Behavior Analysis

Behavior analysis is the science of analyzing behavior and, for this blog, human behavior. Behaviorism believes people engage in behavior due to the consequences. There are two types of consequences, punishment, and reinforcement. In simple terms, reinforcement makes a behavior go up while a punishment makes a behavior go down. Typically, behaviors occur because in the past they have been reinforced. Once we have analyzed behavior, we decide how effective are the current behaviors. It is important to mention that behavior is a term loosely used to describe all actions, including desirable and undesirable. The science of increasing desired behaviors and decreasing undesired behaviors is applied behavior analysis (ABA).

The Key Consulting Firm, Behavior


Applied Behavior Analysis

ABA therapy is currently held as the most effective intervention for teaching individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). At The Key, we believe any behavior is getting a need met and in the past has been successful in obtaining the desired outcome for the person displaying the behavior. As ABA therapist, it’s important we work with the learner and key people in their community to determine alternative and replacement behaviors which allows the learner to continue getting their needs met. Including community members such as family, caregivers, and friends is vital to ensure the new behaviors are culturally appropriate for the environment.

Once we have determined the undesirable behaviors,  we following the following steps.

  1. Determine the need
  2. Teach another way to meet the need
  3. No longer allow the undesired behavior to meet the need
  4. Reinforce the newly taught desired behavior

This is a very brief summary of how ABA works, but this is the core. We focus on skill acquisition to reduce the unsafe or ineffective behavior. My favorite Skinner quote is, “a person who has been punished is not less inclined to behave in a given way; at best, he learns how to avoid punishment”. It’s not about punishment; instead, it is about teaching and strengthening skills.

The Key Consulting Firm, Behavior


Within ABA there are different methods of implementation. Below are a few:

Discrete trial training(DTT) is a method of teaching in which the adult uses adult-directed, massed trial instruction, reinforcers chosen for their strength, and clear contingencies and repetition to teach new skills.

Pivotal Response Training(PRT)  targets motivation, self-management, and self-initiations. Due to the naturalistic implementation. PRT enhances generalization (Leach, 2010).

Incidental Teaching promotes social and communication interactions by taking advantage of the situations as they arise and including the interest of the learner ( Leach, 2010).

Applied Verbal Behavior teaches language acquisition by combining Skinner’s theories of language with the A-B-C format of DTT (Leach, 2010). Typically ABA therapy is provided by a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) and clinically supervised by a Broad Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).


Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

BCBA Registry

BCBAs are graduate level clinicians with training in behavior analysis. Now that you know what I do, maybe you feel you are in need of a BCBA to enhance the life of someone you know. Click here to find a BCBA in your area.

If you have any questions about ABA or getting services for yourself or someone else, feel free to comment or Contact us at The Key Consulting Firm.


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