supervision system and a team of qualified and highly trained staff, we constantly evaluate the learning objectives of your child’s program to ensure progress. Additionally, we conduct regular training to ensure active learning and provide the best quality of ABA therapy based on our Autism Partnership Method (APM).

autism partnership asd aba treatment

The Autism Partnership Method:

  • Focus on the whole child, not only is communication and academics important but teaching children the skills so that they can develop meaningful and long lasting relationships. This includes developing relationship and play skills.

  • Help children learn not only in 1:1 situations but in small and large groups. We constantly expose children to socialization and move them to group learning as soon as they are ready.

  • Ensure children learn in natural settings, full of different types of distractions that occur in schools and in the community including providing therapy in natural forms so that children develop natural language. With a strong foundation of learning how to learn, it simply is not necessary to use the typical accommodations for removing distractions and utilizing artificial cues.

  • Develop strong and natural reinforcers so that learning can easily transfer to the real world. When children are motivated by activities, social interaction, and the desire to learn, one does not have to rely upon artificial reinforcers.

  • Teach children the skills so that they can become truly independent including learning how to monitor their own behaviors is essential for maximizing quality of life.

  • Provide training to parents, teachers, and family members to teach them the necessary skills so that they can help in facilitating success

About Autism Partnership Singapore (SG)

Autism Partnership Singapore office opened in March 2004, it is the second centre in Asia, following our Hong Kong office. It has since expanded its operations to become one of the most progressive centres regionally in South East Asia.

Our team has more than 30 Behaviour Therapists, Supervisors, and Behaviour Consultants made up of Master’s and Bachelor’s Degree holders as well as  Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) with an average of 10 years of experience in planning and implementing ABA intensive behavioural treatment for children with Autism in Singapore and regionally in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, China and Taiwan.

Based on AMS-MOH Clinical Practice Guideline 1/2010 by Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH), Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the highest-rated method for effectiveness —  Grade A (Level of Recommendation) with Level 1++ (Level of Evidence).