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Research » Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

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What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

Applied Behavior Analysis, often referred to as “ABA,” is the process of systematically applying interventions that are based upon behavior learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behavior (Baer, Wolf, & Risley, 1968).

Hundreds of published, carefully controlled studies have shown that ABA is a highly effective method for teaching individuals with autism and related developmental disabilities.  Many of these studies have been conducted at DDI.

ABA has been endorsed by the National Institutes of Health and the Association for Science in Autism Treatment and has been identified by the Surgeon General of the United States as the most effective way of addressing the learning and behavioral needs of persons with autism.

At DDI, applied behavior analysis is used across all its educational and habilitative programs. DDI recognizes its responsibility to provide effective treatment while maintaining the rights, safety, and dignity of each individual. To that end, all programs are developed within a team model that includes input and consent from the families/guardians of the individuals we support.

Extensive assessment is used to inform intervention, and the use of skill development and other positive strategies meant to promote a good quality of life is our front-line approach.  

To learn more about Applied Behavior Analysis, visit:

The Association for Behavior Analysis
The Association for Positive Behavior Support
The Association for Science in Autism Treatment
The Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies


Baer, D.M., Wolf, M.M., & Risley, T.R. (1968). Some dimensions of applied behavior analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1, 91-97.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (1999). Mental health: A report of the surgeon general. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental health Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health.