Applied behavior analysis (ABA) has opened up possibilities for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) that weren’t there before. The success of this approach brought hope to a situation that was often deemed hopeless.
But what about individuals without ASD?
Often times individuals with behavioral issues, who do not have a diagnosis of ASD, are overlooked and do not receive behavioral interventions of the same caliber as that of those designed by board certified behavior analysts (BCBA). Often times extraneous variables such as mood, temperament, or willful defiance are identified as being the cause of the behavior. The reality of the situation is that people do not necessarily do certain behaviors because they’re jerks or goody-goodies. Those are labels that they may earn because of their behavior, but they engage in a behavior because it effectively gets them what they want or removes what they do not want. This concept applies to every living thing that can engage in behavior.
ABA strategies and techniques are beneficial for all areas of life. When one understands the basic components of a behavior (desirable or not), they are able to determine whether that behavior will continue or will disappear based on how they or others respond to it.
A kid asks for a candy in the check-out lane of the store, mom says no, kid screams, mom puts candy in the shopping cart, kid stops screaming. At the next shopping trip, kid asks for candy, mom says no, kid screams, mom puts candy in the shopping cart. This behavior will continue until it is no longer effective or efficient at getting the kid what he wants.