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with Heather Gilmore, MSW, LLMSW, BCBA

Using Socially Significant Behaviors in ABA Parent Training

Applied behavior analysis focuses on socially significant behaviors. In ABA services, whether you’re working one on one with children with autism, working in a school setting or working with parents through ABA parent training, you should address socially significant behaviors.

What socially significant behaviors refers to is that the behaviors or the skills that you target in treatment should be important for the client they should also be relevant for social relationships and generally seen as an important aspect for the client. Socially significant behaviors include things that will help them increase access to reinforcement in an appropriate manner and increase skill acquisition in other areas.

In ABA parent training, it is specifically important to address socially significant behaviors and to help parents see the social significance of the targets that you select for their child. Although it is necessary to use your clinical judgment and perception for your recommendations with kids with autism, you also need to consider the parents point of view and their preferences.

Working collaboratively with the parents is essential.

You can see at that there are many factors to consider when providing ABA parent training. Socially significant behaviors are just one of them.

Some examples of socially significant behavior may be helping the child learn activities of daily living such as toothbrushing, making a snack, getting dressed, or cleaning up after themselves by cleaning their room or washing their face or picking up after a meal.

Other socially significant behaviors that you may cover in ABA parent training could be things like showing appropriate behavior in the store or at a restaurant as well as how to order a person’s own food and read a menu.

Socially significant behaviors are one of the many factors that you will want to consider in ABA parent training.

Using Socially Significant Behaviors in ABA Parent Training

Heather Gilmore, MSW, BCBA

Heather is a freelance writer, Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), and social worker. Heather takes interest in topics related to parenting, children, families, personal development, health and wellness, applied behavior analysis, as well as Autism, ADHD, Depression and Anxiety. Contact Heather if you would like to inquire about obtaining her freelance writing services. You can view more articles and resources from Heather at and email her at [email protected] You can also advertise your autism services at one of Heather's websites: Heather is the developer of the "One-Year ABA Parent Training Curriculum."


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APA Reference
Gilmore, H. (2019). Using Socially Significant Behaviors in ABA Parent Training. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 14, 2020, from