Essential Practice Elements of ABA

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s (BACB) released a document in 2012 titled: “GUIDELINES: Health Plan Coverage of Applied Behavior Analysis Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders”. The purpose of this document was to provide clinical guidance and general information for insurers and health plan providers who may not be familiar with ABA as it relates to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This document is a good resource for general information on ABA as it relates to ASD, ABA service delivery models and behavior analyst certification and credentialing information.

The ten essential practice elements of ABA located on page 11 (BACB ABA Guidelines for ASD) are of particular relevance and importance to families and professionals seeking out or referring for ABA services:

Ten Essential Practice Elements of ABA:

  1. Data collection on level(s) of target behavior(s) prior to implementation of treatment (baseline data)
  2. Focus on small units of behavior with a plan to accomplish larger behavioral changes which will in turn improve the overall quality of life for the learner
  3. Direct observation of the client with data collected on target behavior during and after treatment, to assure efficient and effective behavior change occurs
  4. Treatment emphasis is on the current function of the target behavior with awareness of the future benefits which will occur as a result of the change in target behavior(s)
  5. Environmental modification of treatment environment occurs so that problem behavior is decreased while deficit behavior is increased
  6. Individualized treatment plans are completed which utilize positive reinforcement and research based treatment procedures
  7. On-going assessment and adjustment of the treatment plan occurs so that progress is made towards treatment goals
  8. Consistent, repeated, frequent implementation of treatment procedures occurs to achieve the highest level of independence for the learner
  9. Direct support is given to caregivers and other professionals so that target behavior change is observed and maintained across environments resulting in benefits for the learner
  10. Program supervision is carried out by a Behavior Analyst trained in the principles and procedures of ABA

For further information on Applied Behavior Analysis as it relates to Autism Spectrum Disorder please see the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s (BACB) document released in 2012: “GUIDELINES: Health Plan Coverage of Applied Behavior Analysis Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders”