Applied Behavior Analysis, simply put, is the science of how people and animals behave. Unlike traditional psychology, Applied Behavior Analysis focuses on the clearly measurable, objectively defined actions of the subject. Thanks to the work of many scientists, including B.F. Skinner, we now understand that there are rules regarding how the environment influences behavior. An Applied Behavior Analysis based program evaluates the client in the environment, and applies these scientific rules to change the environment, and therefore, to change the behavior of the client.
Often the causes, or functions, of a particular distressful or difficult behavior can be discovered by evaluating what the individual who is doing the behavior receives as a consequence of his behavior. For many children on the autism spectrum, difficult behavior is due to poor communication skills; the child simply doesn't know how to get what he or she needs, and therefore resorts to challenging behavior.
In 1987, scientists at UCLA published a study in which he showed that a curriculum founded in Applied Behavior Analysis could influence the ability of some children on the autism spectrum to succeed in educational environments.
Since the 1987 study, organizations like Learning ARTS have been providing Applied Behavior Analysis services to the community. Dedicated professionals are making a difference in the world and helping individuals with developmental disabilities and their families meet their greatest potential!