The most common application of applied behavior analysis is in working with

The most common application of applied behavior

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The most common application of applied behavior analysis is in working with children with autism; from intensive early intervention programs, to social skills development, academics, and job training. On the contrary, this is not the only area in which ABA is used effectively. Beyond autism, ABA is applied in all areas of mental health as well as in areas such as Organizational Behavior Management (OBM), Education (both special education and mainstream), Health and Wellness (healthy eating, exercise, etc), Substance Abuse, Animal Training, Parenting, Language Acquisition, Gerontology, and even sports; to name a few. How is that that such a field can have so wide a scope? The key to ABA’s wide scope is its foundation in research on the principles of behavior. Principles such as the effects of reinforcement, and punishment, which guide how behavior is learnt and maintained over time. We all behave! Humans and animals alike. We behave at home, we behave at school, we behave in the workplace, we behave even when we are alone. Once we are a living being, we engage in behavior and our behaviors are guided by the principles upon which ABA is based. As a result, ABA has over the years been found to be effective in a wide range of fields. Let’s look at a few: Mental Health In the field of mental health and wellness, behavior analyst work alongside other professionals such as Clinical Psychologists and Psychiatrists with individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, mental retardation, social and emotional disorders, and other clinical conditions. Here, the role of the behavior analyst is to design interventions that target behaviors that are associated with these diagnoses (aggression, self-injury, negative self-talk, etc.). The same basic principles of behavior apply here, and research has supported the effectiveness of ABA in clinical settings. OBM Organizational Behavior Management is a growing subfield of ABA. Here, the role of the behavior analyst is to develop programs that serve to improve individual and group performance in the workplace, as well as promote safety and productivity. The areas of focus for the behavior analyst in the workplace include performance management strategies, behavioral systems analysis (seeing the organization as a system whose individual parts interact and impact the whole), and behavior-based safety protocols. Within these areas, the same basic principles of behavior are employed as they relate to effective feedback, effective staff training, and even the measurement of clear outcomes that are used to determine sound performance and productivity. Education Applied behavior analysis in education is a fast growing area of application. Currently, a large number of degree programs in education (more specifically special education) have an ABA component to their course load. More and more special education teachers are being exposed to ABA in some way, and are using the many research-based ABA teaching strategies in their classrooms.
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  • Spring '14
  • behavior analyst

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