Applied Behavioural Analysis

Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) is a specialised area within the field of Psychology. The goal of ABA is to apply specific psychological principles (e.g. reinforcement, prompting, generalisation, etc.) to issues that are socially important (like autism) to produce meaningful change.

In an ABA program, lessons to be taught are broken down into their simplest elements. ABA focuses on teaching small, measurable units of behaviour systematically. At first, the child may be rewarded for doing something close to the desired response. Over time, as the child masters the lesson, expectations are raised and primary reinforcers (like small amounts of food) are replaced with social reinforcers (hugs, praise, etc.). As the child masters the skill and generalises it, it becomes self-reinforcing.

ABA focuses on increasing appropriate behaviours and celebrating successes and minimising attention and energy wasted on inappropriate behaviours. Creating a positive and fun learning environment facilitates the learning process in all domains including social, play, and language. In this way, simple responses are built systematically into complex and fluid combinations of typical, age-appropriate responses.

How is ABA delivered at Broadmeadow?

ABA is used to deliver a range of teaching across our school curriculum, from literacy and numeracy skills to widening diets and developing self-care skills. The principles of ABA underpin the teaching of PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) as a way of developing children’s ability to communicate effectively even if they are unable to vocalise requests.

ABA principles are used across schools as an effective way to teach new skills to children who may find it difficult to access the curriculum. For example, children who have specific sensory needs raised anxiety, or behavioural difficulties may benefit from an ABA style approach. We work across the school to identify children who may benefit from such teaching and develop ABA programs according to their learning and developmental needs.