Applied Behavior Analysis With Children With Autism

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is broadly used with children with autism spectrum disorders as several studies presented their high effectiveness. Principles of respondent conditioning and instrumental conditioning are used in the basement of ABA. Respondent conditioning, or classical conditioning, is a process of learning in which two stimuli (neutral and potent) are used in paring, and a neutral signal draws out the potent signal. Instrumental conditioning is using reinforcement and punishment as a force to action. ABA is an effective interference in behavior with children with autism, primarily focusing on their intellectual, philological, and social skills.

With an early start of Applied Behavior Analysis, the IQ level, the ability to comprehend and to express, an adaptation to the society of children with autism spectrum disorders tend to improve. The results of various meta-analyses using verbal and non-verbal tests, and the research by Makrygianni et al. (2018) show that ABA programs were essentially beneficial for patients with autism. Mainly, they were very effective to enhance academic level and communication skills; however, low effective in improving the daily living skills of children. It is essential to sequence the training in the process of learning children, as well as reinforce the imitation to reach good results. These results are wanted, even though not in every program they are achieved.

However, it is hard to evaluate the particular benefit from ABA programs as some studies are designed and performed differently. For example, some researchers use random rather than convenient samples, methods of blind assessment, instruments to evaluate results before and after treatment. The number of analyses studying the effects of ABA programs before and after treatment is still tiny to make firm conclusions. More research should be done to get a better assessment of the investigation.

In conclusion, it is essential to say that ABA intervention aims to be a beneficial program for children with autism spectrum disorders that help develop their cognitive, language, and social skills. These programs focus on individualization, comprehensiveness, development of a significant number of skills. Still, more studies need to be done to evaluate their effects and their major influence on specific areas of children with autism lives.


Makrygianni, M. K., Gena, A., Katoudi, S., & Galanis, P. (2018). The effectiveness of applied behavior analytic interventions for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A meta-analytic study. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 51, 18-31.