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with Heather Gilmore, MSW, LLMSW, BCBA

What is ABA Parent Training? – A Definition

There does not seem to be an overall agreed upon definition of ‘ABA parent training.’ However, this phrase is used frequently throughout the field of applied behavior analysis.

ABA parent training may also be known by other terms such as family guidance, parent guidance, or caregiver training.

What is ABA Parent Training?

In this article, we will explore the question: What is ABA parent training?

To do this, we will first break the phrase into discrete pieces to identify their meanings separately and then we will combine the meanings into one overall definition of ABA parent training.

What is ABA?

ABA refers to applied behavior analysis. There are slight variations in definitions of ABA throughout the literature. However, there are some consistent themes across the definitions.

“ABA is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behavior (Baer, Wolf & Risley, 1968; Sulzer-Azaroff & Mayer, 1991).”

ABA is also characterized by the inclusion of seven dimensions within its practice. These seven dimensions were developed by Baer, Wolf, and Risley (1968). ABA includes the following characteristics (or dimensions):

  1. Generalization: The service focuses on achieving generalization of behaviors meaning that intervention emphasizes expanding learning to new behaviors, new settings, and ensuring that the behavior is maintained over time.
  2. Effective:The service strives to provide meaningful change.
  3. Technological: Services are described with clarity.
  4. Applied: Services focus on socially significant behaviors which emphasizes behaviors and skills important for improving the quality of life of the client.
  5. Conceptually Systematic: Services use behavioral terminology and concepts.
  6. Analytic: Services evaluate their effectiveness through systematic methods such as data collection and data analysis.
  7. Behavioral:Services address measurable behaviors.

What is a parent?

Of course, the commonly accepted definition of a parent is the mother or father of a child. However, a parent may also be, “a person who brings up and cares for another” (Parent, 2019).

In applied behavior analysis, the person who receives parent training services may be the mother or father of the child, but a foster parent, an adoptive parent, a grandparent, or a child’s primary guardian may also receive parent training services.

What is training?

Training as a stand-alone term means, “The action of teaching a person or animal a particular skill or type of behavior” (Training, 2019).

What is ABA Parent Training?

ABA parent training can be defined as:

The action of teaching a parent or caregiver of a child a skill or idea in a way that is based upon systematic application of interventions founded on learning theory with an emphasis on effectively addressing socially significant behaviors.


Baer, D. M., Wolf, M. M., & Risley, T. R. (1968). Some current dimensions of applied behavior analysis. Journal of applied behavior analysis, 1(1), 91-7.

Parent. 2019. Retrieved from:

Sulzer-Azaroff, B., & Mayer, G. R. (1991). Behavior analysis for lasting change. Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Training. 2019. Retrieved from:

What is ABA Parent Training? – A Definition

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). What is ABA Parent Training? – A Definition. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 19, 2020, from