Applied Behavior Analysis & ABA Autism Therapy

A Guide to

Applied Behavior Analysis & ABA Autism Therapy

What is Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy?

Applied behavior analysis, or ABA, is a specific type of therapy that focuses on applying methodical interventions and techniques to help improve socially significant behaviors behaviors.

ABA centers on using tactics like positive reinforcement to encourage positive behaviors, like communication, hygiene, and motor skills and discourage negative behaviors. ABA techniques can be used by applied behavior analysis therapists in a one-on-one consultation or in group settings like classrooms.

Applied behavior analysis therapy is often used to help patients with autism, as well as patients with substance abuse addictions, phobias, or other mental health issues.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers graduate-level degrees in ABA at multiple locations. With access to the best in modern technologies, students gain experience and exposure in a wide variety of ABA applications and specialties, including instructional design, precision training, and verbal behavior.

"Learning this kind of therapy is the best thing you can do for your career"

Professor Graham Thornicroft from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London


How Applied Behavior Analysis Connects to Autism Therapy?

Many people interested in pursuing a degree in ABA are intrigued by its link to autism treatment. ABA therapy is a popular therapeutic method for children and adults with autism and is shown to improve an indidvual's learning skills, job capabilities, and social cues. Studies have demonstrated that applied behavoir analysis therapy is most effective when performed on autistic children under the age of four, but its benefits are still seen with individuals past that age.

How ABA Therapy Helps Individuals with Autism

  • Improves communication skills
  • Promotes adaptive living skills like cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene
  • Helps individuals buid social relationships
  • Fosters self-care and independence

How the Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy Process Works

  1. ABA therapists help individuals decide upon specific behaviors to improve.
  2. Then, clear goals and outcomes are set.
  3. Therapists evaluate the individual's current behavior.
  4. Therapists help implement specific intervention techniques to promote positive skills and reduce interfering behaviors.

What It Takes to Become Trained in ABA


To study applied behavior analysis, you can choose a program specifically focused on ABA or a degree in a field like clinical psychology with a concentration in ABA.

Courses include topics on:

  • Concepts and Principles in Behavior Analysis
  • Psychological Assessment and Intervention
  • Observation and Measurement


If you wish to be a certified Applied Behavior Analyst, you must apply through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).

There are several levels of certification:

  • Board Certified Assistant Analyst (BCaBA): Undergraduate level
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA): Graduate level
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral (BCBA-D): Doctoral level