with Heather Gilmore, MSW, LLMSW, BCBA

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Use Music to Reduce Vocal Stereotypy in Individuals with Autism

Vocal stereotypic behaviors are sometimes seen in individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Although the behavior itself is not necessarily a problem, when it interferes with learning and development, the behavior may be important to address.

It is important to consider whether the behavior being targeted in ABA services is of social significance as this is one of the main characteristics of applied behavior analysis. Social significance refers to targeting areas which are important to the client, to man, or to society rather than simply an interesting theoretical concept.

In the case of vocal stereotypy, this may be considered a socially significant area specifically when the behavior is interfering with the individual from making progress in specific skill areas. Additionally, vocal stereotypy may impact social skills and communication skills making the behavior a socially significant issue.


Measurement in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) – Data Collection in Everyday Activities

Measurement is an essential component of any applied behavior analysis (ABA) service. Measurement includes collecting data on various skills or behaviors.

Data collection and measurement are valuable in that, when completed correctly, these processes provide the information needed to accurately assess any situation or behavior. They also provide an opportunity to monitor progress or setbacks and ensure that interventions are effective.

Data collection and measurement could also be useful in everyday scenarios, such as attempts to lose weight (measuring pounds and calories), academics (getting grades on assignments), and building new habits (tracking completion of the identified habit).


Naturalistic Intervention in Applied Behavior Analysis

Naturalistic intervention is an intervention strategy that is based on behaviorism and principles of applied behavior analysis. In naturalistic intervention, these principles are applied throughout daily routines or activities to improve an individual’s skills or decrease maladaptive behaviors.

In applied behavior analysis services, naturalistic intervention may not be utilized as much as it should be. Commonly, applied behavior analysis is viewed as discrete trial training (intensive teaching trials often completed at a table or desk). Naturalistic intervention should be considered as a useful and effective strategy, as well.

When planning to use naturalistic intervention, observe the child in their typical daily routines and activities. Then, make note of specific routines or activities that the child struggles with. Consider the skills that the child may benefit from learning or what specific behavioral issues the child is displaying.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Providing ABA (applied behavior analysis) Services in Rural Areas

There are a lot of factors that affect service implementation when working in rural settings. For service providers in this type of setting, things come up that may not be as concerning or relevant in more urban setting.

Some factors that may come about when working in a rural setting in ABA or applied Behavior Analysis services include things such as encountering clients and or their families in the community, having the service providers children and client child or client's siblings interact in other non-professional settings such as at school, child care, church, etc.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Data Collection in ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis)

Why is data collected in ABA?

Data is defined as “factual information (such as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
In ABA, data is used as the foundation for making decisions regarding the client or student’s treatment. Data is analyzed to inform the clinician whether progress is being made or not. Based on the data, the clinician will decide whether treatment should be modified in any way or continued in the same manner.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Telehealth Services for Applied Behavior Analysis

In some areas of the united states, especially in rural states or counties, there is a shortage of behavior analysts who can provide applied behavior analysis services. Telemedicine is a service that would allow for more children with autism spectrum disorder to obtain intervention and support. Telemedicine, also known as telehealth, would allow children with autism spectrum disorder to access the medically-necessary ABA services they need to provide the best opportunity for growth and development and to prevent further decline or stagnation in development.

Traveling to a center is also prohibitive for some beneficiaries due to transportation difficulties as well as living in a rural community which is associated with limited resources related to ABA services and transportation. Supervision may be provided via telemedicine services for children and families who are in need of home-based services and are not able to attend a clinic setting. Additionally, an distance supervisor could provide telemedicine to assist with providing services to children who may not otherwise be able to access services in a timely fashion and who may not be eligible for services outside the county in which they reside.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Tips for Supervision Services as a BCBA

BCBA's (Board Certified Behavior Analysts) often find themselves in situations where they will be supervising others including supervising the services provided by BCaBA's (Assistant Board Certified Behavior Analysts) or those of RBT's (Registered Behavior Technicians) or maybe those of students in the process of becoming credentialed as a BCBA.

Here are some steps BCBA's should consider when providing supervision of others.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Teaching Echoics to Children with Autism

Some children with autism spectrum disorder do not imitate vocalizations made by others. This skill is known as echoics. Some children will mand (request items they want) but have difficulty developing echoics. Other children may babble with spontaneous sounds or word approximations but struggle with echoics.

To increase vocalizations, Carbone (2012, PPT) reports that the following interventions have been found effective:


ABC’s of Behavior (Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence)

An ABC Chart is a direct observation tool that can be used to collect information about the events that are occurring within a student's environment. "A" refers to the antecedent, or the event or activity that immediately precedes a problem behavior. The "B" refers to observed behavior, and "C" refers to the consequence, or the event that immediately follows a response. (Reference: Special Connections)

ABC data is a form of data collection which can assist with functional behavior assessments. The data collected can help to create a picture of the possible function of the behavior (escape, access, attention, automatic reinforcement). This is an important part of creating an effective intervention to increase appropriate skills and decreasing maladaptive behaviors.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) Study Topics: Skill Acquisition (Part 1)

As mentioned in the previous RBT Study Topics posts, "The Registered Behavior TechnicianTM (RBT®) is a paraprofessional who practices under the close, ongoing supervision of a BCBA, BCaBA, or FL-CBA. The RBT is primarily responsible for the direct implementation of behavior-analytic services. The RBT does not design intervention or assessment plans." (

The RBT Task list is a document which describes concepts that an RBT must be familiar with in order to provide applied behavior analysis services.

There are many topics on the RBT task list including: Measurement, Assessment, Skill Acquisition, Behavior Reduction, Documentation and Reporting, and Professional Conduct and Scope of Practice. (