What is the ABA Intervention model? Where does it come from? How does it work?

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is a branch of psychology that has provided a greater number of quality scientific studies -published in journals with methodological review criteria- demonstrating the effectiveness of various behavioral procedures and techniques in the reduction of inappropriate behaviors, as well as an increase in the repertoire of appropriate behaviors and new skills, specifically in children with autism.

The three basic principles of the ABA intervention model are:

Analysis – Progress is evaluated based on the interventions recorded and measured in their progress.
Behavior – Based on scientific principles of behavior.
Applied – Principles applied in the behaviors observed.

This intervention model comes from the USA, specifically from the research carried out by Dr. Lovaas, in the Department of Psychology of the University of Los Angeles-California, in 1987. Dr. Ivar Lovaas demonstrated that behaviors in children with autism could be modified through the ABA method. In his study, he showed that the majority of children receiving ABA treatment could benefit significantly, even losing the diagnosis after years of therapy.

The development of ABA treatment requires the following to occur prior to the start of this intervention:

Evaluation of the child prior to the start of treatment.
A subsequent individualized design of the intervention.
Establishment of the ratio of treatment hours. They oscillate between 20 and 40h.
Specific training of the therapists who develop the intervention, as well as their close environment (parents).

Once the steps prior to the start of the intervention have been established, it is essential to mark the basic structures of the ABA methodology, such as :

The discreet essay.
The presentation and withdrawal of support.
The search for effective reinforcers.
Systematic registration.

It is from the ABA methodological bases and the previous ones that this intervention model allows the effective acquisition of new skills and a greater impact on the development of the child with ASD.