Does ABA really work?

In Australia, reputable experts have endorsed ABA-based interventions and Autism programs. In 2011, Prior, Roberts, Rodger, and Williams published their report titled A Review of Research to Identify the Most Effective Models of Practice in Early Intervention for Children with autism   spectrum disorders.

This report was funded by and prepared for the Australian Government of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous affairs (FaCHSIA). Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) was the only intervention to be classified as eligible for funding based on established research evidence:

More recently, Whitehouse et al. (2020) conducted a comprehensive synthesis of the evidence for interventions with autism between the ages of 0-12 years. this research was included in partnership with the Australian Autism Collaborative Research Centre (CRC). Results indicated positive outcomes for behaviour intervention.

Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) package endorsed ABA as the only example of intervention programs for kids with autism that are eligible for funding based on established research evidence.

In addition, the Raising Children Network gives ABA a firm rating of established, noting that research consistently shows positive effects.

Other organisations that endorse Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) as a safe and effective treatment for autism include:

American Academy of Neurology

American Academy of Family Pediatrics

American Academy of Pediatrics

American Academy of Occupational Therapy Association

American Psychological Association

American Speech-Language Hearing Association

Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

Autism Society of America

National Institute of Child Health & Human Development

National Institute of Mental Health


The findings of the current review support the findings of previous reviews. Behaviourally based interventions, and specifically those that are intensive (often referred to as applied behavioural analysis (ABA) or Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI)), continue to indicate positive outcomes for some children in a range of areas including cognitive skills, communication, and adaptive behaviour.

Prior, Roberts, Rodger, and Williams

A Review of Research to Identify the Most Effective Models of Practice in Early Intervention for Children with autism spectrum


Running ABA Programs

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is public and accountable. Within an ABA program, data are recorded on the child’s level of independence across all skills targeted for increase. Data are reviewed weekly by the Behaviour Support Specialists or Assistant Behaviour Support Specialists. The data allow the clinical team to decide when a skill has been mastered, or to problem solve if a child is having difficulty learning a skill. ABA programs are highly individualised and dynamic – programs are reviewed on an ongoing basis, together with parental feedback to ensure continued progress.

Published On : July 15, 2021

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