Core Components of an Effective ABA Program
Applied Behavior Analysis is the systematic application of different intervention methods upon the learning principle that seek to improve social behaviors to a significantly meaningful degree and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement observed in behavior (Johnson et al., 2007). Education laws support the use of operational interventions for children with autism. The following core components meet the criterion on research based and effective intervention methods for children with autism as identified by the National Altruism Center in its National Standards Report (2009):
Antecedent Manipulation. Uses a couple of modified situational behavior prior to the development of the target behavior. These modifications are used to increase the chances of success of the targeted behavior. The modified structural behaviors encompass prompt/fading procedures, contrived motivational operations, behavioral momentum, incorporation special interests, and inter-trial intervals among others.
Behavioral Treatment. These function to decrease the problem behaviors while increasing effective alternative behaviors. They include: functional communication training, discrete trial training, chaining, mind training, generalization reinforcement, training, shaping among others (Lovaas, 1987).
Comprehensive Intervention. Because of low student to teacher ratio in many home and community schools, effective programs will be based on treatment manual that provides extensive treatment of 25hour plus per week and data-based decision making.
Joint Attention Intervention. These kind of programs initiate joint interactions among children and child is made to respond to the social bids of another. It can be done by pointing to objects, activities to another, showing items and following eye gaze.
Modeling. In this model, adults or peers serve to demonstrate the target behavior while the child is just expected to imitate. The child is required to have imitation skills as a prerequisite for proper functioning of this type of intervention. Modelling methods are usually combined with reinforcement and prompting methods that help the child to acquire the necessary imitation skills.
Naturalistic Teaching Strategies. This intervention method uses a child-initiated interactions to aid the teaching of functional skills in an ordinary environment. This method uses an encouraging conversation, a stimulating environment, providing choices, modeling play and rewarding reasonable attempts
Peer Training. This involves training children with altruism through plays and social. It is limited to children without disability. There are a number of peer-training method in use like circle of friends, peer networks and buddy skills.
Pivotal Response Training. These are programs meant to improve a pivotal behavior across the broad range of behaviors. Examples of pivotal behaviors include social communication self-management, self-initiation and responsiveness to multiple cues.
Schedules. It involves teaching a child to follow a picture- or word-based through a series of steps to complete a given activity. It is also accompanied by other behavioral intervention for example reinforcement.
Self-Management. The student is taught to learn the target behavior by regulating and recording their behavior and securing reinforcement for the occurrence or non-occurrence of the target behavior.
Story-Based Interventions. This intervention methods is a description of conditions under which some behaviors are expected to happen. These stories seek to teach the specifics required to make social interaction improve perspective taking. Carol Gray’s “Social Stories.” is the most known example of Story-Based Interventions.

Johnson, C.R., et al. 2007. “Development of a Parent Training Program for Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders.” Behavioral Interventions 22(3):201-221. Retrieved from
Lovaas, O.I. (1987) “Behavioral treatment and normal educational and intellectual functioning in young autistic children,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55, 3-9
National Standards Report. (2009). National Autism Center. Retrieved from

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