Applied Behavior Analytic Approaches

The SCS Philosophy on the Functional Analysis of Behavior

The field of ABA demands a scientific approach, but we never forget that we’re there for a person and a family – not just to change behaviors and teach skills.  We are proud of the fact that we can use the scientific standards of ABA to offer developmentally appropriate, relationship-oriented services that focus on Quality of Life…    Read More

Related Articles

Quality of Life as a Foundational and Guiding Principle of Programming 

In this article, we explain what we mean when we talk about “Quality of Life” and how we can apply that standard in every decision we make together…   Read More…

Characteristics of a Home Program Focused on Quality of Life

Since what constitutes “Quality of Life” is different for every person, and that it changes throughout the lifespan for each person, how do you set standards; how do you define and measure it?   Read More…

Characteristics of a School Program Focused on Quality of Life

A focus on Quality should not come at any cost to academic standardsThis article explains what a school program based on Quality of Life is and how one can be developed for any child…   Read More…

Citizenship as a Measure of One’s Quality of Life

We use a special common sense definition of “Citizenship” as a primary means of evaluating whether our program is indeed improving a person’s Quality of Life.  This article can help you evaluate your program…   Read More…

The Autism Wars, “Evidence Basisand ABA as both an Open System and a Bottom Line for Judgment of Effectiveness

People with autism make an extremely diverse a group.  The saying goes, if you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.  Which type of therapy is right for your family?  The answers parents get from the professional community is usually more bias than fact.  This article will help you filter through what you are likely to or already have been told…  Read More…

How We Develop Programs at SCS


While we ultimately want to know why behavior occurs, we understand that people respond to their perception of reality rather than reality itself.  We have a very unique way of assessing behavior that meets the standards of reliability and verification that ABA demands, but is also powerful enough to consider a person’s behavior relates to their unique experience of the world…   Read More…

Early Intervention

There is wide range of choices available for deciding how to apply ABA in early intervention.  There is also a wide range of choices for combining developmental and ABA techniques.  Any methodology or individual technique, whether it claims to be “ABA” or not, can be evaluated using ABA standards of validity (“Applied”), reliability (“Behavioral”) and verification (“Analytical”).

How We Develop Programs for Accelerating Development

It’s way more than ABA…  Read More…

How We Develop Programs: ProgramPrescription

You probably found out that for many professionals, “ABA” really means “one way of doing things.”  That is not ABA.  Here, we describe how we use other, very important scientific disciplines along with ABA to develop a unique program “prescription” for your child.   Read More…

How We Develop Goals for Programming: Goals v. Objectives

This article is a bit technical, meant for students of ABA and Functional Analysis, Therapists, Consultants, Teachers and other professionals in the field.  It is about how to properly develop, measure and evaluate progress on goals for developmental/behavioral change. 

Parents may want to know whether the goals and objectives in their child’s IEP or program plan are properly written…   Read More…

ABA Concepts

Behavioral science and behavioral psychology began in laboratories, always using tightly controlled research experiments and animals as research subjects.  Much was learned about how behavior works in all species from these experiments.  However, what was possible in terms of control and freedom to use experimental techniques in the laboratory was not possible or desirable with people or in social settings.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) refers to the use of principles derived from laboratories of TEAB to the real world of homes, schools, classrooms and other areas of real life.  Since it’s advent in the 1950’s and 60’s (and a seminal paper that officially started the field [and Journal -] of ABA in 1968), new methods and adaptations had to be developed from the original material discovered in laboratories.  A whole different set of realities, ethics, emphases and procedures had to evolve that were not only “socially important” (an essential tenet of ABA, but not TEAB), but viable and practical in public settings.

In the laboratory, control over the elements was paramount, so a primary emphasis was on the isolation of the specific elements involved in change and the relationships between the changes made and the results obtained.  Such precision may not be possible or even desirable in the real world.  There is often a recognized trade-off between what is the most socially important and useful, and what is the most precise.

Because laboratory conditions may not available, or they may even be objectionable if used on people in a social setting, the ABA professional looks for [or invents] other ways of analyzing the variables to maximize certainty and predictability of outcomes.  For instance, in the real world, one may not want to make changes to the environment just to make things easier to measure.  Instead, the ABA professional would look at ways of making the measurement procedure more practical.  In the laboratory, a researcher may rearrange variables thought to be responsible for improvement – just to show which variable was responsible for the change.  In the real world, one may not want to reverse improvement just to make a point about a theory or procedure, whereas in the laboratory this may be necessary to fully validate a principle.

Still, the vast majority of techniques used in current practice are identical to or they are derived from techniques developed in laboratories.  There are too many to list here and if you are interested in ABA, it is best to consult sites dedicated to information on ABA.

The following articles look at common  practices used in ABA from a technical, practical and most of all, objective point of view… 

WhatPositive Reinforcement” and “Positive ReinforcersReally Mean: A Brief Working Definition

Learn the pros and cons of artificial reinforcement and the differences and between “positive reinforcement” and positive behavioral support…”   Read More…

Mastery is theReinforcer

Learn how acquiring traits or persistence, resilience and a desire for mastery can easily replace the need for bribes, threats and punishment…  Read More…

Baseline Logic

No matter how far we’ve come or how good we think we are, no one can ever know why anyone really does anything.  We can only have a “hypothesis” as to why a person behaves in one way or another…  Read More…

PromptingPros, Cons, and Otherwise

Studying ABA, as well as Relationship/Based, Neurodevelopmental methods, teaches us there can be beneficial and harmful forms of prompting.  Beneficial forms lead to new ways of thinking, whereas harmful forms can lead to dependence, power struggles, or further inflexibility…   Read More…

Glossary of Terms Used in Applied Behavior Analysis

Right now – we’re borrowing one. This glossary is entirely of terms used in ABA.  Read More…

In the future, we hope to include definitions for terms we use elsewhere on this site from Neurodevelopment and Child Development, Autism and Developmental Psychopathology, Systems Theory, DIR/Floortime and Guided Participation among others.

Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI)

Intensive Programming – What does that mean?

What do they mean by “intensive” in Early Intensive Behavior Intervention?  Read More…

An Applied Behavioral Analysis of some Developmental Techniques

ABA’s real strength is its guidelines fo evaluating the Validity, Accuracy, and Reliability of Teaching.  In this article, Applied Behavioral Analysis guidelines are used to evaluate some developmental methods

Criticism of Functional Analysis of Behavior

We look at all methodologies for what they are.  “Methods, not Religions” is a fair assessment of our attitude.

  • No method is ideal for every situation
  • No method is ideal for every person or family or context
  • Parents and Families are entitled to a choice and to the full range of information

Because we do not have an ideological commitment to any single theory of behavior or unimodal intervention, we can afford to look not only at the advantages of a technique, but its shortcomings as well.  This provides opportunity to make it better.

Our own use of ABA is consistent with the rest of our philosophy.  It is informed by what we know from other scientific disciplines and adapted according to cardinal rules of scientific accuracy And inquiry established by TEAB and ABA.

Functional Behavioral Assessment: Deeper Understanding of Behavioral Handicaps or Trojan Horse?

This article was written by John Stewart, Ph.D., author of “Beyond Time Out”  It points out some important shortcomings of the current practice of Functional Assessment of Behavior.  Read More…

Is ABA the Only Way?

This seminal essay, written by Dr. Barry Prizant, one of the most established authorities of Autism and Communication, reminds us that a thorough knowledge of child development is not only required for quality intervention for Autism, but much of the techniques currently in use come from the research and practice of child development.  It’s not either/or, it’s both…  Read More…

ABA Jobs at SCS

Behavior Intervention (“BI”) Consultant/Analyst

The BI Consultant helps Parents, Teachers and other significant others understand the behavior and collaborates with them to develop means of improving behavior and teaching improved skills.

Applicants must have experience and have completed training in Psychology; ABA; Family Therapy, or in one of the Early Intervention Methods (below)… Read More…

Early Intervention Therapist

This person works directly with children and parents, providing Early Intervention for Development and Behavior.

At the supervisory level, we require certification in at least one of the evidence-based approaches to Early Intervention (ABA; DIR; RDI).

At the Therapist/Direct Treatment level, applicants must possess prior training and experience in at least one of the above techniques.  Applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency and to explain the principles of the approach(es) in their areas of expertise

Map of a Consultation Model: View from a Parent and a Professional

In case you’re planning to apply at SCS, you might want to read this before you interview…  Read More…

Related Links and Reading

Menu Page: SCS Philosophy, Methodology, and Policy  Read More

Menu Page: Autism Spectrum and related Disorders of Relating and Communicating.  Read More…

Menu Page: Parent Education and Parenting Techniques  Read More