Applied behavior analysis


Applied behavior analysis
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a science that involves using modern behavioral learning theory to modify behaviors. Behavior analysts reject the use of hypothetical constructs[1] and focus on the observable relationship of behavior to the environment. By functionally assessing the relationship between a targeted behavior and the environment, the methods of ABA can be used to change that behavior. Research in applied behavior analysis ranges from behavioral intervention methods to basic research which investigates the rules by which humans adapt and maintain behavior.

Areas of application
ABA-based interventions are best known for treating people with developmental disabilities, most notably autism spectrum disorders.[2] However, applied behavior analysis contributes to a full range of areas including: AIDS prevention,[3] conservation of natural resources,[4] education,[5] gerontology,[6] health and exercise,[7] industrial safety,[8] language acquisition,[9] littering,[10] medical procedures,[11] parenting,[12] seatbelt use,[13] severe mental disorders,[14] sports,[15] and zoo management and care of animals.[16]

ABA is defined as the science in which the principles of the analysis of behavior are applied systematically to improve socially significant behavior, and in which experimentation is used to identify the variables responsible for change in behavior.[17] It is one of the three fields of behavior analysis. The other two are behaviorism, or the philosophy of the science; and experimental analysis of behavior, or basic experimental research.[2] Baer, Wolf, and Risley's 1968 article[18] is still used as the standard description of ABA.[19] It describes the seven dimensions of ABA: application; a focus on behavior; the use of analysis; and its technological, conceptually systematic, effective, and general approach.

Baer, Wolf, and Risley's seven dimensions are: • Applied: ABA focuses on areas that are of social significance. In doing this, behavior scientists must take into consideration more than just the short-term behavior change, but also look at how behavior changes can affect the consumer, those who are close to the consumer, and how any change will affect the interactions between the two. • Behavioral: ABA must be behavioral, i.e.: behavior itself must change, not just what the consumer says about the behavior. It is not the goal of the behavior scientists to get their consumers to stop complaining about behavior problems, but rather to change the problem behavior itself. In addition, behavior must be objectively measured. A behavior scientist cannot resort to the measurement of non-behavioral substitutes. • Analytic: The behavior scientist can demonstrate believable control over the behavior that is being changed. In the lab, this has been easy as the researcher can start and stop the behavior at will. However, in the applied situation, this is not always as easy, nor ethical, to do. According to Baer, Wolf, and Risley, this difficulty should not stop a science from upholding the strength of its principles.[18] As such, they referred to two designs that are best used in applied settings to demonstrate control and maintain ethical standards. These are the reversal and multiple baseline designs. The reversal design is one in which the behavior of choice is measured prior to any intervention. Once the pattern appears stable, an intervention is introduced, and behavior is measured. If there is a change in behavior, measurement continues until the new pattern of behavior appears stable. Then, the intervention is removed, or reduced, and the behavior is measured to see if it changes again. If the behavior scientist truly has demonstrated control of the behavior with the intervention, the behavior of interest should change with intervention changes.

This does not mean that ABA requires one simply to learn a few procedures. ABA is a scientific approach in which analysts may guess but then critically test ideas. 2 . but with the proper planning. or magic. that researcher would be able to "replicate the application with the same results. the more they will become optimistic about future success prospects[21] • The literature provides many examples of success teaching individuals considered previously unteachable. added their belief that the following five characteristics should be added:[21] • Accountable: Direct and frequent measurement enables analysts to detect their success and failures to make changes in an effort to increase successes while decreasing failures. continued change in specified behavior after intervention for that behavior has been withdrawn is also an example of generality.[21] • Empowering: ABA provides tools to practitioners that allow them to effectively change behavior. Cooper et al. but rather the practical importance (social importance) that is essential. this feature of ABA allows clinicians to assess their skill level and builds confidence in their technology. it is not a theoretical importance of the variable. et al. hidden treatment. in different environments. and spread to other behaviors not directly treated by the intervention. and thus research must be conceptually systematic by only utilizing procedures and interpreting results of these procedures in terms of the principles from which they were derived. In addition. This means that there are no explanations that cannot be observed. which itself is manipulable • Direct and continuous measurements enable practitioners to detect small improvements in performance that might have otherwise been missed • As a practitioner uses behavioral techniques with positive outcomes. Specifically. omits any steps. If the person makes any mistakes. Ambiguous descriptions do not qualify."[18] This means that the description must be very detailed and clear. from teachers to the participants themselves."[22] This constant revision of techniques.[18] • Generality: It should last over time. adds any operations."[20] • Conceptually Systematic: A defining characteristic is in regards to the interventions utilized.Applied behavior analysis • Technological: This means that if any other researcher were to read a description of the study. commitment to effectiveness and analysis of results leads to an accountable science.[20] • Effective: An application of these techniques improve behavior under investigation. • Doable: ABA has a pragmatic element in that implementors of interventions can consist of a variety of individuals. By constantly providing visual feedback to the practitioner on the results of the intervention. rather than "guess and guess again. metaphysical explanations. or has to ask any questions to clarify the written description then the description is not sufficiently technological and requires improvement.[23] • Optimistic: According to several leading authors.[21] Thus. In 2005. Heward. it can effectively be implemented by most everyone willing to invest the effort. ABA produces results whose explanations are available to all of the public. There are no mystical. practitioners skilled in behavior analysis have genuine cause to be optimistic for the following reasons: • Individual behavior is largely determined by learning and cumulative effects of the environment. • Public: Applied behavior analysis is completely visible and public. describe a good check for the technological characteristic: "have a person trained in applied behavior analysis carefully read the description and then act out the procedure in detail.

then it is behavior. given that the predictive relationship between the two stimuli is maintained. if a behavior is followed closely in time by a stimulus and this results in an increase in the future frequency of that behavior. • Functionally by their effect on behavior. Operant reinforcement Reinforcement is the most important principle of behavior[30] and a key element of most behavior change programs. Environment The environment is the entire constellation of stimuli in which an organism exists.[27] If a group of responses have the same function. operant conditioning is at work when we learn that toiling industriously can bring about a raise or that studying hard for a particular class will result in good grades. the second stimulus can obtain the function of the first stimulus. the term behavior is used to reference a larger class of responses that share physical dimensions or function.[29] This includes events both inside and outside of an organism. A stimulus is an "energy change that affects an organism through its receptor cells.[25] Behavior is that portion of an organism's interaction with its environment that is characterized by detectable displacement in space through time of some part of the organism and that results in a measurable change in at least one aspect of the environment. a light). The conditioning of operant behavior is the result of reinforcement and punishment. In this instance. when discussing a person's collection of behavior.[24] Behavior can be determined by applying the Dead Man's test: If a dead man can do it.[28] Operant conditioning applies to voluntary responses.[32] There are multiple schedules of reinforcement that affect the future probability of behavior. Respondent conditioning (also called classical conditioning) is learning in which new stimuli acquire the ability to elicit respondents. For example. Finally. this group can be classified as a response class.Applied behavior analysis 3 Concepts Behavior Behavior is the activity of living organisms. it isn't behavior. to produce a desirable outcome. These stimulus–response relations are called reflexes.[31] It is the process by which behavior is strengthened. • Temporally by when they occur in respect to the behavior. And if a dead man can't do it. Respondent conditioning All organisms respond in predictable ways to certain stimuli. The environment consists of stimuli. This is done through stimulus–stimulus pairing. Human behavior is the entire gamut of what people do including thinking and feeling. the stimulus (smell of food) can elicit a person's salivation. repertoire is used. the term response indicates a single instance of that behavior. for example. The response component of the reflex is called respondent behavior.g. It can either pertain specifically to a set of response classes that are relevant to a particular situation.[26] Often. this is termed negative reinforcement. If the removal of an event serves as a reinforcer. Operant conditioning Operant behavior is that which is selected by its consequences. It is defined as behavior which is elicited by antecedent stimuli. which an organism performs deliberately. but only real physical events are included. .. By pairing that stimulus (smell) with another stimulus (e. or it can refer to every behavior that a person can do. The term operant emphasizes this point: the organism operates in its environment to produce some type of desirable result."[29] A stimulus can be described: • Topographically by its physical features. The addition of a stimulus following an event that serves as a reinforcer is termed positive reinforcement.

[37] Skinner's system includes: • • • • Tact (psychology) – stimulus control as it enters the verbal domain Mand (psychology) – behavior under control of motivating operations that is directly reinforced by the listener Intraverbals – verbal behavior under verbal control of others Autoclitic – how tacts tact to other tacts to change effects on the speaker. Other characteristics of an extinction burst include a) extinction-produced aggression—the occurrence of an emotional response to an extinction procedure often manifested as aggression. Skinner's classification system of behavior analysis has been applied to treatment of a host of communication disorders. resulting in the decrease of that behavior. intensity. emotional behavior. and/or duration of the behavior targeted for extinction. and can result in behavioral contrast. the relation between a behavior (B) and its context (A) is because of consequences (C). et al. response cost and time out. The fact that the discriminated operant occurs only in the presence of the discriminative stimulus is an illustration of stimulus control. a stimulus can be added (positive punishment) or removed (negative punishment).Applied behavior analysis 4 Punishment Punishment is a process by which a consequence immediately follows a behavior which decreases the future frequency of that behavior. In other words. Extinction procedures are often preferred over punishment procedures that are frequently deemed unethical and in many states prohibited. Extinction Extinction is the technical term to describe the procedure of withholding/discontinuing reinforcement of a previously reinforced behavior. more specifically. The antecedent stimulus is called a discriminative stimulus SD.[36] More recently behavior analysts have been focusing on conditions that occur prior to the circumstances for the current behavior of concern that increased the likelihood of the behavior occurring or not occurring. Nonetheless.).[33] Punishment in practice can often result in unwanted side effects.[35] This antecedent–behavior–consequence contingency is termed the three-term contingency.F. Unwanted side effects can include the increase in other unwanted behavior as well as a decrease in desired behaviors. Broadly. and has therefore been used only after reinforcement-only procedures have failed to work. there are three types of punishment: presentation of aversive stimuli. "Establishing Operations". extinction procedures must be implemented with utmost care by professionals. operant conditioning also establishes relations between antecedent conditions and behaviors. and replaces it with an AB-because-of-C formulation. This differs from the S–R formulations (If-A-then-B). this relationship between AB because of C indicates that the relationship is established by prior consequences that have occurred in similar contexts. Discriminated operant and three-term contingency In addition to a relation being made between behavior and its consequences. and b) extinction-induced response variability—the occurrence of novel behaviors that did not typically occur prior to the extinction procedure. Punishment is also associated in certain cases with increases in the likelihood of aggression by the person. and "Motivating Operations" by various researchers in their publications.[34] Some other potential unwanted effects include escape and avoidance. . Verbal behavior B. The behavior is then set to be extinguished (Cooper. An extinction burst is the temporary increase in the frequency. These novel behaviors are a core component of shaping procedures. Like reinforcement. These conditions have been referred to variously as "Setting Event". A behavior which occurs more frequently in the presence of an antecedent condition than in its absence is called a discriminated operant OD. For assessment of verbal behavior from Skinner's system see Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills. as they are generally associated with extinction bursts.

all experiments should include the following:[39] • • • • • • • At least one participant At least one behavior (dependent variable) At least one setting A system for measuring the behavior and ongoing visual analysis of data At least one treatment or intervention condition Manipulations of the independent variable so that its effects on the dependent variable An intervention that will benefit the participant in some way[40] .e. how long the behavior occurs. • Count is the number of occurrences in behavior. there are both dimensions of behavior and quantifiable measures of behavior. • Celeration is the measure of how the rate changes over time. the quantifiable measures are a derivative of the dimensions. Temporal extent This dimension indicates that each instance of behavior occupies some amount of time—i.Applied behavior analysis 5 Measuring behavior When measuring behavior. Analyzing behavior change Experimental control In applied behavior analysis. when the behavior occurs.[38] Repeatability Response classes occur repeatedly throughout time—i. Temporal locus Each instance of behavior occurs at a specific point in time—i. how many times the behavior occurs.e. These dimensions are repeatability.. and temporal locus. In applied behavior analysis. • Response latency is the measure of elapsed time between the onset of a stimulus and the initiation of the response. • Duration is the amount of time in which the behavior occurs. • Rate/frequency is the number of instances of behavior per unit of time.. Derivative measures Derivative measures are unrelated to specific dimensions: • Percentage is the ratio formed by combining the same dimensional quantities. • Trials-to-criterion are the number of response opportunities needed to achieve a predetermined level of performance.e. • Interresponse time is the amount of time that occurs between two consecutive instances of a response class.. temporal extent.

etc. didn’t sleep night before. noncompliance.g.g. Child throws toy in order to get mom's attention. We can describe behaviors in various ways such as tantrums...). tangible reinforcement. automatic negative reinforcement.g. inattention. frustration.[42] .[41] • Positive reinforcement – social positive reinforcement (attention).g. Access to automatic reinforcement e.. Decades of research has established that both desirable and undesirable behaviors are learned through interactions with the social and physical environment.g. Function is identified in an FBA by identifying the type and source of reinforcement for the behavior of interest.g. fever Access to attention e. aggression. Stereotypic. Environmental or personal factors such as large classroom. All behavior is communication. toothache.Applied behavior analysis 6 Functional analysis (psychology) Functional behavior assessment (FBA) Functional assessment of behavior provides hypotheses about the relationships between specific environmental events and behaviors. FBA is used to identify the type and source of reinforcement for challenging behaviors as the basis for intervention efforts designed to decrease the occurrence of these behaviors. loud noises.g. (If this maladaptive behavior results in mom looking at child and giving him lots of attention—even if she's saying "NO"—he will be more likely to engage in the same behavior in the future to get mom's attention) Access to escape e.. however all behavior can be classified as serving one or more of the functions above. Child flaps (or. Mom tells the child "Go clean up" and child runs to the kitchen because s/he does not want to complete the task.[41] • Negative reinforcement – social negative reinforcement (escape). Sensory input e. etc. toys. repetitive movement) in order to release feelings (excitement.g. Child crashes into furniture or pushes people to gain sensory input Setting Event e.. or automatic reinforcers produced directly by the behavior itself.) e... These can be remembered by the acronym SMEATARS. Problem behaviors can serve the following functions for an individual: Medical e. etc. stomach pain. Child hits mom because s/he wants the toy mom is holding.. activities. Those reinforcers might be positive or negative social reinforcers provided by someone who interacts with the person. All behaviors serve a purpose. and automatic positive reinforcement. Access to tangibles (e.. edibles. Functions of behavior The function of a behavior can be thought of as the purpose a behavior serves for a person.

observations are made under naturally occurring conditions. It represents the method most often used in research on the assessment and treatment of problem behavior. those that.g. identifying the conditions that account for a behavior. if any. unlike functional analysis. However. • Advantages – it has the ability to yield a clear demonstration of the variable(s) that relate to the occurrence of a problem behavior. however. Therefore. and the recording encompasses any events that immediately precede and follow the target behavior. Functional analyses conducted in contrived settings may not detect the variable that accounts for the occurrence in the natural environment. • ABC narrative recording – data are collected only when behaviors of interest are observed. albeit serious. assessment of function of a behavior can yield useful information with respect to intervention strategies that are likely to be effective. descriptive assessments involve observation of the problem behavior in relation to events that are not arranged in a systematic manner. What the behavior looks like often reveals little useful information about the conditions that account for it.[42] FBA methods FBA methods can be classified into three types: • Functional (experimental) analysis • Descriptive assessment • Indirect assessment Functional (experimental) analysis A functional analysis is one in which antecedents and consequences are manipulated to indicate their separate effects on the behavior of interest. Some behaviors may neither be amenable to functional analyses (e. they have on a behavior.[44] • Limitations – assessment process may temporarily strengthen or increase the undesirable behavior to gravely unacceptable levels or result in the behavior acquiring new unpleasant functions. using the basic methodology of functional analysis (and experimental analysis in general) it is possible to arrange any combination of antecedents and consequences for behavior to determine what effect. Therefore. This type of arrangement is often called synthetic because they are not conducted in a naturally occurring context. suggests what conditions need to be altered to change the behavior.Applied behavior analysis Function versus topography Behaviors may look different but can serve the same function and likewise behavior that looks the same may serve multiple functions. Descriptive FBA As with functional analysis.. occur infrequently). It serves as the standard of scientific evidence by which other assessment alternatives are evaluated. However. research is indicating that functional analysis done in a natural environment will yield similar or better results.[43] A standard functional analysis normally has four conditions (three test conditions and one control): • • • • Contingent attention Contingent escape Alone Control condition 7 While the above four conditions are the most widely used functional analysis experimental conditions. descriptive functional behavior assessment utilizes direct observation of behavior. .[45] There are three variations of descriptive assessment: • ABC (antecedent–behavior–consequence) continuous recording – observer records occurrences of targeted behavior and selected environmental events in the natural routine.

[50][51] Bergan conducted a task analysis of the behavioral consultation relationship[52] and Thomas Kratochwill developed a training program based on teaching Bergan's skills. a person learning to brush teeth independently may start with learning to unscrew the toothpaste cap.[64] . or questionnaires to obtain information from persons who are familiar with the person exhibiting the behavior to identify possible conditions or events in the natural environment that correlate with the problem behavior. the next step may be squeezing the tube. 4.[59] In education. 2. They are called "indirect" because they do not involve direct observation of the behavior. checklists. 8 Technologies discovered through ABA research Task analysis Task analysis is a process in which a task is analyzed into its component parts so that those parts can be taught through the use of chaining: forward chaining.[60] Chaining The skill to be learned is broken down into small units for easy learning. • Limitations – informants may not have accurate and unbiased recall of behavior and the conditions under which it occurred.[46][47] Indirect FBA This method uses structured interviews. 3.[45] • Advantages – some can provide a useful source of information in guiding subsequent. Once they have learned this.[61][62] For problem behavior. make extensive use of behavior chain analysis. Conducting an FBA Provided the strengths and limitations of the different FBA procedures. Testing of a hypothesis using a functional analysis. rating scales.[53] A similar approach was used for the development of microskills training for counselors. Task analysis has been used in organizational behavior management. Interpretation of information from indirect and descriptive assessment and formulation of a hypothesis about the purpose of problem behavior. The gathering of information via indirect and descriptive assessment. chains can also be analyzed and the chain can be disrupted to prevent the problem behavior.Applied behavior analysis • Scatterplots – a procedure for recording the extent to which a target behavior occurs more often at particular times than others. and contribute to the development of hypotheses about variables that might occasion or maintain the behaviors of concern. FBA can best be viewed as a four-step process:[48] 1.[58] Task analysis was also used in determining the skills needed to access a career.[63] Some behavior therapies. etc. but rather solicit information based on others' recollections of the behavior.[54][55][56] Ivey would later call this "behaviorist" phase a very productive one[57] and the skills-based approach came to dominate counselor training during 1970–90. Englemann (1968) used task analysis as part of the methods to design the Direct Instruction curriculum. backward chaining and total task presentation.[49] Behavioral scripts often emerge from a task analysis. Developing intervention options based on the function of problem behavior. more objective assessments. For example. such as dialectical behavior therapy. a behavior analytic approach to changing organizations.

not all prompts need to be used in the hierarchy. Fading refers to a prompt being removed. Gestural prompts: Utilizing a physical gesture to indicate the desired response. The goal of teaching using prompts would be to fade prompts towards independence. Visual prompts: A visual cue or picture. the skill is taught in more general settings with more variation from the initial acquisition phase. • Physical prompts: Physically manipulating the individual to produce the desired response. This ensures that the individual does not become overly dependent on a particular prompt when learning a new behavior or skill.Applied behavior analysis 9 Prompting A prompt is a cue or assistance to encourage the desired response from an individual. and with specific materials. with a particular instructor. Fading The overall goal is for an individual to eventually not need prompts. where thinning refers to the spacing of a reinforcement schedule getting larger. verbal). especially when developed by unqualified practitioners (see professional practice of behavior analysis). once a skill is learned in one setting.[70] Some support exists that a 30% decrease in reinforcement can be an efficient way to thin. As an individual gains mastery of a skill at a particular prompt level. For example. Prompts are faded systematically and as quickly as possible to avoid prompt dependency.[74] .[71] Schedule thinning is often an important and neglected issue in contingency management and token economy systems.[67] This is not an exhaustive list of all possible prompts. For example. Modeling: Modeling the desired response for the student. The most intrusive being hand-over-hand.[66] In a faultless learning approach..[72] Generalization Generalization is the expansion of a student's performance ability beyond the initial conditions set for acquisition of a skill. prompts are chosen based on which ones are most effective for a particular individual. Positional prompt: The target item is placed closer to the individual. places. When using prompts to systematically teach a skill.e.[73] Generalization can occur across people. There are many degrees of physical prompts. There is some controversy about what is considered most intrusive: physically intrusive versus hardest prompt to fade (i.[67] There may be instances in which a least-to-most prompt method is preferred.[68][69] Types of prompts: • • • • • Verbal prompts: Utilizing a vocalization to indicate the desired response. if a student has successfully mastered learning colors at the table. the prompt is faded to a less intrusive prompt. and the least intrusive being a slight tap to initiate movement. and materials used for teaching. the teacher may take the student around the house or his school and then generalize the skill in these more natural environments with other materials. Thinning a reinforcement schedule Thinning is often confused with fading. Behavior analysts have spent considerable amount of time studying factors that lead to generalization. prompts are given in a most-to-least sequence and faded systematically to ensure the individual experiences a high level of success. so that no prompts are needed for the individual to perform the desired behavior.[65] Prompts are often categorized into a prompt hierarchy from most intrusive to least intrusive. This type of prompt is best suited for individuals who learn through imitation and can attend to a model.

"[89] . and adaptive behavior as well as some measures of social behavior. This formulation should include a thorough functional assessment. sustained gains in IQ. Shaping is based on a behavior analyst's thorough knowledge of operant conditioning principles and extinction.[81][82][83] Some of the interventions that result from this type of conceptualization involve training specific communication skills to replace the problem behaviors as well as specific setting. On the basis of "the strength of the findings from the four best-designed. On the basis of these and other studies.[2] ABA for autism may be limited by diagnostic severity and IQ. Some critics claimed that the NRC's report was an inside job by behavior analysts but there were no board certified behavior analysts on the panel (which did include physicians. academic performance. then he or she could have their behavior shaped by reinforcing interactions in which he or she touches the dog more gently. an ecological assessment.[88] • A 2009 review of psycho-educational interventions for children with autism whose mean age was six years or less at intake found that five high-quality ("Level 1" or "Level 2") studies assessed ABA-based treatments. the author concluded that ABA is "well-established" and is "demonstrated effective in enhancing global functioning in pre-school children with autism when treatment is intensive and carried out by trained therapists. so much so that ABA itself is often mistakenly considered to be synonymous with therapy for autism. Recent efforts to teach shaping have used simulated computer tasks. educators. is the use of video modeling (the use of taped sequences as exemplars of behavior). It can be used by therapists to assist in the acquisition of both verbal and motor responses. controlled studies. particularly children."[87] • Researchers from the MIND Institute published an evidence-based review of comprehensive treatment approaches in 2008. antecedent. and others). Some argue that behavior analytic case formulation can be improved with an assessment of rules and rule-governed behavior. behavior.[78][79] This approach should apply a behavior analytic theory of change (see Behavioral change theories). a sequential analysis (behavior chain analysis). Recent reviews of the efficacy of ABA-based techniques in autism include: • A 2007 clinical report of the American Academy of Pediatrics concluded that the benefit of ABA-based interventions in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) "has been well documented" and that "children who receive early intensive behavioral treatment have been shown to make substantial.[76][77] Interventions based on an FBA Critical to behavior analytic interventions is the concept of a systematic behavioral case formulation with a functional behavioral assessment or analysis at the core. speech pathologists.[84] Efficacy in autism ABA-based techniques are often used to treat autism. If the student engages with a dog by hitting it. psychologists. a look at existing evidenced-based behavioral models for the problem behavior (such as Fordyce's model of chronic pain)[80] and then a treatment plan based on how environmental factors influence behavior." they were of the opinion that one ABA-based approach (the Lovaas technique created by Ole Ivar Lovaas) is "well-established" for improving intellectual performance of young children with ASD.[85][86] The most influential and widely cited review of the literature regarding efficacy of treatments for Autism is the National Research Council's book Educating Children with Autism (2001) which clearly concluded that ABA was the best research supported and most effective treatment for the main characteristics of Autism. and consequence strategies.[75] Video modeling One teaching technique found to be effective with some students. in some cases for long chains of behavior. Over many interactions. successful shaping would replace the hitting behavior with patting or other gentler behavior. a skills assessment.Applied behavior analysis 10 Shaping Shaping involves gradually modifying the existing behavior into the desired behavior. language.

It determined that EIBI's effect sizes were "generally positive" for IQ. language skills. improvements in cognitive performance. did not significantly improve outcomes compared with standard care of preschool children with ASD in the areas of cognitive outcome. and the four studies' authors did agree that large multi-site randomized trials are needed to improve the understanding of ABA's efficacy in autism. but not all. an effect size analysis. The paper did note limitations of its findings including the lack of published comparisons between EIBI and other "empirically validated treatment programs. and different outcome measurements. and that including such studies could have led to a more favorable evaluation of ABI." "subgroups may account for a majority of the change. which erroneously decreased the observed efficacy of ABI. is low. expressive language.[95] Spreckley. investigators from Vanderbilt University under contract with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality performed a comprehensive review of the scientific literature on ABA-based and other therapies for autism spectrum disorders. receptive language. and receptive language." "many children continue to display prominent areas of impairment.Applied behavior analysis • A 2009 paper included a descriptive analysis." and the published studies "used small samples.[92] • In 2011. the researchers wrote "there is strong evidence that EIBI is effective for some. they also concluded that "the strength of evidence .[95] Furthermore. another name for EIBI. Some of the ones considered core journals to behavior analysis are: • • • • • • • • • Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior Journal of Organizaitonal Behavior Management Journal of Behavioral Education Journal of the Analysis of Verbal Behavior The Behavior Analyst Today BAO [96] The Behavior Analyst The Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis BAO [96] Journal of Early and Intensive Behavioral Interventions BAO [96] • The International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy BAO [96] • The Journal of Behavioral Assessment and Intervention in Children BAO [96] . a form of ABA-based treatment with origins in the Lovaas technique) for autism. the ABA-based therapies included the UCLA/Lovaas method and the Early Start Denver Model. different treatment approaches and duration. the four studies' authors raised the possibility that Spreckley and Boyd had excluded some other studies unnecessarily.[91] • A 2009 meta-analysis of nine studies published from 1987–2007 concluded that EIBI has a "large" effect on full-scale intelligence and a "moderate" effect on adaptive behavior in autistic children. expressive language. however.[95] 11 Major journals Applied behavior analysts publish in many journals. and adaptive behavior skills. and a meta-analysis of 13 reports published from 1987–2007 of early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI."[93]:ES-10 A 2009 systematic review and meta-analysis by Spreckley and Boyd of four 2000–2007 studies (involving a total of 76 children) came to different conclusions than the aforementioned reviews."[90] • In a 2009 systematic review of 11 studies published from 1987–2007. adaptive behavior." there is "little evidence of practical effectiveness or feasibility beyond research studies.[93] They concluded that "both approaches were associated with . children with autism spectrum disorders. authors of the four studies meta-analyzed claimed that Spreckley and Boyd had misinterpreted one study comparing two forms of ABI with each other as a comparison of ABI with standard care.. and adaptive behavior..[94] In a letter to the editor." Furthermore. any improvements are likely to be greatest in the first year of intervention.. Boyd.[94] Spreckley and Boyd reported that applied behavior intervention (ABI).. and there is wide variability in response to treatment."[93]:ES-9 However.

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